Everything we do to make it harder to create a website or edit a web page, and harder to learn to code by viewing source, promotes that consumerist vision of the web.
Pretending that one needs a team of professionals to put simple articles online will become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Overcomplicating the web means lifting up the ladder that used to make it possible for people to teach themselves and surprise everyone with unexpected new ideas.
We’re in danger of losing what’s made the Internet the most important medium in history – a decentralized platform where the people at the edges of the networks – that would be you and me – don’t need permission to communicate, create and innovate.
This isn’t a knock on social networks’ legitimacy, or their considerable utility. But when we use centralized services like social media sites, however helpful and convenient they may be, we are handing over ultimate control to third parties that profit from our work, material that exists on their sites only as long as they allow.
Whatever service you use to communicate non-ephemerally on the internet, an email address is needed to do it.
This is not the first time I mention the work of Eric Sachs of Google’s Identity team:
Then during the early 90s, a “hack” was found that created the foundation of most user account systems on the web. That “hack” was the idea of logging into a website with your email address, and proving you were the owner of that email address by having the site send you an SMTP message with a hyperlink back to the site which contained a long code.
A scrupulous writer, in every sentence that he writes, will ask himself at least four questions, thus: What am I trying to say? What words will express it? What image or idiom will make it clearer? Is this image fresh enough to have an effect? And he will probably ask himself two more: Could I put it more shortly? Have I said anything that is avoidably ugly? But you are not obliged to go to all this trouble.
Dillinger is yet another free, open source option for text editing happiness. This one’s good. Uses Marked which makes it fast. And even has support for Markdown tables syntax!
I have it running at write.hypertexthero.com after doing the following:
Install Node. Setup a website, domain and application. Install Dillinger from the GitHub repository Install forever so it keeps running. Edit ~/home/<myusername>/webapps/write/dillinger/app.js and make sure my assigned port number from step 2 above is entered in the following line: