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Show HN: Notepin – Extremely simple blogging platform (notepin.co)
144 points by okozzie 19 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 77 comments

Would be nice to see an example of an actual blog using the platform, on that page, without having to sign up first.

I agree. That was my first reaction and I suspect most visitors will be in the same boat. I like the simple design of the landing page and in the context of a hackernews visitor, I might click through to see more of the project. I almost certainly wouldn't signup in the context of being a potential customer.

Agreed, thanks for the input!

I see a huge empty area at the top (on all pages, tested on Firefox and Chrome on Linux, e.g. on https://osman.notepin.co and https://notepin.co/blog )

    position: absolute;
    top: 42%;
    left: 50%;
    transform: translateX(-68%);
    padding-bottom: 40px;
This is all kinds of wrong.

What is wrong with using this CSS format? The whitespace is deliberate and matches the theme

It rattles the content back and forth and when it's done calculating, the content is likely off-screen in lower resolutions.

Wow. It looks like Urbit.

Also mention more about the themes and the level of customization I can do on my blog. That would be super helpful. Keep up the good work, you awesome creator.

Thank you so much!

Hey Okozzie, have a look at the site full screen at 1440p.

Looks nice so far. I'm a fan of these new minimal blogging alternatives to Medium.

Also, check out WriteFreely for an open-sourced blogging platform that is federated with ActivityPub, that you can also deploy yourself. Write.as is the main instance.



I think I'd probably stick with writefreely just because it's open source; as far as I can see from the page, Notepin isn't.

Sad thing about writefreely is the mysql requirement. I am big fan of flat markdown files for content. And if not that then sqlite is perfect.

Just to mention, MySQL isn't actually required for WriteFreely -- as of v0.6, you can use SQLite instead.


Looks nice.

But my advice is: don't getting in to the business of hosting other people's stuff. It's just not worth it these days, unless they're paying. But even then, it has potential to be a huge can of legal worms these days. So much so that it'll suck the life out of you and the project, along with whatever you make on 'upgrades'.

IMHO: Self-hosting (and installing your software) should be the way (back) to go.

Very nice UI though. :)

Self-hosting doesn't sell. You and I can probably self-host but majority of the bloggers can't.

The fact that Medium exists (and Blogger, Tumblr, etc.) is a testament to the fact that most (99% of the users) don't want to or know how to self-host a blog.

They just need a place to write.

Oh, I completely agree that market exists. Along with all the business models and data collection value that goes along with them, in order to make them sustainable.

But look where that's got us ;)

The tools/software just need to be very simple and easy (/foolproof, if such an app exists).

Also: 'webrings' need to be a thing again ;)

The dream is still alive, friend:


With an "s" or without


Without. `webrings.org` doesn't even resolve for me.

But who will use a self-hosted blogging system given the problem you've mentioned (and the threat of blackhat hackers attacks)?

The are millions of Wordpress blogs/sites out there doing fine?

What I also mean is that any complaints go to the host/owner of the self-hosted system.

Not to the people writing and supporting the software they run.

The are millions of Wordpress blogs/sites out there doing fine?

Many, if not most, are not actually self-hosted.

Simply not true. The plethora low-cost one-click-install WordPress hosting providers out there are testament to this.

Over the weekend I was asked to set up a remote-hosted WordPress site for a friend, and all the major web-hosters out there claim to hosting 100s of thousands of WordPress blogs.

(I ended up choosing 1&1.co.uk as they are UK based and seemed to offer good options for a good price... however the setup was not as easy as it could have been.)

I guess we have different opinions on what "self-hosted" means.

Naturally, many of us here in HN might be able to rent and administer our 'own' dedicated servers and run whatever we want on them. And some just can't (or choose not to).

But to the main point: "self-hosted" means that you are responsible for the content - and any legal or social implications therein. Not the "social media blogging platform du jour". It's your blog. You are the 'editor'/'publisher'.

The host itself has certain protections against whatever you might want to host. But it's your responsibility to act upon complaints.

And in today's increasingly litigious society, that's going to be massive drain. Emotionally, as well as financially. And that will always destroy any productivity the product itself should be getting.

I just think that "building (and selling!) tools" for users, to do what they want with, in 'space' they 'can call their own' is a better proposition than "building networks and apps to make it easy to pour everyone's content into silos. And transfer some degree of copyright in order to do so. And have to answer to all the complaints of abuse etc. etc. "


btw: I'm referring more to the issues of "oh my [insert deity]! Someone who has a blog on a system you run has offended|stolen from|attacked|etc. me.." kind of complaints.

'Free' users are the worst users in that respect. Because they have none.

> 'Free' users are the worst users in that respect.

In my experience, free users are the worst. Full stop.

I just moved to write.as from Medium and it's great. Primarily because it's $1 a month hosted, I can use my own domain and there is literally zero clutter in either the drafting page or the display page.

No customization aside from fonts and some light markup makes it really clean.

Example: https://write.as/andrewkemendo/relative-complexity-and-impor...

why to pay for a platform if everyone could use github static pages and just publish by git commit?

1. That is more complex than I want it to be for blogging

2. I'd rather support independent creators than MSFT

3. It's faster cheaper than if I hosted it myself

4. Github isn't designed for reading


because on github everyone sees when I make stupid commits to fix my stupid typos

pro tip: squash (rebase) your commits then force push to remove "fix typo" history

An even "proer" tip: rebase your commits into something coherent BEFORE pushing, and you can drop the "force".

pro tip: be careful in using force push. In the past there's a version of git where it defaults to force all your local branches into the remote copy. When I did use force push, it pushed everything including my outdated local copy of PROD. Fortunately we were able to fix this before somebody else ran a git pull.

the new versions I believe are configured safer now afaik.

aren't private repos free now?

