Posts Tagged wrap up

Tue Sep 18

HWC Baltimore 2018-09-18 Wrap-Up

Baltimore's first Homebrew Website Club of September met at the Digital Harbor Foundation Tech Center on September 18th.

Here are some notes from the "broadcast" portion of the meetup:

jonathanprozzi.net — Has been travelling and getting married and had lots of time to think about things! Not to work on them, though. Catching back up on things like Gatsby pages for Digital Harbor Foundation. Feeling some maintenance pains now with Gatsby's GraphQL queries pulling HUGE amounts of data from a WordPress backend – about a 5 minute process for each site build. Upgrading to Gatsby 2 would also require a bunch of changes that he isn't wanting to do. Also, something in the Gatsby build process just broke, without him making any code changes. Wishing now he had built the site in Next.js, which uses REST over GraphQL. For his personal site, he is thinking about how much effort he wants to put into things. He typically uses his personal site as a way to learn new technology, but is now wary of force-fitting things that aren't a good fit. Maybe tweaking his current WordPress site would be a better use of time than rewriting the site. Particularly since he hasn't posted since July.

rhearamakrishnan.com — Not much new on her personal site, since it's working well for her purposes. Posted some new stuff she made over the summer, including a micro chap-book called It Makes More Noise Than I Thought It Would. Been working on other summer projects, like writing poems on postcards for people. Photographing and typing those up to make a mini-collection. Wants to build something on Twine, if she can include a form so people can write letters back to her. She's gonna write out the adventure as she wants it and then think about what kind of interactivity she'd like from readers. Thinking about designing a mini-course for DHF around Twine for students to build stories around it.

martymcgui.re — Hasn't really made much progress on any personal or IndieWeb projects since the last HWC meeting. Had a couple of out of town trips and projects that were good and fulfilling experiences, like going to Camp Improv Utopia East. Those experiences highlighted that maybe he is feeling burned out about some IndieWeb things! For example, he has been letting the This Week in the IndieWeb Audio Edition slip more and more each week and finding it hard to focus. He's trying to figure out what to do for the upcoming IndieWebCamp NYC, which he is excited about, but feeling a bit overwhelmed by project ideas, things he should be doing to help organize, etc.

Other discussion:

  • https://twinery.org/ is great for creating interactive stuff - and it seems like the output is plain HTML? So it should be possible to add a form from some service like Formspree or Firebase to an exported project, if the tool doesn't offer exactly that kind of thing.
  • Dealing with burnout and feeling stuck on things. Sometimes it helps to get energized by doing something else. Sometimes doing those other things really highlights that you have energy, just not for those things you're burned out on!
  • Principle of Least Power is another big thing, here. Jonathan and Marty have both been struggling with projects where the tooling or the plumbing may be taking all the energy available.
  • Semantic HTML and CSS can do so much, now. We looked at this CSS-only TODO MVC proof of concept. Talked about HTML definition lists, summary/details tags, figure/figcaption, and more.
  • Talked about the pyramid of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript and the inverted pyramid of overbuilt JS-dependent frameworks.
Left-to-right: martymcgui.re, rhearamakrishnan.com, jonathanprozzi.net

Thanks to everybody who came out! We hope to see you again at our next meetup on Wednesday, October 3rd at 7:30pm!

Wed Aug 22

HWC Baltimore 2018-08-22 Wrap-Up

Baltimore's second Homebrew Website Club of August met at the Digital Harbor Foundation Tech Center on August 22nd!

Here are some notes from the "broadcast" portion of the meetup:

shawngrimes.me — Shawn has been working on teamruby.dog. Specifically, collecting content. It's a new WordPress site. Thought about Squarespace because of ease of maintenance but can't justify the pricing. Also trying to find a way to post some 360 panorama photos from a recent road trip through 19 states.

martymcgui.re — Finally started the grueling work of translating his site's data from Jekyll into Hugo. It involved writing lots of little scripts to do things like maintain redirects for old date-based URL slugs, RSS for podcast feeds, and other plumbing. Next up is to port his existing templates over, which should be a big process. Also started a tribute site to his cat Nitro at nitro.rocks. Hoping to make it an IndieWeb-project by getting folks to contribute fun cat memories by posting to their own site and syndicating to nitro.rocks.

