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Bryan Ollendyke
Bryan Ollendyke

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HAXTheWeb: The mission

HAX, *H*eadless *A*uthoring e*X*perience, is my life's work, journey, and mission. I yell it from anywhere I'm allowed to. But what is it? What's the big idea / deal? It's spelled out in far too many words across too many spaces, so let's get into it here in a series of short articles.

The problem

  • Big tech controls the conversation in too many spaces. Even if that's just posting rapidly to Medium, that ease of use is traded for your intellectual property.
  • Dev.to has popped up to counter this, but even here, they could alter the discussion or silence your voice.
  • The tools we all produce as professionals, by design, cut 99% of the population out of the conversations
  • The world is much bigger than web elites.

If you don't think writing in markdown on this website is a big deal, congratulations, you are part of the 1% I am referencing. The technical elites that understand the complexities of the web and publishing. I've seen conferences have multi-hour training dedicated to teaching people how to use markdown and watched them struggle with it.

The btopro Postulate

If anything is sufficiently difficult to use, people will seek out the path of least resistance.

Much as water flows around a rock in the river, if something is too difficult to use people will flow elsewhere and for many, that's social media platforms like FB, Twitr, insta.

Phone + appstore + click button + accept terms (without reading) + login. Once I have a phone account I've skipped all those pesky things like login fields, text entry areas, captchas. It's why the app stores are so powerful. Usability is what drives users to store their data and experiences places that they don't control.

Why control matters

It's not some conspiracy about "deplatforming"; it's because algorithms crafted by these organizations are driven by rage, clickbate and "engagement". I believe that part of this trap is caused by people having too low-fidelity of tools to accurately express themselves. This leads to hammering the "like" button or "RT"ing things.

Medium / Dev.to articles by contrast have much more richness to the ability to write, structure, find, and distribute information. This richness in media production leads to a more nuanced discussion.

Our Solution / principles

  • HAX seeks to be the easiest way to produce content on the web
  • We leverage the web component standard to work anywhere
  • We will integrate with any open source platform
  • Content produced by HAX must be 100% portable, platform agnostic HTML
  • Connecting all communities through what we have in common - web components: html, css, javascript

hax.camp opening address

Developer experience focus

  • Learning web components === learning HAX
  • Visual assets are created to enhance the web, then expose a callback to work with HAX
  • HAX doesn't know anything but HTML primitives
  • HAX is fully customizable as to what and which visual assets are available
  • Unbundling will widen the net of who can participate in the web

Next up

This series I'll unpack how HAX integrations work, how you can use HAX in platforms that exist currently and what's involved in wiring a visual asset up to HAX.

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