Eddie Hinkle

Final Indigenous Log: The Future of the App

Over a year ago, I was working on Indigenous, the first app I've released in the App Store. It was a great experience but it originally started as a native share sheet extension. From there, more Micropub features were added and then as Microsub was announced, that was built in as well. Ultimately it turned into half-social reader half-Micropub client. This split role has made the code and app structure very complicated. Also the name Indigenous is a challenge as well, as it doesn't describe the purpose of the app at all. I liked the name initially because it was the native experiment for the IndieWeb (and I think it has worked great!), but the time has come where the app needs a name that will explain it's use and purpose for people who might not know about the IndieWeb. In fact, that means the app needs a clear purpose for it to have a clear name.

Going forward, Indigenous will be broken into different apps rather than trying to make a monster app that does everything. I have had three goals of the app up to now:

These are three very different use cases and they need different UIs and different approaches. So today I'm going to talk about three new apps that I'm planning on developing as open source apps for iOS and macOS (using the unnamed Marzipan effort). This might take awhile to develop, but in the end, I think it will allow me to develop features faster, with a better UI and better overall apps. I call them the Abode Suite.

Remark

Remark is the first of the three Abode Suite apps that will be released and is the project I am currently working on. Remark will be the replacement of the fun social reader aspect of Indigenous. It's name is built on the idea that we read things that people are talking about and saying and we respond or remark on them. This will be primarily a Microsub app with Micropub sprinkled in just enough to allow you to post short notes, replies or reactions. Think of this as an IndieWeb Twitter-like app. I am avoiding most UI work for now because with WWDC 2019 approaching UI is not something you want to spend much time on. The goal is for this app to have a beta sometime during the iOS 13 beta cycle, and release either at the same time as iOS 13 or later this year after iOS 13 is released. When it is released it should support being used on both iPad and Mac but how optimized it is for both of those platforms may be minimal at launch.

Chronicler

Chronicler will be the replacement for the Micropub app for posting to blogs feature of Indigenous. I've wanted to add support for offline authoring of posts, editing/updating posts, and more tools for long-form posting or posting things such as audio and video from Indigenous. My goal is for Chronicler to be a super easy and focused app that allows you to write long-form writing, but also do things like post podcast episodes, short video snippets as well as view and edit previously published posts using some of the new Micropub queries that have been brainstormed recently. This app will be the second app worked on, once Remark is complete and won't have any Microsub involvement.

Anthologist

Anthologist will be the third app of the Abode Suite trio, being a reading app for long-form saved articles. This app will be based on Microsub and won't be optimized for short-form content (although there won't be a technical restriction against it). This app will likely allow you to choose from 1 (or more) channels within your Microsub account to store offline in the app for reading. This could be a channel of saved articles or it could be a channel with some long-form RSS subscriptions. Either way, the focus will be on showing a subset of your Microsub account rather than showing all of your channels. The goal is to hide away the short ephemeral content that might distract you and instead create an environment like Kindle or Apple Books that allows you to get lost in the content of what you are reading rather than getting distracted by social engagement. I have not decided if this will support Micropub at all. Instead, it will likely rely on the share sheet to share the url of the article to the Chronicler share sheet in order to do most writing / reacting. That said, as it progresses, I'm open to feedback and change. This will be the final of the three apps released, so this might be awhile before I get to it, but it's something I always wanted to build into Indigenous but it never felt like it fit.

Thank You

I appreciate everyone that has beta tested Indigenous and downloaded the public version of Indigenous in the iOS App Store. It's been exciting to release my first official iOS app to the public and I hope that this change in direction will only improve the quality of the apps I'm making available.

I'd love to hear feedback. I'm going to be recreating the issues in the Indigenous repo in the three new repos for the apps. If you have suggestions or feedback on any of the specific apps feel free to create issue in their respective GitHub repos: Remark, Chronicler, Anthologist. You can also just write a reply on your website and respond to this post!

64 ℉☁️Frederick, Marylandindigenousindigenous-logremarkchronicleranthologistindiewebtech
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