Other discussion:

  • Ways to showcase 360 photos. Ricoh apps can (could?) post interactive panoramas to Facebook/Twitter. Marty posted some interactive panoramas on his site back in 2016 (example), but isn't super happy with the experience.
  • RSS (and Indie) readers
  • Webmentions and notifications
  • Badging (and politics)
Left-to-right: shawngrimes.me, teamruby.dog, martymcgui.re

Thanks to everybody who came out! We hope to see you all again at our next meeting on Wednesday September 5th at 6:30pm (quiet writing hour at 5:30pm)!

Wed Jul 25

HWC Baltimore 2018-07-25 Wrap-Up

Baltimore's second Homebrew Website Club of July met at the Digital Harbor Foundation Tech Center on July 25th!

Here are some notes from the "broadcast" portion of the meetup:

derekfields.is — Derek wanted a couple new rules for sharing time, today. First, find and share a site with some cool tech that you like. Second, talk about why you're into web development. He showed off a demo of using the browser Gamepad API w/ a Playstation dual-shock 3 controller. It showed button state changes, including analog states for buttons and joysticks. Been thinking about lots of ideas lately but missing some focus. Looking at productivity hacks to focus more. Notices when he's not focusing, now trying prompts to figure out why he's distracted and get back on task. Derek is into web development because it changes rapidly and requires focus to keep learning. Been working on his VueJS class and it's been going well until today. His accountability buddy is on a trip.

jonathanprozzi.net — Been working on work stuff. Built a single-page app w/ Gatsby for deploys of some Digital Harbor Foundation content for use in remote schools with intermittent internet connections. Pulls course data from the central DHF WordPress and deploys it as a package on Netlify. Ran into his first deploy issues with Netlify due to case-sensitive filesystems (which he doesn't experience on his Mac dev machine). Been really inspired by the Susty WordPress theme which can deliver WordPress pages in ~6KB, compared with most themes, which are very bloated. Jonathan is into the web because of the problem-solving aspects of it, but also because it allows creative expression and productivity.

zach.oglesby.co — New! Welcome, Zach! Recently switched his Known-powered site to Jonathan LaCour's overview page (w/ location info and other nice things), but it doesn't have a representative h-card, yet, so working on that. Also working on making his read posts more compatible with IndieBookClub. In terms of "Cool Tech", just had occasion to use Bootstrap for the first time, which was interesting. Zach is into web development because there are so many ways to do things on the web, you can play and tinker with different things you might not have otherwise.

pulianas.com — New! Welcome, Alec! Has had this website for a while, originally as a portfolio, now as a WordPress site that powers his Micro.blog. Been working on a new site for a podcast, Overanalyzed, also WordPress. In terms of "Cool Tech" - likes Eddie Hinkle's website. Also, webrings "seem pretty cool". Isn't a web developer professionally, but likes how it makes publishing easy. Really also likes the concept of owning your own content, bringing his stuff in from Twitter. Sees his online identities as layers: website is most personal, Twitter next, and Facebook is sanitized.

martymcgui.re — Been working on the Baltimore Improv Festival website, a static site generator called Ruhoh that doesn't really "exist" as a project anymore, though the code and gems are still out there. Needs to spend time on the webrings site. In terms of "Cool Tech", likes this recent "Even More CSS Secrets" talk from Lea Verou. Marty is into web development because it is an amazing way to share content that anyone can access from anywhere in the world! "Can it be done on the web?" is an interesting, if sometimes difficult, lens to see the world through.

Other discussion:

Left-to-right: zach.oglesby.co, derekfields.is, martymcgui.re, pulianas.com, jonathanprozzi.net

Thanks to everybody who came out! We hope to see you all again at our next meeting on Wednesday August 8th at 6:30pm (quiet writing hour at 5:30pm)!

Wed Jul 11

HWC Baltimore 2018-07-11 Wrap-Up

Baltimore's first Homebrew Website Club of July met at the Digital Harbor Foundation Tech Center on July 11th!

