I signed up and paid to support the project, and even if you don't end up doing this full-time we're looking for a Markdown hacker @ Automattic.
That does not make it wrong.
The only thing I'd add is that I hope at some point down the line there's some level of customization (even the ability to add an external stylesheet.) For this kind of thing, I'm much more attracted to the backend than the frontend, and the ability to tinker with fonts and what not is important to me.
I am also not sure why anyone who is serious about his personal-branding as to pay $29 would want to stick to a common-theme, especially when there are so many free super-customizable alternatives. People who are serious enough to pay might as well consider paying someone else to design the personal-theme and have it setup with Markdown somewhere for free.
What's even more disheartening is to see someone who is such a skilled person to ram up the themes from Medium and setup a product with such ease, is the person who misunderstood the Medium and add more product-clutter into the market, indifferent to the work of the designers of Medium with a great and noble vision.
Edit: I said 'misunderstood' because of following
> Medium is great for readers but it is bad for writers.
I am sorry, but it's great for writers, you don't need to be among the elite to share an idea with world. And that's something very powerful.
> I think the 'brand' problem people have with Medium is less "my post looks like the same as all of these other posts!" and more "when people want to read more of my posts, they're more inclined to go to medium.com instead of my personal site!".
Medium is a very compelling product, but it isn't for everyone. I'm not sure what your argument is, other than "Medium is misunderstood, so people should not create similar offerings."
I think the OP understands Medium, and opted to create something that would suit his needs as well as possibly others'.
Here's what's left unticked on my checklist...
Image hosting. (Will you host my pictures or do I have to find external server space for them?)
Multiple writers on a single blog.
It supports image hosting. I didn't want to have to upload images to another server somewhere. It even supports multiple versions of your images (e.g. retina and regular).
It's fully responsive so it's good for mobile.
I have RSS on the roadmap, but it won't be there on day 1. Have too many things to do right now. It also won't have support for multiple writers on day 1.
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1) The sidebar's navigation feels bloated and useless at the same time. Needs to be tighter and more useful. Why not put the last five posts' title in there? Move the social icons in there as well, they are super distracting floating on the right side. Simplify the page presentation.
2) The footer of the site should link to the post I made before this one. Similar to how medium links to a random post.
3) The hover effect on the list of posts is brutal. Way too harsh. The list itself is also weird. Why do I care when it was last edited? Show the subtitle if there is one instead.
4) Medium putting the author bio at the top is really nice. Same with who helped you write it and last updated. I miss it in your design. Medium also has a much better homepage with a really nice bio bar.
I think a bug rain that things like Statemic and other databaseless systems are popular is because they kinda offer the best of both worlds: they have the online editor, and command line-less interface, the popular content management systems; and they have some of the simplicity of today's static site generators, namely the use of a simple markup language, and a last file system.
I see the appeal, and have visited considered building my own, but haven't because my existing Jekyll/custom python systems work fine for me right now.
Basically I'm asking what's so great about Silvrback over other free alternatives?
But since I do not yet have the habit of writing, any little thing that will take time from writing/publishing a blog post will interfere with a spur of inspiration.
This takes care of all my needs: no need to think about the design, no need to worry about deploying and maintaining, etc.
Seriously, $29/year is nothing if you're an active blogger. It's a small fraction of most professionals' hourly rate. If you're spending any significant time writing, I'd be much more concerned about many other factors than forking out $29/year. If anything, I'd worry if it's too low, ie will it be reliable enough?
Additionally, even if you know how to install blogging software (which most writers don't of course), you'll probably underestimate the effort and you'll need to keep it updated with security patches at the least.
But then I realized (a) I would not be charged until receiving an invite, and (b) if I've put money down for this, that alone puts some pressure on forcing myself to write.
So I've signed up.
I settled on using Pelican for generation and Github Pages for hosting. Pelican does exactly what I wanted, and there is a collection of free community created themes that look great. Github Pages is absolutely free hosting that even supports custom domains.
It might take a little more hacking than Silvrback, but I have been slowly working on a git repo that anyone could simply clone, populate with markdown files, and then push. I need to clean up the few scripts a little, but if you want you can find it here
That said, if you care about branding and outreach, Silvrback appears to offer value beyond what the free alternatives do.
Sure, talking about servers, backends and all the nitty gritty is great fun and what I'd expect from HN absolutely, but the goal of writing is to communicate an idea to others, and how well you're service solves that problem will greatly pique my interest. The tech behind it is fun and important, but less so to solving the core problem of writing/communicating.
For example, I'd love to hear this expanded upon:
"I built Silvrback because none of the existing blogging platforms satisfied me completely."
It seems to me if I switched to Silvrback I'd have to either use the admin interface to write (I assume it doesn't have Vim keybindings) or copy and paste from Vim.
To me it's actually easier to write a post in Vim and then 'make gh-pages' to push it to the internet. But I don't count that against this service at all.
The main reason I won't be using this service is that I pop out more open source projects than blog posts, and my site is more about project commentary than blogging, so the "post" format doesn't really work for me.
However I do prefer this style to Medium/ what ever that s one is.
I'm not quite the type of person who needs your site, but I'm close enough to recognize its value. Keep it up and pay no mind to the "Why not X instead?" people. This is unique and worthwhile.
I agree that there should be a customizable design, though. That's not a particularly difficult thing to implement.
My content is my life and I want it to be around in 40 years. Even if facebook bans my account for a TOS violation where they changed the terms out from under me. Even if google hands my account to law enforcement because another country's government doesn't agree with my free speech.
I need to own my content.
I've gotten burned by that before with Blogger and Posterous, and now use Octopress for this reason. Open to better alternatives, but need a clear and easy way to get my content back out if I ever decide to change services.
I've looked at a few static site generators, but there are some dynamic things I want to do, so, for now, my own, custom-built blogging engine (http://stavros.io for the curious) is what works best for me.
Have you given any thought to being able to import existing posts that are in markdown format? I'm currently using scriptogr.am and have a number of posts that ideally I'd like to import.
All you had to do is claim a username/url (by navigating to it), login with SkyDrive and start adding markdown files to the "StratosPress" (name of the service) directory in SkyDrive. No need to manually sync/push/publish. Just save and as soon as the file gets synced, your blog post is updated.
Unfortunately, nobody seems to use SkyDrive. And even if they did, who would give a random guy on the internet access to all of their SkyDrive files. I know I wouldn't. Too bad there's no way to restrict file access to third-party services.
Silvrback looks alright, but it still seems a bit too bloated to my taste. I'm not sure why exactly.
* November 2013 - Release of the hosted platform to Kickstarter backers
* January 2014 - Release of the hosted platform to the general public
 - http://pad.haroopress.com/
Also, performance is terrible unless you cache aggressively, which most people don't because it's a lot of work, even with W3. The nice thing about real hosted solutions is they can handle extra load if it happens.
I get why it's popular. The blogging interface is very good, but trying to setup/maintain a server makes me want to pull my hair out.
All are more expensive than 29/yr though.
will defintely check it out, but if i dont like it... you might have some competition