So far I’ve envisioned Platypub as being a tool for creating read-only websites. Now that I’m experimenting again with Discourse, I’ve been wondering if it would be worth the extra complexity to make Platypub capable of creating sites with native commenting/forum features.
The first step is to figure out what exactly the final result would look like from an end user’s perspective. I’m using this forum for two different websites right now, and I kind of like it that way. I think of this forum as a place for me to think in public, hash out ideas, and post short updates/announcements/items of interest. (And if other people start posting here, then that’ll be an added bonus ). Over time, as my various ideas mature, I’ll write some of them up as essays on the other two sites. The two websites are meant to present the stable, “long-term support” version of my ideas; this forum is the nightly build.
So it’s very much up in the air whether I’d even want this forum to be integrated more tightly with the other sites, and in fact, just writing the paragraph above has made me lean further away from that. However it’d still be worth examining what benefits there potentially would be from integration—maybe there are other ways to get those benefits.
I think the benefits would center around authentication and newsletters/email digests. Right now, signing up for the newsletter(s) and signing up for the forum is separate, and there’s duplication between the emails: I’m manually compiling posts from the forum into digest emails for the newsletters, and Discourse also sends its own automatic weekly digests to those who have signed up for the forum.
It might be nicer to at least have an integrated sign up form. Say you’re on tfos.co and you put in your email and hit the subscribe button. After signing you up for periodic TFOS digests, it could show a form that asks if you’d like to also subscribe to the forum and/or to the Biff digests. If you unsubscribe/click a “manage subscription” link, you could be taken back to a similar form where it has settings for all the possible subscriptions in one place.
If you wanted to comment on a post in the forum, you wouldn’t have sign up for a second thing. You click on the post from the email digest and you’re already authenticated.
Another big one: I could rely solely on the automatic digests, and I’d never need to manually compile a digest for the newsletters. The only time I’d manually trigger an email is when I’ve written an essay for one of the main websites.
I should probably think about what it would look like to have Platypub only handle publishing the website, and let a separate Discourse-like forum app handle newsletter stuff–e.g. then the signup form on a Platypub site would just be e.g. an iframe embed from the forum app.
To be continued!