Here are some notes from the "broadcast" portion of the meetup:

jonathanprozzi.net — Been building static HTML/CSS layouts for fun! Some examples. Also started practicing turning those designs into layouts in Figma. Had a usability testing call w/ the folks from Gatsby that turned into a great discussion about how to better build community starters.

dariusmccoy.com — Was having some issues w/ his site, which is hosted on AWS. He is thinking about wiping his instance and starting a new one, since he has lost track of some of his passwords. In a tricky spot because AWS doesn't offer any tech support for free tier users. Talked about switching to Digital Ocean or something simpler but will have to balance his budgets to justify the costs.

derekfields.is — Been taking a Udemy course on VueJS. Before that has been working on a schedule for developing his website. Has a friend doing the same and they mutually keep each other on track to spend a certain amount of time on developing their skills and sites. It's kind of working!

martymcgui.re — Brought a bunch of stickers and other fun things home from IndieWeb Summit! Had a great time seeing folks he met last year and meeting new folks. Lots of great discussion sessions, hacking projects, wild ideas, and more. He really needs to write it up on his site! His hack day project also desperately needs to be written up – it's an IndieWeb-style web ring, available at 🕸💍.ws ! This week he added support for indielogin.com, which lets people sign in using their own websites by setting up only a couple of links.

Other discussion:
  • IndieWeb Summit! Marty went and loved it. Next year would love to bring more folks from HWC Baltimore, and travel assistance is available. We'll work on it.
  • Marty met Jared Ewy of name.com at the Summit and talked about all the cool work DHF does teaching youth to build websites, the upcoming Web Shop, hosting HWC and IWC Baltimore, etc. Jared gave him a bunch of codes for free domains and some hosting discounts to benefit that work, so we discussed lots of ideas!
  • Some possibilities: give Web Shop youth employees incentive to work on their own projects, outside of paid jobs, to learn more about building their own sites. Host a special Homebrew Website Club that's a 2-hour jam for new folks who don't have a domain yet to get set up with a website. Host a longer "Build Your Website Day" (maybe in coordination with a multi-city Drag Queen Build-a-Website Day?)
  • What would an IndieWeb "starter pack" look like for a quick "you have a domain but no money" way to get started? GitHub looks good for skill building for folks that want to get into web development someday because it's mostly managed by hand. Netlify looks pretty good for this because they offer hosting, flexible static site generation, SSL for HTTPS, and the NetlifyCMS. They also support some features like building your own webhooks on JavaScript, which could eventually be used to handle common IndieWeb building block endpoints (IndieAuth, Micropub, Webmention, ...) Because they run all the stuff for a given site from a git repository, it's possible to take a site from Netlify and set it up elsewhere if their offerings change.
  • "Packages" for a getting started workshop. E.g. "what will you get at the end + what will you need to learn along the way." Static HTML/CSS on GitHub could get a portfolio site done. For $5/mo a Neocities site can be hosted on a custom domain and requires no Git/GitHub wrangling. Micro.blog hosting is also $5/mo and brings a ton of features, interactivity, and community.
  • Talked about VueJS passing React in terms of number of stars on GitHub, and speculating why that is. For example, VueJS can be a lot easier to dip your toes in and get started without a complicated build toolchain.
Photo of HWC Baltimore attendees
Left-to-right: martymcgui.re, dariusmccoy.net, jonathanprozzi.net, derekfields.is

Thanks to everybody who came out! We hope to see you all again at our next meeting on Wednesday July 25th at 6:30pm (quiet writing hour at 5:30pm)!

Wed Jun 13

HWC Baltimore 2018-06-13 Wrap-Up

Baltimore's first Homebrew Website Club of June met at the Digital Harbor Foundation Tech Center on June 13th!

