tommorris.org

Discussing software, the web, politics, sexuality and the unending supply of human stupidity.


Making a ferocious Indie Web

Building my own indie web site is lots of fun, but the first problem is talking about what you are building. I’m building the new site for myself, primarily, but I’d like to spin the code out so other people can lazily reappropriate it. And for that, I need a distinction between the name of my site and the name of the software that runs it.

So now it does: Ferocity. The name is a reference to a line from Bette Midler’s I’m Beautiful (video) which has a line imploring people to:

Unleash your ferocity upon an unsuspecting world.

I know. Very gay. I did start building it on a train from Brighton.

I’ve now implemented geolocation. Tomorrow, I’m going to try a few geolocated posts, as I’m in central London, and can use that as an opportunity to iron out bugs I find using it on my phone. Geolocation uses the geo microformat. I’ll also be adding the relevant WGS84 RDFa as each post that has a geolocation is technically a wgs84:SpatialThing (hey, the spec says abstracta are spatial things if they have size, shapes or positions; blog posts have positions, just some of them aren’t known).

A big thing that is missing is RSS/Atom. Trying to decide which—both kind of suck. I’m looking at acts_as_feed to abstract that.

As for things I’m reasonably happy with? On-page posting is important. Though you can’t see it unless you are me, I’m really happy with the geolocation button. It’s a little grey target symbol that turns into a black target when it finds a location.

Some other thoughts about building this thing we shall now call Ferocity. Once you’ve got used to Rails 3 and overcome the initial pain that is RVM and Bundler, it’s really rather good. will_paginate is amazingly simple.

There’s a few things I disagree with Rails 3 on: much as I dislike JavaScript, I absolutely loathe CoffeeScript. First thing I did was knock all the silly .coffee extensions off the JavaScript files. CoffeeScript seems to be an awful lot of work and seems to have been created just because someone thought that if they had to write semi-colons and curly braces, they would lose the only thing stopping them from becoming an enterprise Java programmer and they’d fall down the long rabbit hole to 20,000 line XML files and the dreaded AbstractFactoryFactoryBridgeConnectionAdapter.

CoffeeScript adds a layer of pointless abstraction that makes debugging harder… in order to make the code very slightly prettier. No thanks.