Tobias T–

Get back to Articles I write


Finally here is my very own place on the internet where I can publish things. This first article will tell you a little bit about the hard problems I faced and why I still continued with my work. Don't worry, none of the issues here will be technical.

Why publish?

I talk a lot. Everybody who met me knows that. It’s not only because I really like to hear my own voice, but even more because I believe that people can learn from discussions and experiences others have faced. When I was young someone told me »the person who writes, stays«. In those days it was more about security and avoiding liability, but I think it translates perfectly into the age of today. Conversations come and go, people forget, tweets disappear and almost nobody cares about preserving their thoughts. This page is my compromise. I cannot continue to tell people to change, when I’m not changing as well. If only one person feels inspired to write some words I feel like I have succeeded. One person at a time, let’s start publishing.

Why not just use startup 23?

As I just explained, It's not that I didn't want to contribute words or pixels on the Internet before, but all these great things out there felt wrong. I, like many others, preach a lot about the problems that arise when you use services that are provided for free. That this is not particular bad, but you have to deal with the compromises you might make. I don’t want to be a product of someone else. I don’t want any other platform to gain fame because I write there. Not that any platform would get fame from my words, but think a moment about this: everybody knows Medium, almost nobody knows a name of an author there (if you didn’t know that person before). When Medium shuts down, will the words of the authors still be available? Will the authors still be authors? For me it comes down to my own responsibility. I want to publish something on my own terms, on my own server and I’m the one to blame when it’s no longer available. It’s my choice, so I went on to find suitable software.

Why reinvent the wheel?

There are so many solutions out there that would have suited my needs. Putting letters and pixels into HTML and making them available to everyone is… easy. Some solutions are so successful that they can throw launch parties for 10k$. Even if that’s quite impressive on so many levels, all this is not my way. Creating stuff for me is not about putting Lego bricks together based on a building plan you got included. It’s not a race which has to be finished as soon as possible. The process of building something is at least half of the gratification. I want to understand things. I want to have an opinion on the choices I made. When something breaks I can understand why, because I wrote the moving parts (or not, but then it is even more my fault). So, I started writing a software for myself.

Why did it take so long?

When I started to write this software from scratch I had great plans. I wanted it to do everything, automated and in a beautiful way. I wanted to support all the cool things I knew about and be a good citizen of the independent web – as the cool kids seem to call it today. Webmentions, POSSE, Microformats, oEmbed, Feeds, with JSON-LD, Activity Streams, … I really could go on for ages, but it turns out: if you are building all this by yourself, it’s going to be hard. It will take time, and the project will grow so big that you cannot see the sunset period anymore. After more then a year of part time building I started… from scratch (don’t look at me like that!). I knew I had to make compromises. All this started because I wanted to put stupid little letters on an HTML page. I removed all the none essential features. It still hurts a little bit that this site is so minimal, but at least I can write here.

It’s all about the compromises

Is this site as shiny and as awesome as I had it imagined? No it is not, and I don’t believe anymore that it is necessary. The goal is to contribute thoughts and ideas to the web. Maybe make it better at some point. Even if building is important for me, it should not be more important then the goal itself. I’m not happy with this software, but it works. You can read these words and that is a start.

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Too long; didn’t read

I very much will continue to talk to people. I will forget my own arguments and I will continue to annoy you with my strange ideas. The only difference from now on will be that you might read about them on the internet as well.

P.S.: For the record: there will be no official launch party for this site – maybe I’ll just get a glass of wine with my girlfriend.

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