Here are some notes from the "broadcast" portion of the meetup:

derekfields.is — Thinking about ESP8266 + WebAR to make, e.g. a painting with AR overlays in mobile browsers. Working on CSS Grid stuff for his site, now. Trying to be consistent.

jonathanprozzi.net — Mainly been working on stuff for DHF, but it overlaps w/ personal projects. Working on a "headless WordPress" setup as a data source for a Gatsby or Next static site that can be taken to schools w/ super slow internet. Been learning how to use Gatsby – the GraphQL queries for WordPress have been tricky. Got it working on his own site first, then managed to get a handle on how to pull lessons for specific courses from the set of all courses. Now digging into more GraphQL (like debugging w/ GraphiQL) and issues like differences in how WordPress handles whitespace (processing newlines into paragraph and break tags) vs stuffing the content into a React component (no special whitespace processing by default). For personal stuff, feels like Gatsby + headless WP is too heavy. Interested in an IndieWeb-starter version of the Gatsby starter site, which doesn't even have semantic HTML at the moment. Also looking into WordPress + Next... next, because it seems simpler.

dariusmccoy.com — Went to NOMCON and helped build the We the Rosies sculpture. Will be working on a new project for DHF for managing 3D Print Shop.

martymcgui.re — Installed grant.codes' PostrChild plugin for Chrome. It shows Edit Post buttons on his posts and makes the content there editable via Micropub and it is very neat! Also showed off his indiebookclub.biz profile. Added support for read posts to his site to support it and is now converting old read posts (which were just notes of the form "📕 Finished Reading: ...") into this new form. Has ideas for additions to indiebookclub like URLs for books and authors, tags, text content, and backfeeding entries from his site to complete his profile. Will be dropping in his Goodreads data next.

bouhmad.com — Been implementing a speedtest-like app on a new site for Baltimore City to gather data by census block and compare. Part of his new(ish) project to establish a mesh network for the city!

Other discussion:

  • IndieWeb Summit! I think next HWC Baltimore may be happening during IWS demo time. Maybe it'll be streaming here!
  • Greg McVerry's work on IndieWeb and WordPress and education. His most recent post on building a course management system in IndieWeb-style feels very much in line with what Jonathan has been working on.
  • "Headless" Micropub CMS - what would these look like? Jonathan is interested in Microformats2 as the storage format for posts, courses, and other data, and Micropub seems like the way that MF2 data gets shipped around for creating/editing posts. But most Micropub clients are built for creating (and rarely editing) very specific kinds of posts.
  • Comparison to Netlify CMS - which is built around Git and flat files. Netlify can get a list of all your posts by listing files in Git. A Micropub-based CMS would need to query a list of all posts, with filters like post type, tags, ...
  • GraphQL queries over MF2 properties??
  • Facebook's API changes have caused Bridgy to stop working for backfeeding reactions and comments, and Publish will stop working in August. Jonathan thought his site configuration was broken as he wasn't getting backfed comments and likes anymore. Basically: Facebook has shut out the IndieWeb. This feels like a huge problem (for the IndieWeb)! How are people working around it? Are they? This may help usher IndieWeb folks out the door for Facebook, but it almost completely stops people who want to be in that in-between space.
Right-to-Left: dariusmccoy.net, derekfields.is, bouhmad.com, jonathanprozzi.net, martymcgui.re. Also: a 3D print of Phineas Gage's head and associated railroad spike.

Thanks to everybody who came out! We hope to see you all again at our next meeting on Wednesday June 27th at 6:30pm (quiet writing hour at 5:30pm)!

Tue May 29

HWC Baltimore 2018-05-29 Wrap-Up

It's been a while! Again! We cancelled our previous meetup due to weather.

Baltimore's second Homebrew Website Club of May met at the Digital Harbor Foundation Tech Center on May 29th!

