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Static Leads to Static

I’m almost beginning to wish I hadn’t switched my site to static generation. Not really, though. I’m very pleased with the way the site is performing, with how it looks, and with how easy it is to change things.

It’s just the non-static parts that I want to get working that are complex. By which I mean comments, of course, and Webmentions.

Comments are obvious. And the “obvious” way to make them work with a static site — and one that has good support built into Nikola, the generator application I’m using — is Disqus. But Disqus is known to track its users and show ads, and I don’t want that for anyone who might comment here.

So I’ve been trying other options. But none of them work as easily as you’d hope. There are always complexities, difficulties, bits you have to glue together or even build yourself.

So far I’ve tried:

  • Isso: you have to run a service on your site. I couldn’t get the service to respond.
  • Staticman: I couldn’t get its service to start. A problem with configuring the private key setting.
  • Remarkbox: at the time of writing this is still active, but I’m not sure I’ll keep it. It works like Disqus, in that the comments are hosted on a third-party site, which is not really in keeping with the whole static site/indieweb ethos. It’s not advertising driven like Disqus, but it behaves a bit strangely, at least on here. We’ll see, though.

Lots of blogs manage without comments, of course, including many of the most successful and long-running ones. But I’ve always had a fondness for them. They were building communities online long before there was a Facebook or a Twitter.

The other way to join the conversation is to send and accept Webmentions. I won’t try to explain those here, but again, there’s a certain amount of infrastructure needed to get them working, and I’m not quite there yet.

Still, it all means I’m learning things, which is good. And my posts and pages are just text files, which is as they should be.

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