I’ve been writing on this blog ever since 2012. Years passed, I wonder: what a modern content publishing stack should look like?
Personal blogs were a niche before powerful blogging engines like Wordpress popularized it. Then, microblogging took over. We were obsessed with writing 140 character short posts. They didn’t take much time to write and were quick to share. Micro blogs are also more lenient on writing styles; when the content is short, one’s inexperience in story telling is less obvious.
Then we saw the rise of Medium, and later on, Ghost and other blogging software that tried to mimic Medium’s unobstructive writing experience. But user experience was only part of Medium’s success. Reading and writing on a centralized blogging platform means your articles have a better chance of being discovered by readers thanks to the platform’s recommendation and ranking system. It’s hard to get your content out without a easy way for your readers to discover you.
These days, Medium is a more often a platform for startup companies to advertise their products, for Machine Learning researches to write tutorials on how to stack layers with Keras, Pytorch and etc.
Of course, there are also static site generators that are often used as blogs, such as Jekyll, Pelican, Hugo and Hexo (which powers this blog.) These site generators were popular among software developers because Github pages can be used to host these static content for free. And us Layer 7 arm chair enthusiasts are happy to continue using commandlines and markdown.
What should a modern content publishing stack look like? It should have the obstructive authoring experience and discoverability of Medium; a mobile-first interface that let people piece small chunks of microblog content into meaningful articles; and finally a self-hosting, control-your-own-data model that doesn’t depend on the survival of a single site.
It sounds like I’m imagining a Ghost CMS connected with ActivityPub protocol to form a federated publishing network just like Mastodon does for micro blogging.
Can’t wait for it to come true.