Here are some notes from the "broadcast" portion of the meetup:

dariusmccoy.com – Playing with Squarespace because he expects to have youth using it for the upcoming Web Shop launch at DHF. In ~3 weeks! He's trying to clone the existing DHF 3D Print Shop website in it, but finding it a bit restricting. Playing w/ some CodePens for nice animations/transitions but having trouble getting those into the Squarespace editing tools. Wants to use them for within-page links.

derekfields.is – Been struggling w/ goals on personal website stuff. Has been applying for webdev jobs, though! Waiting to hear back. Has been working on his startup idea - an LED backpack for biking. It's controlled by a microcontroller and he wants it to serve a webpage over WiFi so you can control it from your phone without installing anything.

jonathanprozzi.net – Spent time tonight writing a post because he hasn't in a long time. The post includes shaming himself for not writing posts. Writing up his experiences from a recent conference where DHF was receiving an award. Building apps with GatsbyJS which are PWAs that work offline, so the content he writes for DHF can work for people who have viewed them even if the internet goes down.

martymcgui.re – "Launched" his GIPHY-backed GIF posting app Kapowski. After feedback from last time, made it work without requiring logins (making it usable by people who aren't all wired up with IndieAuth on their sites). Thinking about ways to progressively enhance Kapowski, such as saving favorites that can be viewed offline, offline sending with posts going out when the internet comes back, etc. Been going all in on micropub for his personal notes that exist on a private site. Used selfauth, mintoken, skippy's micropub server, spano for media, and built a new nginx auth_request service that uses IndieAuth and an access control list to allow only him to view the private posts. Hoping to clean that up and release it someday soon. Also started first steps for another long-term micropub-related project to assist sites that support micropub for creating and editing posts but don't want to build their own infrastructure for syndication. It's called "POSSE Party", and currently it's a manual-til-it-hurts Micropub editor that lets you manage mp-syndicate-to and syndication properties for posts. Someday he hopes to make something that can use bridgy or silo.pub to automate syndication for people whose sites don't do that.

Other discussion:

  • LED mounting strategies for backpacks. Big diffusers make for good looking LEDs but surface mount parts make things easier to mount.
  • Jonathan's experiences at the conference. His takeaways from talks about making human-centered technology. E.g. "context is everything, a perfectly engineered span is useless, but the Brooklyn bridge connects people". He's thinking a lot about common themes around technology that works *for* humans. For example, so many people don't have internet all the time!
Left-to-right: martymcgui.re, dariusmccoy.com, jonathanprozzi.net, derekfields.is

Thanks to everybody who came out! We hope to see you all again at our next meeting on Wednesday June 13th at 6:30pm (quiet writing hour at 5:30pm)!

Tue May 1

HWC Baltimore 2018-05-01 Wrap-Up

It's been a while!

Baltimore's first Homebrew Website Club of May met at the Digital Harbor Foundation Tech Center on May 1st!

In celebration of 5/01 aka HTTP 501 Not Implemented, we'll talk about things we wish that our websites did, but that they don't yet do.

Here are some notes from the "broadcast" portion of the meetup:

jonathanprozzi.net – Been working on lots of other projects. Did two work projects with GatsbyJS. One is deployed but not public. Learned a lot about GraphQL. Working on a handbook for youth training and trying to get a netlify CMS hooked up to it. Also did a small VueJS project to learn a bit more about it. Wants to use the WordPress API with some of these technologies on his site. 501 desire: going headless for his WordPress site because he is obsessed with PageSpeed.

maryreisenwitz.com – Been working on sites and content for work. Trying to capture FAQs about working at DHF in preparation for a couple of dozen new youth to start working here. Finds that good explanations uncover the need for more good explanations and lots of branching docs, as different youth employees will have different responsibilities. Excited about having this resource be a website. Wants to include a youth "face book" of names and faces so the new folks can recognize one another and existing staff. 501 desire: wants a web store on her main site, because Etsy is becoming frustrating.

bouhmad.com – Set up SSL via LetsEncrypt and loves it, the easiest SSL setup he has ever done. Started a blog post about intrusion detection, kept adding to it, and pushed it out last week. Working on a piece about a bug bounty he recently collected, working with the company in question. 501 desire: a mailing list signup and a Hugo-driven RSS feed to a Mailchimp mailing list.

grant.codes – Visiting as he drives across the US! Restructuring his site's data on the backend. Was using something like mf2 data, but now moving to pure mf2. Broke a bunch of features doing that, so going through to fix those now. 501 desire: homepage mentions! He accepts but doesn't store or display them.

