Despite my earlier protestations, I am working on a web directory project on a different domain.  It’s not a big deal but there is work to do, like: seed the directory with a starter set of links.  I mean you go to a directory to find web pages or websites and it better have something for you to find or you will never come back.

Yeah, so I’ve got this used web crawler/indexer, that would be me, who is an old, slow and cranky, old git, but  works cheap. The slacker likes taking a nap during working hours. This could take awhile.

Plus I’ve got to edit CSS font sizes which I’ve never done, and write help pages that explain what the heck I’m trying to do.

All of which is to say, I’ve got to cut back on blogging here for awhile and just get this directory ready for launch.

Thanks.

Signed, Me.

Bookmark: dokuwiki [DokuWiki]

Another wiki server script.  Doku looks to be even bigger than PmWiki as far as plugins.

This one seems more about formatting writing in HTML rather than markup.

Pros:

No database needed. Files are stored as plain txt, which means they are forever.

Low server overhead.

 

Bookmark: Home | Solid

(From the Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Inrupt.)

Solid empowers users and organizations to separate their data from the applications that use it. It allows people to look at the same data with different apps at the same time. It opens brand new avenues for creativity, problem-solving, and commerce.

Note: Ownership of your own data and having control of your own data are very Indieweb.org concepts. Solid brings the concept to more to mobile and apps but it applies to the web too.

This was also posted to
/en/indieweb.

 

 

Bookmark: Inrupt

It’s time to reset the balance of power on the web and reignite its true potential.

When Sir Tim Berners-Lee invented the web, it was intended for everyone. The excitement and creativity of its early days were driven from the notion that we can all participate – and the impact was world-changing.

But the web has shifted from its original promise – and it’s time to make a change.

This could be one of the most significant startups – ever.

Article by Fast Company:

This week, Berners-Lee will launch, Inrupt, a startup that he has been building, in stealth mode, for the past nine months. Backed by Glasswing Ventures, its mission is to turbocharge a broader movement afoot, among developers around the world, to decentralize the web and take back power from the forces that have profited from centralizing it. In other words, it’s game on for Facebook, Google, Amazon.

This was also posted to
/en/web.

 

 

This is a follow on of: Let Us Build a New Web, so you might want to start with that.

Here I want to talk about expanding beyond a static site or just a blog.  For most of these I think I would probably also have a blog just because it’s easy to post updates and announcements on one.

Website Ideas:

Wiki – if you have used Wikipedia then you already have used a wiki.  Wiki’s are very good for collaborative websites.  You can build a knowledge base  with a wiki. You might not need a blog if you have a wiki.  Wiki’s are best for making vast globs of sprawling information able to be found through the wiki’s site search and hyperlinks.

You can use one for group journal type role play.  I have always wanted to use a wiki for world building for table-top RPG’s like D&D, CoC, Metamorphosis Alpha and/or Traveler.

Knowledge Base – a KB is great for making a detailed manual.  You see a lot of knowledge bases used in software support.  Here is an example for WSNLinks.

So if you have some detailed, step-by-step knowledge you want to share, a knowledge base might be perfect.

Some KB ideas: how to paint RPG miniatures, naval miniatures wargame rules,  table-top RPG rules manual, any kind of howto guide.

Directory – I’ll talk about two variants, there are more but I’ll stick with two for now.  1. Links Directories and 2. Business Directories.  Links Directories are collections of hyperlinks to websites (ie. Yahoo started out as a links directory.) Business Directories, may or may not have hyperlinks, but they generally list the name, address, phone number and hours of operation of a business.  Most include a map showing the business location (ie. Yelp, and the online Yellow Pages.)

  1. Links Directory – this could be something as simple as using a directory for hosting your own bookmarks.  (ie. back in the day I knew someone who had a “Cool Directory” which was anything he thought was cool.  Basically his bookmarks.)  Make a topical directory, links to websites about a topic you are passionate about. (A cause, hobby, science fiction, anime, comics, etc.)  I do think that a blog compliments a directory well.  It gives the directory owner a voice.
  2. Business Directory – these make perfect local directories, their strength is they can list bricks and mortar businesses that do not have a website.  These can also be used as restaurant review sites.  I always thought a directory of weird old tourist attractions would be cool.

Forums – forums are an old school social network.  For niche sites they can be perfect for like minded people to have in depth discussions. One advantage a forum has over social networks with moving timelines, a post or a reply, much like email, will sit there waiting for you until you return.  So maybe you only visit once a week, all activity will be there waiting for you.

