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2 points by akkartik 14 days ago | link | parent

Very cool. Can you elaborate on this tantalizing sentence?

> My goal is to make a simple hybrid of HN/Lobsters and Feedly/Google Reader and DropBox/WeTransfer/Google Drive/OneDrive.

What parts/features do you want to take from each, and why do you think they should coexist in a single product?





3 points by hjek 14 days ago | link

> What parts/features do you want to take from each, and why do you think they should coexist in a single product?

DropBox/WeTransfer/Google Drive/OneDrive is just what people use to send larger files. I'm not a fan of those sites, but I have observed that people I know find Filezilla and FTP very intimidating. There's some other free apps for this, but either they're in PHP or they're too complicated to install or use or hack on. Droopy[0] works good for this, so as a start I just cloned what Droopy does; just to check whether Racket/SQLite is fast enough for this use case. (It is)

I like RSS as an idea and the fact that most sites have RSS feeds, but I think it's underappreciated by non-techies, who think that Facebook or Twitter are the only place you can "follow" stuff. For friends of mine to even consider using RSS for anything, I think it needs to be more accessible. I use Newsbeuter for reading RSS but I would never recommend it to non-techie friends, and it has some annoying bugs: Sometimes text is missing, podcast download is flaky at best so I have to copy the url out at get it with curl, and the interface becomes unresponsive when there's many feed items. So I'm thinking of giving it a try to make a web-based RSS reader that encourages sharing and that at very least I'd enjoy using myself. I think this would fit naturally with a News-style app, basically just having RSS feed items being shown alongside other people's posts, but perhaps tweaking the ranking in a way that external feeds don't overshadow local content (assuming that external feed items are votable). Some non-techies have shown me the Feedly app, which (I think) uses RSS, and (I presume) has some kind of social recommendation system, so I just think it would be nice with a free/libre web app doing something similar.

Then, the HN/Lobsters part is basically about having a minimalist web forum with tree structure replies and well thought out ranking algorithms and spam handling, instead of this thoughtless phpBB-style newest-first unstructured mess. One thing Lobsters does right here is that it notifies you when someone replies to a comment of yours. On HN it's possible for someone to reply and you just won't notice because it's so deeply buried in old threads. But I like all the different ways you can sort/view the content on HN.

Also, I've had some painful episodes trying to back up Wordpress sites. It's not pleasant, because there's little distinction between code and content which is stored in a mish-mash of database entries and folders. WP barfs all over the disk. That's something HN does right, because all the content is in the `www` folder. But, then file upload to HN is not really a realistic thing.

So I'm just trying to mix-and-match things I like from different software. A lot of ideas. Haven't gotten far yet! But I guess it's ok to share work-in-progress here.

If I didn't have dockerphobia and mild JS-intolerance, I'd probably just be running Mastodon or something.

[0]: https://github.com/stackp/Droopy/issues?q=is%3Aissue+is%3Acl...

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2 points by akkartik 14 days ago | link

I'm wondering:

1. Are you trying to build an RSS reader? Or do you want to support RSS versions of pages on your site?

2. Are you building a file transfer service? Or are you imagining that people will want to share files on a HN-like website? I'm not sure why that would be a common use case.

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2 points by hjek 14 days ago | link

> 2. Are you building a file transfer service? Or are you imagining that people will want to share files on a HN-like website? I'm not sure why that would be a common use case.

File upload wouldn't make sense on HN, Arc Forum or Lobsters, and I get that it's entirely on purpose that it's not present on those sites.

But I've been hosting a News site, and those of my friends who use it often submit links to something they've put on Dropbox or Google Drive, so I'm simply observing that this use case is present and that file upload is missing on my site. Perhaps it's because it's a different type of exchanges: a guitarist uploading a recording of a Charlie Parker solo, an artist uploading a drawing, etc.

Well, perhaps I should be using $CRAPPY_PHP_CMS_WITH_FILE_UPLOAD instead of News, but why can't I have well-structured content and file uploads at the same time?

It's also about future extensibility, ways of presenting these file uploads that I haven't thought about yet. I do occasionally write PHP for money. I don't have a very high opinion of that language, and I'd rather make something from scratch in Racket than write it as a Drupal plugin. Given the relative quantities of Drupal plugins and Racket web apps, that might be an unpopular opinion, but it shouldn't seem too strange on this forum. I'd prefer to make custom interactive web sites by extending a code base in Racket rather than PHP.

It's actually also for the use-case of being off-the-grid, yet needing to send/receive files to people in the same room, but not being able to find a USB stick. That situation happens surprisingly often for me. A zero-config web app is useful here because everyone have a browser on their computer (whereas not everyone have FTP / SSH / SMB).

> 1. Are you trying to build an RSS reader? Or do you want to support RSS versions of pages on your site?

I plan to do both. Building a social RSS reader integrated in a News-like app. And this News-like app would provide RSS feeds in the same way Anarki does. I image it wouldn't be too difficult.

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