eddiehinkle.com – Working on leaving Facebook! Has made a sign-up form for friends/family to sign up for monthly (for now) newsletter. Has a complex (too complex?) tagging for tech, personal, family to generate three RSS feeds. These can be subscribed to in any combination (so 9 possible feeds), and the emails will combine all posts in the desired feeds. The feeds themselves reuse markup that he wrote to make posts look good on micro.blog. Just posted monthly review for March and hopes to keep doing summaries. Uses the "last month" view on his site for the raw data. 501 desire: automated webmentions! His site is Jekyll-based, so that's a can of worms. Loves using Indigenous for the quick responses from the indie reader, but then has to go back to his site and manually send webmentions.

martymcgui.re – Traveled recently and checked in everywhere using Swarm, which feeds back to his site (sorry anyone following feeds)! Really enjoyed it, but slightly regrets giving Swarm all that data. Thinks an app could use the Swarm venue API to do Micropub and skip creating the checkins on the server. 501 desire: unlisted posts! Really wants to make photo gallery posts where each photo has a permalink but only the gallery shows up in feeds. Eventually private posts, too.

Other discussion:

  • Grant's automated year-in-review feature. Cities visited, hours of TV, distance traveled (tracks GPS constantly).
  • Ways to do hidden posts. Categories. Unlisted or private as a property.
  • Email lists vs "followers" on social media and the feeling of reach.
  • Facebook's reaction when you start mass deleting friends. Mary once deleted close to 700 people and found that the interface started rearranging itself, putting people back in the list where it's easy to mis-click and re-add them as a friend.
  • Deleting your posts from Facebook. Does it affect the algorithm? What threats does it eliminate?
  • Family signing up for email blasts: would they reply? What if those replies went to an address that turned them into a comment on your site? If their email address is in your nickname cache, you can show their name and photo and url.
Left-to-right: grant.codes, eddiehinkle.com, bouhmad.com, martymcgui.re, maryreisenwitz.com, jonathanprozzi.net. Photo courtesy grant.codes.

Thanks to everybody who came out! We hope to see you all again at our next meeting on May 15th!

Tue Apr 10

HWC Baltimore 2018-04-10 Wrap-Up

Baltimore's first Homebrew Website Club of April met at the Digital Harbor Foundation Tech Center on April 10th

Here are some notes from the "broadcast" portion of the meetup:

martymcgui.re – Demoed an as-yet-unnamed (maybe: kapowski) "GIF Reaction" Micropub client. It's currently available on Glitch. It supports IndieAuth, searching for GIFs via the GIPHY API, then posting those as the "photo" property in a Micropub form-encoded request. It also supports in-reply-to functionality, putting the "reaction" into "GIF Reaction", though there's no UI for that, yet. He made an example reply post, but Jonathan's post doesn't seem to support photo replies. 🤔 Also fixed up some metacrap for his podcast site so sharing looks better on Facebook and Twitter.

Screenshot of WIP GIF Reaction Micropub client

rhearamakrishnan.com – Working on a redesign of her site. Making good use of view-source on sites that she likes for inspiration. Working on a mixed media art project with post cards that direct you to a website that contains coordinates to a geo cache containing an actual letter.

jonathanprozzi.net – Been doing lots of work stuff that overlaps with personal web interests. Working on his wedding page. It's now up on Netlify and uses their form collection for RSVPs.

Other discussion:

  • The new Killer Queen 5 vs 5 arcade game recently installed in Baltimore at Holy Frijoles.
  • Baltimore zine culture (apparently Atomic Books considers carrying local zines).
  • Twine for creating interactive poetry and fiction. It outputs a bunch of HTML and CSS (and maybe JS) that can be hosted anywhere.
  • The Netlify static site model of separating content management, storage, layout and rendering, and file hosting.
  • The difficulty in evaluating "frameworks" like React and Vue based on their low-level merits. Looking at community and availability of higher-level components might help more.
Left-to-right: jonathanprozzi.net, rhearamakrishnan.com, martymcgui.re

Thanks to everybody who came out! We hope to see you all again at our next meeting!