Most hosting accounts have a couple of free forums scripts ready to deploy at the touch of a button.  I like SimpleMachines forum the best. YMMV.  If your community thrives and becomes big you can move up to something like Invision Community.

The down side of forums are they are very hard to get started.  They work best when you and a few friends decide beforehand you need one.  Otherwise, start a blog on the topic first, attract a following and then ask your followers if they would be interested in a forum for more chat.

For almost all the above I think you should have a blog.  It is always a good way to reach out by syndicating to social networks.  You can mix and match all the different scripts described above whatever works for you.  Again if all you need is X number of pages and then your topic is exhausted just make a static site.  Do it for you. Do what pleases you.

If you have ever had the yen to build a website the above can give you some ideas.  Feel free to comment if you have ideas of your own or questions.

This was also posted to
/en/web.

@simonwoods made a great point about (re)building the web and search.

I’m convinced the best answer to search is websites. Let people collect and curate the information, rather than play Google’s game and then inch-by-inch the alternative search becomes viable —

Do read that whole thread I linked to above and pay particular attention to Simon’s replies because he’s on to something.

Here are a couple of takeaways I want to highlight:

  1. We, the little people, need to rebuild the web.  It does not do to just complain about silos and then point out other corporate alternatives, first and foremost the web needs websites built by individual humans, not just corporations, SEO’s and people trying to get their hand in your pocket.  This is the foundation of everything.
  2. People will not leave the silos and corporate web unless there is an alternative, ie. someplace to go and that someplace to go is actually many places built by us. See #1 above.
  3. We should link freely from our sites to other sites we like.  This, literally, helps rebuild the hyperlinked network of threads that gives The Web it’s name.
  4. Discovery, and search, will sort itself out, if we do #1,2, and 3.  We may have to relearn how to surf the web again, and that is not a bad thing.
  5. Over time, we will eventually adapt to #4: humans will index this New Web we build using both old ways and new ways that have yet to invented.  And yes, machines are also likely to index it as well.  We may end up with 5,6, 10 or more favorite places we go to search and that is good.

I hope I am interpreting Simon’s thoughts fairly and accurately.  I wanted to highlight them before that thread fades away.

How to Start

It’s not a pipe dream.  It is ridiculously easy to make a website these days.  You don’t need to know HTML.  If you want to blog go to Micro.blog or WordPress.com.  If you do not want to blog and would prefer a static website, again go to WordPress.com, because it’s just as easy to build a static site there and omit the blog.

(Example: On my to-do list is to build a static website for my neighborhood’s Little Free Library.  It only needs to be 1 – 3 static pages.  I’m going to build it on WordPress.com.  It should not take long.)

The point is, everyone has some skill, idea, knowledge that is worth sharing and equally, there are other people looking for the information you have in your head and take for granted.  Share it. We need to build that alternative.

Of course not everyone is going to build a website.  But more of us should be.  More of us can, we just don’t know how.

Pro Tip: With Micro.blog you can build your own website/blog almost by accident, while you are posting to social networks.  Just use it to post away, the blog (website) just builds itself.  No effort.  🙂  Example: Mumblings by Simon Woods is a Micro.blog blog.

More posts on ideas for websites in future posts.

Feel free to add to the discussion: agree? disagree? please comment.

 

If you have serious bookmarks scattered about on various browsers and bookmarking services and want to consolidate them into one index you might consider a web directory script.

This solution is not for everyone, but if you already have a C-panel type web hosting account for your blog, the kind of hosting where you can create either more subdomains or host more domains you can do this with ease.

As an example: 1. I don’t have the hosting account but I need one for other projects anyway, 2. I’ve got about 30 parked domains I could be using, 3 or I could put the bookmark directory on a subdomain.

Pros:

  1. Web based so you have access anywhere across all devices.
  2. Searchable and can be categorized using any structure you devise.
  3. Most directory scripts will let you have hidden categories that you can keep private.
  4. Nobody is tracking what you bookmark and selling the info.
  5. Dead link checker.
  6. No ads.
  7. It’s on your own domain so you have control.  You don’t have to worry about third party bookmark site getting bought up or going pay or changing business models.
  8. Many directory scripts have a free version with fewer features.  This might be enough for a bookmarks directory.

Cons

  1. Not quite as easy to add bookmarks to.
  2. More set up and maintenance.

 

I’d never really thought about this until Amit Gawande asked about bookmarking.