A while back, I mentioned that I’d written a little microblogging platform called ‘fragments’. At the time, it was a little unpolished; since then, I’ve cleaned up the code a bit (most importantly, separated the content from the guts of publishing, though presentation is probably more interwoven with the latter than would be ideal), enough so that I don’t mind putting it up on github. I’d be surprised if anybody else found it useful, but you never know; if somebody else out there wants a way to write extremely spare and unlinked small posts, is running their own web server, and wants to write posts in a text editor instead of through a web interface, then have at it!
If anybody is looking at the source code: the main way in which it’s not representative of how I normally program is the fact that most classes don’t have unit tests. This sometimes happens to me when I’m gluing stuff together: there’s not much in the way of logic, and the ultimate test of a fair bit of that code is how it looks in the web browser, so I’m not sure where unit tests would be useful. In situations like that, though, I do like to throw in some kind of overall acceptance test that at least detects whether or not I’m inadvertently changing the HTML output. And, of course, it’s much smaller than software that I work on at work! Other than that, though, it’s reasonably representative: functions and classes are pretty small but there’s room for further shrinking, I’ve taken a bit of care to remove duplication, but I wouldn’t present it as anything like a shining, polished gem.
I’ve also added a front page for the site, so you can see the fragments (at least the most recent 20 ones—no pagination yet) without having to go to the feed. (Incidentally, Safari isn’t correctly doing feed autodetection right; I’ll look into that eventually, but if somebody happens to why that isn’t working, please tell me.)
It’s turned out differently from how I expected it to be. In particular, I labeled it as a “microblogging platform” above, but you’ll see if you look at the front page that that isn’t accurate, that “miniblogging” is more the size posts are turning out. Also, in the original post, I talked about “mosaics”; support for them is still there, but I’ve only written one, and that one was a proof of concept instead of something that I really felt compelled to do. So, instead of figuring out how to represent mosaics on the front page, I just left them off the front page entirely, and am not advertising the mosaics RSS feed, either; I’d be surprised if I ever write another one, though who knows.
What does seem to be the case is that the fragments blog is turning into my ‘morose blog’. Something about the fact that it feels hidden—very few readers (almost all of whom are people I know and feel quite comfortable talking to in person), combined with a complete lack of comments and an almost complete lack of analytics—makes it feel more private than it actually is. (Because I don’t want to kid myself: it’s on the web, it’s accessible by search engines, so any mistakes I make there will be available to be uncovered!) The result of which is that I spend some amount of time digging into in-person interactions, and the in-person interactions that I think about the most are ones where I feel out of place. That gives entries a morose tone, to the extent that I end up backtracking on that within the blog itself, because I certainly don’t feel like a morose person the vast majority of the time! Still, I think I’ll stop backtracking/apologizing for that within the blog: this paragraph is the context you’re going to get for the tone, the fragments themselves should be minimal and unapologetic.
And, unless something changes, this post and its predecessor is all the talking I’m planning to do about the fragments blog: it’s been a successful enough experiment that I’ve added a link to it to the right-hand column on this blog, and I imagine the fragments will spur ideas that play out here in a larger scale, but in general I’m going to leave it tucked away. No more discussion of it here, no automatic forwarding of posts there to Facebook or Google+ or whatever. I doubt that the vast majority of you reading this would find anything at all interesting there: it’s primarily targeted at myself (which, admittedly, is the case for this blog, too!), and I don’t think people who haven’t interacted quite a bit with me would find anything of interest there.
This post has not been revised since publication.