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Show HN: gist.io, blogless writing for hackers (gist.io)
286 points by idan on July 18, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 51 comments

Author here.

Generally, if you have features you want, file 'em here: https://github.com/idan/gistio/issues

Stuff I'd like to do given the time:

* Add RestructuredText support

* Add a sign-in-with-github option, and turn this into a minimalist blogging platform. Comments (gist comments), index page (showing any gists of yours that have been gist.io'd), authoring (I like writing in IA writer, maybe an experience similar to that, but with auto-saving.)

* Maybe some kind of means for controlling cache (right now gists are cached for one minute).

I love the minimalism!

If you add sign-in-with-github support, be sure you start hosting the HTML and JS off a different domain.

This looks really great, but I have to take issue with your choice of typeface. While the description in the Google font database makes it out to be an award winning face for literature optimized for reading, its exaggerated serifs and uneven rhythm give it a kind of medieval / enlightened manuscript feel that just seems anachronistic and weird. For a general service that integrates with Github and shouldn't really be 'saying' anything with its design, I would recommend a more classic, rhythmic serif face along the lines of Minion, Caslon, Palatino, Baskerville, Hoefler Text, or even Georgia, which reads quite well at 14-16px.

Granted I'm a designer, I personally wouldn't use this service based on the typeface choice alone. It just clashes too much with the neutrality of everything else on my system and on websites I use commonly.

Sorry to hear that. I don't find the typeface to be as good as my current favorite workhorse serif (Elena, from process type, which I licensed for http://gazit.me )—but I don't find it to be objectionable or harmful to legibility either. Quite the opposite, I found it to be a serif with personality—less so than the commonly-used Skolar—and it reminded me of Elena (the shape of the adnate serifs, the slightly negative stress, the relatively-tall x-height, and the lowercase 'e' in particular).

I'll revisit type choices at some point, but right now the goal was to get something up, and as much as I love the faces you've specified, half I'm sick of and the other half aren't sufficiently ubiquitous.

I have to agree with msutherl (all subjective).

For me your font-size is a notch too large, which amplifies the weaknesses of the typeface. Personally I'd stick with Palatino[1] or Georgia for readability.

Mind you, this is perfectionist quibbles. Your font isn't bad. Just myself I'd probably hit the readability bookmarklet if I wanted to read a longer text on your site.

[1] http://ksjoberg.com/vim-esckeys.html

In my opinion, Elena is good choice. It's very good for reading, and that's the key. Yes, backend is mainly code-focused (github's gist), but people will most likely post not code, but regular articles. So there's hardly anything anachronistic about the typeface - github is just implementation detail.

As for Elena's character and style, it's there, but I always prefer some character over none - Freight Sans wins over Helvetica any time. Github uses Helvetica / Arial by default, so if someone wants default design, they can simply link to gist.

So once again - my arguments may not be the strongest, but I have a gut feeling that Elena is not wrong choice for such service, and if you like it, use it.

The one advantage something like Georgia has is that everyone has it local. Web fonts don't look great in all browsers and platforms - particularly on most Windows browsers, the anti-aliasing and hinting gets pretty heinous.

It's kind of like readability for gists.

If that is all it is, why can't the reader just use Readability (or Readable)?

Great stuff. I see a great use case for this: when people want to write a reply to a post they can just fork the original gist and write their reply above it, like this: http://gist.io/3140173

In this way you can regard the list of forks at the right of the gist page as the list of comments (screenshot: http://cl.ly/image/1803161N432H).

There seem to be comments on gists already -- I am trying to figure out how they are dealt with in github.

> "Sometimes, we just want to share a bit of writing that is neither. Maybe we want to write for a specific audience, but don’t want to address the people who usually read our blogs."

You had me here. But I want to know where the top, featured, and new sections are. Where can I be recommended gists that are similar to those of users I subscribe to? Or are you trying to make this into the sort of imgur.com of stories on HN kind of thing?

I'm really liking this use of gists as a backend to more specialized services (eg http://dabblet.com & http://codepen.io ). It's a nice, easy way to get a versioned document store without having to build out the infrastructure. Direct access to the "raw" form is a plus.

Add a noscript tag reminding visitors they need to have javascript enabled. Otherwise they just see a slowly pulsating "Loading..."

I love this idea. Not sure if this is a direction you'd be interested in, but it would be really cool if this could act as a widget that I could insert into an existing blog site with a single line of code and your service would populate the rest. This would let me use gists for all my blogging, and still have the rest of my site around the outside.

It would also let my own css style it.

This is a little bit off the subject, but it relates to the topic title at hand, so I thought I would ask it.

I noticed that the web address is gist.io. After searching 4 letter .io domain names, I realized most of them are taken. However, I did stumble upon one common word that has not been taken, and in fact, it matches the same word used in a little start-up project I've been working on (workout and fitness tracking).

