I’m dreaming of a new website engine

Let me get right to the point:

I want a way to use my space on Craft.do as a blog. I love using Craft as my space to outline and organize and it ticks all the boxes Tantek raises about capturing all the thoughts surrounding a good post first, then publishing it later after refining. It literally is the place where it all happens, negating a whole bunch of extra steps.

I already have been using CraftDocs to host my “official/professional” website for a few years now because of the ease of use and don’t-have-to-do-a-damn-thing ability to just publish changes and add new content. I got this likely foolish goose-chase of an idea because whenever I need to throw something like a gist/code snippet on the web even if only for a few hours, it’s way quicker just to make my note public or even lock it behind a password… And it looks good to boot. But there’s more advantages as well:

  • There’s already great mobile apps available. I think I might have created the majority of content on either my phone or the iPad.
  • I like the responsive block content file. WordPress really could learn some things and refactor Glutenberg in this manner.
  • The ability to create sub-sites– little self contained places with its own navigation structure and style–can be made. Here’s an example. These are good for knocking together a series of posts that have a theme to group them together. The best part is it’s easy to do this afterwards as it is with preplanning.
  • Navigation and menu structure is like butter. It looks pretty and logical.

But there are a few major drawbacks to just going totally with the off-the-shelf version of how CraftDocs does web-share:

  • While they finally support subdomain shares (YourHandle.craft.me), the ability to use a whole custom domain is a premium business plan feature. (but there’s a way around this I’ll explain in a bit.)
  • There’s no RSS! I kinda need this to make it really easy for different services and people to consume content.
  • Of course there’s no microformats and anyway to mark up content for that, so no change of using Brid.gy
  • There’s a comment system, but it’s proprietary and there’s no way to connect it to something like Disqus even.

Here’s the thing though; I’ve seen some cool things done with Notion pages, using something like Simple Ink to transform it into a “flat” static website that would theoretically eliminate this, there’s nothing like that for CraftDocs (and I really don’t know why.) There’s kinda two ways to semi-sidestep around it:

The first one I use is a hacky Cloudflare WebWorker method to do this, authored by Zuolan It gets the job done, but all it really does is let Cloudflare do a bunch of DNS redirects internally by using a textfile to make a virtual directory and DNS table. It’s really nice and free and I haven’t had any issues with how it’s done over the last 2½ years. I still can’t do anything about markup, comments, or RSS though.

Now the second way is how Zuolan improved and developed a new way to do this using some client-side java script files to rewrite the server-side javascript and do client-side routing to do some extra tricks. I’m testing it out at the moment. Note the addition of a menu at the lower-left corner by clicking on the floating icon there.

This pops a menu open that also has an “Archive” section that seems to generate a static version of the navigation of the site. That’s interesting…

The “floaty” menu is interesting too… It all has me thinking:

  • is there some way to make this “transcribe” a page, read the contents and generate a “sidecar” pagelet that allows for the following ideas?
    • An RSS version would be generated
    • A comments pagelet would be generated and can slide in or out at will
    • webmentions and activitypub support.

These probably mean some sort of database and parsing engines would need to be running at set intervals to parse the CraftDocs, generate the data and feeds and deal with the commenting subsystem. We already know that this is possible thanks to commenting systems like Disqus and Commento that plug into dispirate websites.

…the real question is: Can I scrape my own CraftDocs and make a CMS from scratch on my own???