Lee Perry
March 24th, 2024

Scribbles, site hosting, hospitals and 'Bolton is Massive'

In this weeks update I talk a little about weekly updates, probably a lot about my future plans for using Scribbles, web hosting, and the indieWeb more generally, about Vickie's adventure at the Royal Blackburn Teaching Hospital, and talk through some of the content on my site this week.


Vincent very kindly let me in to the Scribbles beta a few weeks back, and though I didn't really have a plan for Scribbles, I immediately obtained a lifetime membership.

I did toy with using Scribbles for hosting my main website.  Things is though, as nice an interface as it is to write and read in, and though I'm not so precious about my '1987' claret Hugo theme, its just not the right platform for that.  More limited than micro.blog in functionality, I suspect that the amount of images in some of my posts would make Vincent's accountant cry, and the inability to style them into a gallery would just frustrate me.  Wrong tool for that job.

My site is incredibly eclectic.  I talk about Burnley FC, writing code, occasionally about health and safety or fire safety, playing 20-40 year old video games on modern MacOS machines, any other football stadiums, train stations or motorway services! that I manage to visit.  Seriously, who wants to read all of that shit?

So I'm going to use Scribbles on my main site to provide a kind of weekly summary of everything happening on my site.  A newsletter, but one that does not offend your inbox, or overrun your feed reeder.


While I've been really happy with micro.blog's hosting, and I think that the recent expansion of the premium package is exceptional value, I already have reseller hosting that I pay for to host a couple of projects on.  So I don't need micro.blog per se, and a year in its not a community I really feel part of.  I can have most all of the the exact same conversations that I have there through indieweb.social on Mastodon.  For that reason I may well switch the conversation in that direction and cross post - my site ceasing to be an activityPub actor in its own right.

I could theoretically just host my own Hugo site on my existing server, however the additional friction that would introduce, particularly in posting galleries and images would be painful.  It would though open up the possibility to open up the yaml frontmatter, and to do much more intelligent stuff with content.  I'm not going in that direction though, I don't feel that it would be very enjoyable, and doesn't really fit with my existing workflow.

I played about yesterday with spinning up a Wordpress install, and reimporting my site using the various micro.blog exports.  It went horribly badly.  I despise Wordpress, it feels horribly bloated even stripped back to the bare bones.  The import coped dreadfully with untitled microposts, and media import was really hit and miss.  I'm also struggling to get excited about messing around with Wordpress custom fields and templating.  I'll leave that to others.

So what I think I'm going to do is to go back to 2014, and how I built a site that I was really proud of at the time, but didn't really take off - exploringwildplaces.co.uk.  The site was awesome, but for a number of reasons the project did not evolve as I wanted it to.  From what I remember the site had geolocated locations, with custom fields storing and processing data relevant to the content site.  So mountains contained data about their height, lakes on their depth, and so on. That site was lightning fast given that it essentially served cached static data, and was built in a content management framework called Processwire.

So I've spent a little time over the last few days working out how to build a field and template structure from scratch, and thinking about what that would need to look like for my project.