For some reason Pages must still be backed by a public repo for free accounts.

On Gitlab you can host pages backed by their free private repos, and also if required you can use their free integrated CI to run any static site generator build step you might have.

It's a really good plaform for hosting a blog for free with the 'publish on git push' workflow mentioned above.

* There is a free-tier of Write.as that is perfectly functional

* Support open-source developers

* It is simply more convenient than creating MD files, editing, and then committing them

I set up a Jekyll blog using Gitlab + Netlify CMS, and while that's OK, it still isn't as simple as I wish it were.

Thanks for the recommendation. Btw, I enjoyed your brief intro into building complex systems. I'd love to read more. I'll check out your blog.

This is really optimized for Mobile.

Tried on my 25inch screen , I thought the call to action was broken it just that the slider was already open it seems like.

Love the idea and the concept, a bit more detail in UI would be nice. Just having an app that render fast unlike Medium is already a huge plus in my opinion.

Seems nice, but I still really miss the simplicity of 'post to your blog via an email' that Posterous used to do before they shut it down.

That methodology suited me best, because it allowed me to post to my (then) blog regularly just be sending an email to a certain address (and from a certain address). I could be in the field on my iPhone or something and take a couple of pictures and write up a quick post and send it to go live in seconds.

I wish more things used email. It's really handy to be able to compose something in email and send it without having to think about whether or not I am online.

The "Get Started" button doesn't appear to do anything.

Maybe their intent was to show the sidebar on the right when it's clicked.

It's bad design. Most people will miss that little flash and assume the site is broken. I did.

Ah I see, it highlights a field in that sidebar. I didn't see it the first few times. That wasn't all that obvious.

Does it let you create microbolog-like posts without titles? Does it support tags? Does it support MarkDown? Does it support ATOM/RSS? Does it let people comment and discuss the posts easily? Does it let you embed media (pictures, YouTube videos, SoudCloud tracks, formulae and diagrams etc)? Can I take a look at an example blog on this platform?

> Does it let you create microbolog-like posts without titles?


> Does it support tags?


> Does it support MarkDown?


> Does it support ATOM/RSS?


> Does it let people comment and discuss the posts easily?


> Does it let you embed media (pictures, YouTube videos, SoudCloud tracks, formulae and diagrams etc)?


> Can I take a look at an example blog on this platform?

yes - stand by

Pretty impressed with the first part (I didn't yet know a reasonably functional blogging CMS that doesn't require posts to have titles) but lack of media embedding feature effectively disqualifies the rest for me. Lack of way to embed pictures seems next to ridiculous nowadays, lack of way to embed YouTube videos feels a huge inconvenience (this is exactly what makes me unhappy with GitHub Pages), native support for SoudCloud tracks, formulae and diagrams is what I would love to have but can substitute with a workaround (by hosting audio tracks on YouTube and rendering formulae/diagrams to pictures).

FWIW, Wordpress is happy to let you post something with a blank title field. I'm looking at my self-hosted WP installation and I've got a couple dozen that float to the top when I sort by title.

IMHO Wordpress is _unreasonably_ functional. It seems a Lovecraftian monster of complexity to me.

Yeah, it’s got a lot of features, even without opening up the Pandora’s vault of plugins. Anything that’s getting close to old enough to vote is scary inside.

here you go


password is poop

Sounds potentially NSFW. Is it?

It's SFW

with no judgements on this iteration, I wish I had a $1 for every "simple blogging platform" ever developed. I would be ghetto rich, at least.

What if someone runs a script that registers all the names with random passwords? Don’t you need an email validation or something to prevent that?

HN doesn't require e-mail verification and seems fine.

One second - going to try something out.


The design of the front page makes it look like an image failed to load.

How does private posts work ? Are they password protected ? Do I need to generate a user/pw for each person I want to show it to ?

Hi, a private post means that it will not appear on your public blog and can only be viewed from your management panel. You can still share a private post and generate a unique link for it to be shown to others.

Its not logical, when making a new post, to get all the content of all the previous posts as starting point.

On mobile the learn more menu seems to be cut off at the bottom. On iphone at least.

Super interested. Will it be similar to Medium?

If by "similar to Medium" you mean "shows your users annoying popups if they're not logged in and doesn't actually do RSS so you can't get all your feeds in one place", then I certainly hope not :)

You can actually get the RSS feed for a publication when you add /feed/ in front of the publication's name, for example https://medium.com/feed/the-new-york-times

It's not advertised the correct way, so feed readers can't find it, which makes it effectively a non-starter for most people I'd think. They're doing the Google thing where they implement the spec just enough to claim they implement it, but not enough for anyone to use it so that they can claim it wasn't their fault and no one used it.

That's still good to know for the future though, thanks.

nice one!

I'm thinking about creating something like that but open source. Would be interesting.

Look into Writefreely (or write.as for a hosted instance). You might end up liking it or wanting to contribute: https://github.com/writeas/writefreely

This definitely looks interesting. I like their viewpoint on privacy (and the fact that it's written in Golang)

Pedantic aside: The language is called "Go", please don't propagate "golang" :)

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