My wife recently picked up a new hobby of photography and decided to have a blog to journal her journey, so she went on to find a hosting service that would be: (a) easy to use; and (b) free.Surely you might chuckle as nothing easy comes for free, but we couldn't really figure out why.We tried out different platforms, such as Tumblr or Wordpress but having limited to the free version we found ourselves being unable to customise to our dream design.Understanding the needs, I also considered using a static-site generator, such as Jekyll but we realised that those normally require being able to write a MarkDown file felt like an incredible hassle compared to what we want. Why can't we simply copy the images to where they need to go and be done with it?
Intrigued by the challenge I took the time I had during the xmas break to write a simple-photo-blog app, and the basic version does exactly that - copy the files to a folder, whose name will be the post's title and run the app that will automatically upload a compiled html file. zero technical knowledge required (aside from creating folders and copying files).
As xmas break lasted more than one day, I had the time to add additional feature, such as setting publication-date or hashtags, image automated resizing and even supporting video URLs from youtube and Vimeo (by simply adding a file with the extension ".video.txt" with the link inside). I even had time to create a small demo. The code itself is also available here.
Setting it up isn't as easy as I would have liked. It still requires creating an account at some free hosting website (we used github), creating the repository and adding the "upload" command into the blog-configuration.yaml. There's plenty more room for improvement but I'm satisfied that once the system is running, it's very tech-free.
I often feel that 90% of all the content on the internet is designed for the "people who work on the internet" as the primary target audience. Many times are users required to handle HTML (or Markdown) to get something to work (such as embedding a video) or handle colours in HEX code or any other internet-jargon words (such as IP or bitrate). I think it's a shame as we're making the barrier to connectivity to the internet much more difficult for people who are already struggling while it and these people have amazing things to say or show, if only we give them the right tools to get the job done. The digital divide is a real thing and it's our responsibility as web developers and designers to bridge it.