The Indie Web should be easier

Posted by Charanjit Chana on 2024-01-22.

Earlier this month, I came across a post from Gilest Turnbull titled Make The Indie Web Easier and I couldn't agree more.

we need more tools for it. We need simpler tools for it. And we need to make installing and using them trivially simple.

For building products and larger teams, additional steps make sense. Maybe it's tests, maybe it's abstraction or maybe it's a lack of trust, but whatever the reason I get why there are all sorts of tools around web development.

But if you want to kickstart an idea, it can feel like a minefield.

The example that sticks in my mind was when reviewing a candidates project that was pure front-end and technically just two pages in total. It weighed over 140MB. One hundred and forty. That wasn't the candidates fault, but the fault of the tutorial they followed or the course they had taken.

As a comparison, I couldn’t have made it much simpler to get started with a pure front-end site with just HTML, CSS and basic JavaScript than I did for my DEV #dohackathon submission site, The Neptunes. You can see the repo on GitHub but the kicker was the deployment script. That needed some digging which a developer might not want to dive into... but it did give me an insight into a deployment platform that meant less configuration overall than if I'd spun up and administered a linux box with Apache/NGINX and other bits and pieces by hand.

I would love the web to be simpler and easier than it is at the moment. Tools like HTMX and Hotwire look quite interesting as a way of simplifying how we make sites more interactive.

I'll leave you with the closing paragraph from Giles:

If we truly want to open up the web for everyone to publish on, we have to make it easier. Let’s give people choices. Let’s give people options for tools they can set up and use, with no more knowledge than the knowledge they already have.