My website plan

In an effort to reclaim my blog as my thought space and take back control over my data, I want to share how I plan to evolve my website. Given the incredible feedback on my previous blog posts, I want to continue the conversation and ask for feedback.

First, I need to find a way to combine longer blog posts and status updates on one site:

  1. Update my site navigation menu to include sections for "Blog" and "Notes". The "Notes" section would resemble a Twitter or Facebook livestream that catalogs short status updates, replies, interesting links, photos and more. Instead of posting these on third-party social media sites, I want to post them on my site first (POSSE). The "Blog" section would continue to feature longer, more in-depth blog posts. The front page of my website will combine both blog posts and notes in one stream.
  2. Add support for Webmention, a web standard for tracking comments, likes, reposts and other rich interactions across the web. This way, when users retweet a post on Twitter or cite a blog post, mentions are tracked on my own website.
  3. Automatically syndicate to 3rd party services, such as syndicating photo posts to Facebook and Instagram or syndicating quick Drupal updates to Twitter. To start, I can do this manually, but it would be nice to automate this process over time.
  4. Streamline the ability to post updates from my phone. Sharing photos or updates in real-time only becomes a habit if you can publish something in 30 seconds or less. It's why I use Facebook and Twitter often. I'd like to explore building a simple iOS application to remove any friction from posting updates on the go.
  5. Streamline the ability to share other people's content. I'd like to create a browser extension to share interesting links along with some commentary. I'm a small investor in Buffer, a social media management platform, and I use their tool often. Buffer makes it incredibly easy to share interesting articles on social media, without having to actually open any social media sites. I'd like to be able to share articles on my blog that way.

Second, as I begin to introduce a larger variety of content to my site, I'd like to find a way for readers to filter content:

  1. Expand the site navigation so readers can filter by topic. If you want to read about Drupal, click "Drupal". If you just want to see some of my photos, click "Photos".
  2. Allow people to subscribe by interests. Drupal 8 make it easy to offer an RSS feed by topic. However, it doesn't look nearly as easy to allow email subscribers to receive updates by interest. Mailchimp's RSS-to-email feature, my current mailing list solution, doesn't seem to support this and neither do the obvious alternatives.

Implementing this plan is going to take me some time, especially because it's hard to prioritize this over other things. Some of the steps I've outlined are easy to implement thanks to the fact that I use Drupal. For example, creating new content types for the "Notes" section, adding new RSS feeds and integrating "Blogs" and "Notes" into one stream on my homepage are all easy – I should be able to get those done my next free evening. Other steps, like building an iPhone application, building a browser extension, or figuring out how to filter email subscriptions by topics are going to take more time. Setting up my POSSE system is a nice personal challenge for 2018. I'll keep you posted on my progress – much of that might happen via short status updates, rather than on the main blog. ;)


Erica Orthmann (not verified):

Hi Dries! Maybe you could use an IFFT recipe to filter by RSS topic. That assumes your subscribers will re-subscribe to the new, topical page, which will be really tough to do. A better option although not automated might be a curated newsletter by topic. Readers’ interests usually are pretty multi-faceted. I like Axios Login and A16Z as newsletters because you can scan them quickly. Hope you are well!

Bryan Ruby (not verified):

I feel like you're writing my own blog posts. I've been planning a lot of similar tasks for my personal blogs too. I'm finding it's a tough balance and takes work to figure out how much to rely on automation to reach out to social media. The goal is to focus on the blog and let software worry about social media, but I'm finding I'm still doing a lot of policing of social media than I'd like.

In the past, I've tried using content type within Drupal to fan out where my content goes. The issue though is sometimes you want "Blogs" to go where "Notes" go and visa versa. Adding new content types, at least historically (maybe not with Drupal 8 and beyond), can also make site migration/upgrades a little more difficult than it should. In my case, I've found reliance on RSS feeds based on taxonomy (tags) is a better solution than content types. I've used Drupal's promotion options to decide if the content intended for social media is worthy for the front page or not.

I've started using to use my RSS feeds to reach out to social media as well as it's browser plugin. If that doesn't work out for me, looks like Buffer is another option to look at. Keep up the good work Dries!

Jonathan (not verified):

"... allow email subscribers to receive updates by interest"

I need this for my current project. The Simplenews Drupal 8 module will basically do it; if you want a single article to match multiple interest groups you need a little custom code, I've figured out what.

Aaron Parecki (not verified):

Great followup post!

"I'd like to explore building a simple iOS application to remove any friction from posting updates on the go."

If your site supports Micropub (, then you can use any number of Micropub apps to post to your site, instead of writing them yourself! In fact, there's already a fantastic start to an iOS app for exactly this purpose, called Indigenous, in beta right now. It should be a minimal amount of work to create a Micropub plugin for Drupal, and then you can take advantage of everyone else's work building clients!

Sirtet (not verified):

"I'd like to explore building a simple iOS application to remove any friction from posting updates on the go."

With Safari starting to support more of the standards for Progressive Web Apps, I'd look into if Drupal could be that App. Because to me, Smartphone Apps are the Facebooks and Twitters of Code. They lock me into a proprietary platform, while the Web itself could be the open platform. The first iPhone had that vision in it, before some tech limits (and maybe the prospect of a dream business) led to the App Store.

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