Blogging Platform

I’m still learning about Solid and getting familiar with it, so I’m not sure if this all makes sense. But I’m the lead developer of a federated blogging platform (via ActivityPub), called WriteFreely, and I’m thinking it could be interesting to add support for Solid.

I’m imagining the real draw would be in owning / maintaining control over the content you publish, whether it’s public blog posts or private notes. And if we’re storing posts in a Solid pod, it’d be very easy for other apps to interact with them – everything is stored as plain text / Markdown.

Does this make sense? Is there anything I’m missing, or something more that could be done with an app like this?

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Ooh wow, that makes you something of a celebrity! :slight_smile: Yes, that would be very interesting. The primary thing to keep in mind when working with Solid is that the app has no control over the server, i.e. you can’t control the server and get it to do e.g. custom server-to-server interactions, at this point in time.

So there are two general strategies you could use:

  1. You store the posts as plain text/Markdown on the Pod, and readers use a (web) app to access it, such as WriteFreely. Disadvantage is that you’ll have to have some way to point the app to the relevant posts to display, which can lead to somewhat cumbersome URLs (e.g. https://writefreely.instance/blog=https://my.pod/blog).
  2. Besides storing the source text/Markdown files, you also compile them into HTML using the app, and then store those to the Pod.

To also provide e.g. RSS feeds, you’d need to go with an approach like #2 as well, or a server somewhere should be willing to do the work of fetching the blog posts from a Pod and serving that up as an RSS feed.

PS. Do you have a Fediverse account to follow? :slight_smile:

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Indeed wow, would be great to see another AP / Solid combo app come into fruition. @thebaer is at @writeas_dev on the fediverse.

PS. for both of you it interesting to check the SocialHub EC event where in the second webinar we want to address crossover and collaboration between both our communities (I created a wiki post for that too). Also of interest is my reaction in From silo-first to task-oriented federated app design - #5 by aschrijver - Fediverse Futures - SocialHub to @bengo’s post, who is also looking into both Solid and AP. Finally there’s How Solid and ActivityPub complement each other best threads on both forums.

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:slightly_smiling_face: Thanks, that makes sense!

I do imagine the application doing plenty of heavy lifting for things like rendering Markdown into HTML, generating RSS feeds, etc. And ideally, the application would be able to associate a Pod with a user on the backend, so it could fetch posts and display them on a clean URL. But I think I can use this information to at least get started with everything.

Besides the fediverse account @aschrijver mentioned, there’s @write_as@writing.exchange and my personal one, @matt@writing.exchange.

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Thanks for sharing this! Will definitely try to attend those events, and will read over those discussions – those ideas seem totally in line with the kinds of things I’m thinking for WriteFreely.

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Ah of course, Write.as does have a back-end. That does make things easier in the sense that it could do the rendering on the fly, and possibly keep its own index of Pods/Solid-powered blogs for less cumbersome URLs - although then of course you are once again bound to that instance.

(I think the main mindset change between the Fediverse and Solid is that you don’t need an “instance” - an app doesn’t need a server. So whereas people have e.g. a Mastodon account and a Pixelfed account, with Solid, they’d just have their Pod, and Mastodon and Pixelfed would be apps that use the same Pod account.)

Anyway, feel free to drop by with further questions any time!

I just followed @matt@writing.exchange :slight_smile:

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These are also points of possible alignment between our communities, I think, though I’m not deeply up to par on technical details. There’s research into moving fediverse into hybrid decentralization (federated + p2p), using content-based addressing, different schemes than HTTP, and to implement roaming identity.

Oh absolutely, lots of alignment between the communities (unfortunately I don’t have the bandwidth to be as active in both; I don’t know how you do it :slight_smile: ) - I was mainly talking about one’s mode of thinking while working on support for the different technologies when building an app, today.

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Unfortunately - because I find it so very important and someone has to do it - I spend a lot of time in advocacy and rallying for community engagement, but to the detriment of my own more technical aspirations :sweat_smile: Community work vs. “deep work” don’t go well together…

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Hey there, as a beginning solid user this is exactly what I’m looking form specifically a blog that I own that also federates.

I’m not much of a coder, but would definitely be willing to help with testing, documentation, and evangelism, if that would help.