I’ve been meaning to redo my website for some time now. Maintaining a linear blog, like my old website, is difficult. And not just because of the work. I like the work: the writing, the editing, the coding, the designing, etc. What is grueling for me is that there are periods in my life where I just don’t have anything to say. This could be because I’m busy at with work or even just the fact that nothing particularly interesting is going on. I try not to add to the overall noise of the internet by just churning out mediocre stuff but… that last published at date starts to creep further and further into the past. And then the blog starts to seem more and more stale. All the while, the anticipation of that next post builds and builds—along with the anxiety.
Another thing that has always been hard for me when it comes to maintaining a website at this domain is that I have very eclectic interests. From programming, to food, to writing, to video games, to making beer, to playing Dungeons & Dragons… you get the idea. And while a jumbled mess of topics and information very much reflects the state of my mind on most days, documenting these ideas in a strictly linear fashion makes it damn hard to find something that I’ve written about in the past on a particular topic. I need something less like a chronological list and more like a network or a wiki.
One day while surfing the web—like we used to do in the old days—I stumbled upon an interesting person named Devine Lu Linvega and his website XXIIVV. You see, Devine uses his website as a personal logging system where he records the work he’s accomplished, the things that he has done, and more. Aside from Devine being a fascinating person (his partner-in-crime, Rekka, is as well), something about his website really resonated with me. And it’s inspired me to try and do something similar.
So this website is now an attempt to do just that. To document not just my life but my work and the things that I’ve learned. I want this to be a place that I come back to for information, a place that documents where I’ve been, and what I was thinking about. I want this to be a place where I can show others some of things that I’ve learned.
This website is structured around semi-hierarchical topics. Each topic contains non-linear, date-independent information about something. A topic might be very general like travel or it could be extremely specific like a recipe for carbonara. Topics can—and probably do—belong to a parent topic. For instance, a topic for Paris would have France as its parent topic. Also, a topic can declare that it is related to other topics. Remember the carbonara topic that I mentioned earlier? It would probably (I haven’t actually created these topics at the time I’m writing this) have recipes as its parent topic but would also list Italy as a related topic. Are you starting to see how this works?
With the base of the website being a network of topics, what about date-specific information? Well, each topic can have three other types of content attached to it: entries, notes, and events. Both entries and notes are blurbs of text with a timestamp indicating when they were published. Entries are for long-form writing or presenting a group of content (think a photo gallery) while notes are short posts (think Tweets or Instagram photos). Events, however, simply indicate that something happened (or will happen) at a particular time. They can also, optionally, have a location attached to them. This means that I can display events on either a calendar or a map. For instance, I would created an event in the Scotland topic for July 2019 to document my family’s planned trip there this summer. This would then show up on that topic’s calendar and map.
Its all very conceptual right now but I’m hoping that it will start to make sense as I chisel away at the idea. Stay tuned.
A major goal that I have for this website’s reincarnation is to fully exploit IndieWeb methodologies. I want to make this website an active participant in that ecosystem and I want my website to again be my home on the internet. I’ve largely pulled away from all of the social networks. This wasn’t 100% intentional but something about every single one of them leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Perhaps by using POSSE I can still take advantage of those networks but keep the content that I post online centered around this website. I like that sound of that a lot.
So my task now is simply to build. I’ve got a lot of topics to create and thread together. I have a lot of events and other content to backfill. And, of course, I’ve got the rest of my life document. I’m excited to finally have a direction for this website again. This is one of those times where it feels like the right pieces are spread out on the table and I just need to fit them together to finish the puzzle.