Tue Mar 27

HWC Baltimore 2018-03-27 Wrap-Up

After a postponement due to snows on the first day of spring, Baltimore's second Homebrew Website Club of March met at the Digital Harbor Foundation Tech Center on March 27th. 

Here are some notes from the "broadcast" portion of the meetup:

jonathanprozzi.net – Talked about his recent experiments with Netlify and JAMstack. Had been researching static site hosting services for a while and found a lot of hype. After playing w/ Netlify he feels like it lives up to the hype! Was specifically interested in a static site generator called Gatsby, which uses the React front-end framework to render content.

derekfields.is – Been building a blog section for his site on a static site generator called Hexo. Found the theming stuff to be confusing and time-consuming, but has something working. Will eventually replace the theme with his own as he understands it more. Really likes the Hexo admin composer and compared with the editor for Ghost. Feels like the features help him write. Also setting up a Now.sh tiny server for a subdomain to host VueJS apps.

brksavage.com – Set a goal to do something creative and post about it every month. Did a big project for February (created a desk-sized piece filled w/ the word "bored"). Now writing it up and thinking about ways to make it easier to publish in the future.

www.dariusmccoy.com – Still building up momentum on his Wordpress site. Had a scare that he was locked out of his admin but got back in. Now that he has a working site, he is setting goals for himself about what he wants that site to have and how he wants to present himself there.

Robert (gnostech.net) – Working on owning his data. Has a Nextcloud service set up on his domain, where he can access all his data from his phone and more. Has been taking lots of notes about his home set up (Nextcloud, Let's Encrypt, ad filtering firewall at home, and more). Wants to build a blog to share both how-tos on what he has set up and how, but also the way he decided on his particular needs. Has been using NAS4Free to have more control over his home network storage.

martymcgui.re – Is finally back after missing several HWCs. He has definitely missed them! Talked about the need for indie readers that allow reading and posting reactions to personal sites all in one. Demo'd Together, and Monocle Microsub clients as well as Aperture for Microsub server to handle all the nitty-gritty of fetching and parsing feeds.

Other discussion:

  • Derek started us off with a really nice warm-up. We took turns with each person sharing compliments/thanks/encouragement about things people are working on and/or doing for and/or learning from one another. (This was seriously really nice).
  • JAMstack (Javascript, APIs, Markup). Name was coined because some "static" sites have lots of dynamic functionality.
    • Jonathan gave a demo of Netlify serving pages from a GitHub repo. Talked about how lots of different workflows can be used to manage content (e.g. Ghost, Netlify CMS, etc) without worrying about the final step of compiling the source into HTML and serving those static pages. Netlify has tons of features in the free tier (SSL with Let's Encrypt, support for forms, and more).
    • Q: How do they make money? A: Great question! They're advertised all over the place in the web design world. Maybe consulting? For example, they did a huge redesign for Smashing Magazine.
    • Q: Do we have to use GitHub? A: That's all Jonathan has played with so far, but they probably support other source control services.
    • Q: What content goes in the Git repo? A: The source content, templates, etc. E.g. the output of "hexo init".
    • Q: How does the DNS setup work? A: Netlify gives you IP addresses and you point A records at them. Same way you would for a Digital Ocean droplet or other virtual server.
    • With custom domains, pulling content from GitHub, and tools like the (also free) Netlify CMS that ease editing, this could be a strong competitor for e.g. Wordpress.com sites, barring some initial setup pain.
    • Was able to replace FormSpree service with Netlify's free form handling service. He can see the submitted form data by logging into his Netlify account.
  • Talked about recent creepy Facebook news and efforts like cleverdevil's to escape it with our content intact. Marty was inspired by that to grab his Facebook content with fb-export and the DownAlbum extension for Chrome.
  • If Facebook goes away or runs into issues, what happens to projects like React or their other open source projects?
  • Would a giant like Amazon step up? What would an Amazon social network look like?
  • If Facebook actually "falls" (however unlikely), would another centralized social network "win"? Probably!
Left-to-right: dariusmccoy.com, jonathanprozzi.net, gnostech.net, martymcgui.re, derekfields.is, brksavage.com

Thanks to everybody who came out! We hope to see you all again at our next meeting on Tuesday, April 3rd!

