I was never much of a web person, and I considered it a gross, disjointed, and messy platform. Circa 2010, my impression was that web apps were business oriented ventures, using and providing proprietary services hosted by servers that may cease to exist for any number of reasons. The spirit of open source did not seem to penetrate as deeply as it did on the desktop, where I had managed to use open source software almost exclusively.
However, this began to run counter to my desire to use alternative computing platforms: small ARM based dev boards, Android tablets and/or phones, etc. Using a web app through a browser was much less of an barrier than trying to or waiting for someone else to port software I used and or needed.
What finally convinced me the web is an fascinating platform was the discovery of unhosted web apps. This inversion of the web paradigm brought the best features: decentralized automatic “software” distribution, but also allowed decentralizing data and applications without relying on constant connectivity and/or central servers.
I am sad to say, however, I never did much other than playing around with remotestorage and pouchdb, but it did leave me with an appreciation for the potential. It also left me with a further desire to self-host as much as possible, and avoid relying on centralized walled-gardens for web services. However, aside from a jabber server that only my partner and I used, I didn’t accomplish much in this effort… (and with Google Talk removing federation, and Facebook Messanger removing the Jabber interface, this became even less relevant).
In the past few months, I stumbled upon IndieWeb Camp, and really grokked what was there. Not meant as a replacement for the centralized walled-gardens (referred to as “silos” now), but a means to invert control, and putting the emphasis on owning your data and digital identity. Using the public APIs of those servers to keep connected and federate your identity on those services.
Thrown in the fact I have many many spare Linux ARM boards laying around, and domain names can be really cheap, it was very easy to setup my own hosted site. Perfect timing as well, as Let’s Encrypt just moved out of beta status, and made it very easy to get a signed cert!
I’ve setup a Known instance to get me up and running quickly, combined with some extensions that allow me to syndicate my posts to my other social network identities. I find this very exciting and it has finally motivated me to start writing and publishing again.