Federation & formatting & other questions from prospective user

writeas

#1

Hello,

First of all, huge thanks for @matt for creating such an amazing service!! It fills an important niche and I look forward to Write.as becoming 100% libre (“free as in freedom”) like Mastodon!

Since I want to support this effort, I am looking into getting an account and seriously considering starting at the paid Casual level. But I have a few questions first:

(1) I am super excited to learn of ActivityPub integration and the federation abilities of Write.as (thank you!). However, it is a new “thing” for me so stupid question: Should I set up a Write.as account even if I have another account for something else that’s federated via ActivityPub? For example, if I have a Mastodon account somewhere, do I use it to sign into Write.as or do I still need my own Write.as account? If so, do they somehow link together? I’d appreciate some explanation on how all this fit together.

(2) Is the Markdown I can use when writing limited to what’s currently described in the guide? There are several things I’d really like to use when writing Markdown including (but not limited to): (a) Having image/figure captions attached to my images; (b) Video embedding (not just YouTube/Vimeo but also more generally); (c ) Make images themselves links to URLs I specify; (d) code blocks with syntax highlighting. Can any of the above be done on Write.as and/or are they in the pipeline? If so, is there a published and updated development roadmap?

(3) It seems that Write.as is currently financially sustainable, and I love your dedication to privacy and open source, that’s why I am seriously considering becoming a paid member. However, can you give any hints on the long term financial sustainability of Write.as (i.e. it will likely still be here 5+ years from now)? Radical finanacial transparancy would be so cool! Have you considered managing this project through Open Collective? If not I strongly suggest you check it out! Many successful projects run on Open Collective.

Sorry for the long questions, but I ask them because I am excited about Write.as! Thank you again @matt for such a great work! :smiley:


#2

Hey @kavm, thanks for the kind words! I’m glad you’re as excited about Write.as as I am :blush:

To answer your questions:

  1. The way it works is that your Write.as blog will become basically another “user” in the fediverse. In the same way you might also have a PeerTube channel or PixelFed account, a Write.as blog is separate from your Mastodon microblog. So for me, I have a regular Mastodon account (matt@writing.exchange) and I follow my Write.as blog (matt@write.as) from there. Then I can boost its posts to my Mastodon followers, and they can start directly following my blog from Masto if they want. I’ve made a little demo that shows it all in action.
    Also, in the future we’ll support cross-posting to a Mastodon account as well – which doesn’t require ActivityPub, but might be helpful for those that want it.

  2. The Markdown in the guide just shows how to do basic things, but there’s plenty more that we support, including HTML. (Thanks for bringing this up actually, because I need to update that guide.)
    For captions, you could use some HTML and CSS to style the text after photos, like: <span style="color: #ccc; font-style: italic;">My caption of the photo</span>.
    For video embedding, right now we support video tags and iframes, which will work with many video embed codes. But let me know if you try to add a video and it doesn’t work – maybe we can support it.
    For linking images, that’s just a combination of different Markdown, like this: [![image alt text](https://i.snap.as/VfXJVyS.jpg)](https://snap.as/matt)
    For code blocks, you’d do that with three ticks around the code, like this:
    ```
    print(“Hello world”)
    ```
    Right now it won’t do syntax highlighting, but that is in the pipeline. We have a public roadmap too.

  3. Write.as isn’t actually financially sustainable yet :slight_smile: But since November we’ve had several months where we’re making more than we’re spending. At the current rate we’re growing, I imagine hitting profitability next year, with true sustainability to follow soon after (i.e. I can start taking a salary, hire others, etc.).
    I’m personally committed to keeping this platform going for 20+ years, even if that means taking a day job for a while again (though at this point I don’t imagine that being necessary). As you might’ve seen, I have many, many plans for Write.as and the whole suite of products for getting to sustainability, all while maintaining these strong values and never taking a cent from VCs. So today I can mostly offer that and my plain dedication to making this all happen.
    And I have heard of Open Collective before – using it today would probably mean too much added work for me to handle on my own. But that could be a great option once the platform goes open source.

Thanks for the questions! Feel free to reach out anytime you think of more or need anything.


#3

Wow, thanks @matt for the extensive reply! Exciting stuff…

  1. ActivityPub: Got it, great idea about the demo by the way!

  2. Glad to hear that there’s more Markdown supported. Perhaps something for the roadmap is to support all of the Markdown features as defined by Markdeep or Pandoc? And yeah it would be nice if the guide can mention which Markdown features are supported.

  3. It’s great that there’s positive cash flow, that’s a big step! :smiley:

I’m sure I’ll have more questions once I sign up and play around with the features. Thank you for being so responsive.

As long as the commitment to 100% free source code (as in freedom, not price) for Write.as will be honoured, I will be a happy user and advocate for it!