Tue Feb 6

HWC Baltimore 2018-02-06 Wrap-Up

Baltimore's first Homebrew Website Club of February met at the Digital Harbor Foundation Tech Center on February 6th.

Here are some notes from the "broadcast" portion of the meetup:

jonathanprozzi.net – Productive 2 weeks! Has a personal notes site running on Hugo on a subdomain after some adventures with git publishing hooks and a bug with themes that was causing it to render only as XML. Set up a separate site with Hugo and Reveal.JS and might be interested in that for IndieWeb-related learning activities going forward. Has been tracking everything he is writing, taking notes in his personal notes site as he goes so he can either clean them up for real posts, or just publish the notes. Worked tonight on more activity content on his personal notes site. Troubleshooting microformats on his main site WP theme. Also interested in GatsbyJS plus a WordPress backend... maybe? Also working with Gulp to make a build tool for P5.js sketches.

dariusmccoy.com – Tonight moved his domain from WordPress.com to Hover. Waiting on that to finish so he can set up new hosting and move his site in general off of WordPress.com onto a WordPress.org site which has more flexibility. Thinking about the direction of his site - resume / portfolio, or blogging, or posting his photography. Could blog personal projects, maybe sports blogging but worried about trolls.

derekfields.is – Set up his GitHub pages site to serve from his custom domain. Also put up a post about serving A-Frame virtual worlds from an ESP8266 microcontroller on Medium. Working on a PESOS copy of his post back to his site. Wants to work on a couple more posts for next time.

bouhmad.com – Working on bringing his site back up. Something went wrong on the virtual server running it and he is reinstalling and reconfiguring things. Has a blog post ready to go once the site is back up. (He got it back up before the end of HWC!)

martymcgui.re – Been working on IndieWeb-ifying some project websites, most recently ghostparty.today. It's a single HTML page hosted on Neocities that his improv partner created at IndieWebCamp Baltimore. It's an experiment in nesting microformats and permalinks, making use of links with anchors (example event, example RSVP). Also added mf2 markup to the site for his D&D livestreaming show (example, example reply) so he could reshare things on his site. Is excited about making a micropub server for the Neocities site as a goof, probably running on Glitch. Something like "IndieWeb like it's 1999".

Other things: 

  • The Falcon Heavy test launch happened today and wow! We could not find a reference for the projected final orbit of the payload (a Tesla with a mannequin wearing a SpaceX space suit)
    • The livestream video was interesting. It offered multiple camera views, switchable with a "Switch Camera" button in the YouTube UI. The main view was the public facing talking-head discussion, telemetry displays, etc. The other was a static camera with audio direct from mission control.
  • Transferring domains from WordPress.com is interesting. Apparently the registrar is listed as wildwestdomains.com?
  • Managing DigitalOcean droplets is hard when you lose your SSH private keys.
  • Glitch as a fun way to sketch in code. Neocities has an API.
  • Really clever onboarding process on Glitch. Log in with your GitHub and it shows a welcome page with "Start New Project" and "Resume Coding" buttons. Even if you have never used Glitch before, clicking "Resume Coding" will take you to a new Hello World project. Nice!
  • DigitalOcean recently(?) updated their pricing so that lower tiers are much better! You have to walk through a process to stop each droplet, resize it, and start it back up.
  • The Brackets editor has a Confetti plugin and it is very eye-catching.
  • .meme is a pending TLD??? Also talked .bot premiums on shorter domain names.
  • GitHub Security Alerts now send out weekly emails. Maybe only for some accounts or types of vulnerability, but Marty has been receiving them about some old projects.
  • JAMstack, the attractive bits about "reusable APIs" the dangers of those same APIs belonging to third-parties out of your control.
Left-to-right: jonathanprozzi.net, dariusmccoy.com, bouhmad.com, derekfields.is, martymcgui.re

Thanks to everybody who came out! We hope to see you all again at our next meeting on February 20th, which is a Tuesday!