Adventures on the IndieWeb
Published by James Gallagher on .
This article takes approximately 5 minutes to read.
I have been interested in the IndieWeb for a while. I took a break a few months ago because it was just something I had discovered. I didn’t realize that it could become something bigger. Recently, I’ve been diving back into the IndieWeb as a source of inspiration for this website. I have found an excellent community of people who are all passionate about the web and programming.
As part of my journey around the IndieWeb, I feel like I should keep documenting what I do and why I do it. Here I am today, doing that very thing.
Changing My Website
I’ve been thinking about how I can make my website more unique. My previous website was a bit too professional. My font looked very standard. The color scheme was quite boring. That’s the way I designed it. At the time of designing my last site, sustainability and minimalism were at the core of my design thesis. I wanted to build a site that was simple and loaded as quickly as possible.
I decided that my website needed a fresh lick of paint to represent who I am. I’m changing all the time and I wanted a site that showed my newfound interest in colors and more vivid design. I still wanted to build a site upon the same principles of minimalism and sustainability but I wanted to add in a few more features. I wanted my site to display a few new quantified self metrics that I’ve been tracking.
Deciding What to Do
I have been facing a big question over the last two days: what should I do? I went into today thinking that I would build my site up from scratch. It turns out that I did not need to do this. I wish I had realized that before I set up the GitHub repository and initialized the new site. Nevertheless, I went back to the older version of my website and started making changes.
There are so many things that I want to look at on the IndieWeb. The idea of activity feeds is interesting. I want to research MicroPub. I’d like to take a closer look at Webmentions beyond just implementing it as a guestbook solution for this website. Before I look into all of these things, I’ve got to focus on the basics. That’s why I have spent the last day updating my personal website and adding new features.
This website is now a hub for my quantified self data. I’ve been talking about this for the last few days. My main reservation behind posting quantified self data is privacy. I’m still young and somewhat unsure about whether I should be sharing such intimate data about my life. I have come to reason that the data that I publish doesn’t give too much of my life away. I don’t mind sharing what music I listen to with the rest of the world.
I have come to think of quantified self as art. It’s a way for me to make sense of all of this data that I create. Why should I let the big corporations have all the fun analyzing my data? I have taken this as an opportunity to get really creative. Today I have launched a new page on my site, Music. This page presently shows a list of the albums that I have listened to most recently. It’s still a work in progress. That’s something that I have come to find as true in many places on the IndieWeb: there’s always something else that can be done to improve upon a project. I am still trying to figure out whether I want to show data like my top songs. Maybe that is more information than the average user really needs.
On this site, I now share my music data, some basic fitness data, and a list of all the coffees that I have consumed.
The Core Technology
Although a lot has changed on this site over the last few weeks, I have never deviated from the idea of having a static website. It is more difficult to have a static website when I am sharing quantified self data. Using a static site means that I need to manually render new versions of my site when new data becomes available. This is fine for me because I usually post a blog post every day and so I render the site almost daily anyway.
The idea of having a static website is important because it’s simple. The final version of my site is just HTML and CSS. That’s all I need. I am proud of how fast this website loads. I have added in a few new features that add to the size of this site but the site is still small. Each page now has a favicon. I previously did not have one beacuse it would add to the loading time of each page. I felt like the site needed one because it makes the site feel more complete. It makes the site feel mine.
Having a personal website is all about designing something that I am proud of and that reflects who I am. The colors are bright and make me feel good. I hope that visitors have a similar experience. This is a place for me to share a few of my thoughts. I’ll experiment every now and again. This is the reason why I love the IndieWeb so much: experimentation is encouraged in the community. I’ll keep writing about the changes I make as I make them. I indended for this post to be a more technical justification of the changes I have made but I just keep thinking about how important the very idea of having a personal website is to me.