Now the question is this: I'm a grad student with relatively little money, and $90 is a lot for a domain name. But if I actually finish my little project, is the value of a 4-letter domain name that is a common word worth the $90?

.io names seem to be getting very popular lately, so I need to make my decision quickly. Thanks for the help!

EDIT: And by the way, I also discovered that nap.io is available. I think HN would have better use for the domain than a name-squatter, so if someone wants to create a sleep app or something, there ya' go.

Creating apps based on the availability of domain names, interesting approach, hmm.

What would be a good service on nap.io? Nap Timer Nap Reminder Nap Prompter Napsack...

I see you purchased it :) There's a lot of things you could do with it. I think a sleep logger of some sort would be good. People are always worrying about how much sleep they get, and something to track and analyze one's sleep would be great. Just an idea.

Do you think it's a bad approach? It's a memorable word and there's a lot of competition in this area (workout trackers), so I think a notable domain could help.

Love this. I love writing markdown and I love the ease of creating gists. I've actually used gists for writing too. (http://gist.io/2483505)

I've noticed that some authors will create a public repo like "thoughts" and add markdown files to it (rather than writing gists).

Yes, the recent HN submission http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4240407 linked to an article https://github.com/harryf/thoughts/blob/master/mobile-killed... that was in a “thoughts” GitHub repository.

Yup. That's what I was referring to!

If you love markdown and ease, I created an online editor for markdown.

http://md.jesse-obrien.ca Source is on my github account.

You can save and edit(fork), and it gives you live (1-2s delay) formatting.

What is a gist, really? Is it a versioned, modifiable and referencable publication? Can I store it in my github repo? Should we be using gist as a model for info packet? is there an "API"? If someone could explain their understanding of a gist, I would appreciate it.

A gist is basically a mini-git repo. There is a revision history and they are attached to your github page. You can also folk or edit them and there is a permalink to each revision.

There is programmatic access to gists via the github API.

This might help clarify: An example of using gist.io: http://gist.io/3135754 The underlying gist: https://gist.github.com/3135754

I was thinking it would be nice if there was also https://gist.github.com/3135754.json

Then I checked. And there is.

Not to mention JSONP suppport.


Very interesting - I also noticed that gists have comments -- I'm not sure how those are handled. Doesn't this mean that gists are the ultimate blog? Can you even create them locally and push?

This is pretty cool. Mike Bostock, the creator of the d3.js visualization framework runs a service http://bl.ocks.org/ that lets you write HTML and JS code for visualizations and use the website to display them. It is pretty neat. An example can be found here: http://bl.ocks.org/1134768

I like this, but I find the default <code> style to be jarring when mixed with the normal text style. Possibly making it smaller would be sufficient.

It also doesn't handle ```lang ... ``` blocks properly: compare https://gist.github.com/3050085 with http://gist.io/3050085 .

This looks awesome. It would be cool if you could build a community around this. I wish I could not only post with this tool, but also read what others are writing. While someone may not want to keep a full blog, they may be willing to write a one-off post. This would be a great place to collect that kind of posts.

Had a very similar idea which would use a single gist as a repository for all posts and do it clientside. Never fleshed it out though.

My thinking was to have a different gist per month which could be added too..

Unfortunately, not too friendly for non-js browsers which is kind of the weak point.


Instapaper compatibility: Considering the fact that this is for reading writings rather than codes, I think it makes sense to make it compatible with Instapaper and other services similar to it.

Also the <title> element should be the description rather than gist.io#.

feature request: syntax highlighting in code snippets

I think maruku would be a better alternative than markdown. Currently you cannot make a table of contents inside your gist. But overall, I find this extremely handy. Thanks for contributing this to the open source community.

>"Maybe we want to write for a specific audience, but don’t want to address the people who usually read our blogs."

I use Jottit Dot Com for that purpose.

In the 5 or so years I have been using it, I've never encountered a bug or a service outage.

Related: is it possible to edit gists (anonymous or otherwise?) If not, that seems like a functionality that could be implemented here, with a bit of trickery.

You can edit your own gists; not sure about others.

Not yet, see my comment above (or below, whatever)

I was referring to capabilities of github.

You can edit your own, and fork the gists of others. They're full git repos.

I once made something similar, except that it's not dependent on GitHub. http://cpypst.me

Great job by the way.

Could you manage post backups using git in a local folder? I'm adding it to your issues :)

edit: finally I wouldn't like to break your minimalistic idea down

This isn't going to turn into something that interfaces with a repo. I wish ifttt had a github channel, that would be perfect for this sort of thing.

This is great. A lot of people already blog by ftp-ing text file or committing to git, this greatly simplifies the process. Thank you!

Cool! It would be nice if there is some information about the writer available. For instance, their name as registered on Github.

Please tell me that the end of your scale of permanence with regard to writing isn't blogs :)

imho - No comparison to feathers, that looks like has been of inspiration as well to gistio (even from our manifesto) :). Check it out and signup for the private beta!


awesome. mad props

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