[Freedombox-discuss] trivial "app" for Freedombox

hjenkins hjenkins at uvic.ca
Wed Feb 13 18:41:25 GMT 2019

> On 11/02/19 9:57 am, hjenkins wrote:
>> Static websites are becoming a bit of a trend. Would it be possible to
have a GUI interface which basically says "serve this folder"?
> Currently, web content placed in ~user/public_html directory will be
served via the URL https://<freedombox>/~user/.
>> Ideally, it would have an Tidy button and a Linklint button, too. Both
packages are in stable.
>> Less trivially, Pelican, a program for generating static blogs, is also
>> stable.
> We are considering adding an option to serve /var/www/html on / instead
of redirecting to /plinth. In this case, users may install whatever static
site generator they want their desktop machine, create the site and push
to /var/www/html using sftp.
> Perhaps this could satisfy the need for serving static sites.
> --
> Sunil

That does the make-it-possible functionality well, and the
fully-configurable subdomains option you mention sounds good, tho I can
see the objections on grounds of predictability. It might boost
professional acceptance if it is non-obvious that the website is running
on a Freedombox (Freedombox does have a userbase that can configure a
server, but wants the speed and ease of Freedombox).

GUI support of virtual hosts might be an alternative; have your
public-facing website on one domain, your FreedomBox interface on another.

Plinth seems to be made so that most users can just interact with it
through the GUI. It would be useful if setting up a static website were
also a follow-the-GUI process for someone with no experience at all.

1. Documentation. A GUI option labeled "Static websites", leading to a
short how-to like Joseph Nuthalapati's (see earlier in thread)

2. An inductive tutorial. A GUI to copy a hello-world.html sampler file
into the appropriate folder (public_html) and tell you how to open and
edit it (optionally with a in-browser edit/preview/post function, and/or
verification tools)

3. A Pandoc GUI frontend. You write in whatever markdown you like and
preview/post the html. Arbitrary paths for the source and destination
files, & an arbitrary Pandoc command to associate with the preview/post
buttons, but with sensible defaults.

These all seem fairly low-maintenance for Freedombox. I think I have an
HTML 4 sampler file for option 2 somewhere, so I'll volunteer that if
someone will do the GUI. More complex is another option mentioned;

4. Pelican and/or Lektor with web editing

Option 4 seems nontrivial. I'm not at all opposed to it; Pelican looks
pretty good. I have not looked at Lektor. TiddlyWiki hosting would
presumably be enabled by option 1.

In the 90's, a lot of people wrote little static websites (some of which
are still running). It's an easy entry point for someone with no
programming experience; write a little text file, then open it in a browser.

I used to point people to a one-page HTML tutorial by... Randy Hall, I
think, which I can't find even in Internet Archive now (he later added a
second page, for CSS). 20 min with it, and you had Made a Website.

Then came the difficult step, actually hosting your website online. Most
people went with third-party commercial services for that. A Freedombox UI
that makes that next step obvious and easy would be really useful for this
user group, even if it were a trivial how-to or GUI wrapper.

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