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Being an Inclusive Project (and how GitHub saved my day)

I have post­ed over 50 posts here about Niko­la and most of them con­tain some­thing like "Niko­la, my stat­ic blog/site gen­er­a­tor". Well, that's not the case any­more. From now on I will say "a stat­ic blog/site gen­er­a­tor". Why? Let's see.

For starter­s, it's no longer true that I wrote it. Al­though I am still push­ing more code that any­one, there are 54 oth­er con­trib­u­tors. That num­ber is as­ton­ish­ing. Why? Be­cause I es­ti­mate there are around 200 Niko­la user­s. That means the ra­tio of con­trib­u­tors to users is in­cred­i­bly high.

That is prob­a­bly ex­plained be­cause the way you build a site us­ing Niko­la is very pro­gram­mer ori­ent­ed. You could de­scribe a stat­ic site gen­er­a­tor as a sort of "site com­pil­er" and not be far off the mark. Many of the ben­e­fit­s, like you can host your page sources in github! are com­plete­ly mis­te­ri­ous to non-pro­gram­mer­s. So, I ex­pect­ed that num­ber to be high, but, hav­ing a 25% user=>de­vel­op­er con­ver­sion rate? That's bizarre.

So, I sus­pect I did some things well with this project 1, and want­ed to think them out loud, and try to fur­ther them.

One thing I think I did well was that it's an in­clu­sive projec­t. If you pro­pose some­thing you are get­ting heard and I am giv­ing the pro­pos­al a fair shake. I may re­ject it, but not out of hand, but in­stead af­ter some thought. And if I am un­sure, it's ac­cept­ed. I would rather get some­thing I am not fond of than drive out a con­trib­u­tor 2 be­cause I may change my mind, but a con­trib­u­tor that's gone is not com­ing back.

Same thing about grant­ing com­mit right­s: want them? You get them with the first suc­cess­ful PR by just ask­ing.

To­day there was an­oth­er step on this di­rec­tion: I am not the sole ad­min any­more. No longer is http­s://github.­com/ralsi­na/niko­la the canon­i­cal re­po, it's now http­s://github.­com/get­niko­la/niko­la. The web­site? Not http://niko­la.ralsi­na.me but http://get­niko­la.­com, paid for 5 years. Added two ad­mins to ev­ery­thing (the awe­some dami­anav­i­la and Kw­pol­s­ka). Gave up sole con­trol of a loooong list of things 3 and now I can get run over by a bus and things should not bi­trot.

It pro­tects those 54 oth­er con­trib­u­tors and few hun­dred users from my ev­er los­ing heart or in­ter­est, which is a re­al risk, and should be al­le­vi­at­ed.

I think the most im­por­tant bit about con­vert­ing users in­to con­trib­u­tors though, is that you just need to be friend­ly. And Niko­la is large­ly a friend­ly projec­t. And that's made it a lot of fun for the past year or so.

I once read that if you re­fused to use code writ­ten by ass­holes you could not boot any OS. Well, that may be true, but that does­n't mean be­ing an ass­hole is OK. This is a small project that does a small thing. But at least I feel con­fi­dent it's not writ­ten by ass­holes. And that's a vic­to­ry in it­self.

OTOH there are some ma­jor def­fi­cien­cies stil­l. Di­ver­si­ty is good in some ar­eas (geo­graph­i­cal­ly, for in­stance) but AFAIK the per­cent­age of wom­en con­tribut­ing to the code­base is 0% and I have no idea why, and I would love to im­prove that.

So, lots of work done, lots more to do. That's a good po­si­tion to be in, I think.


1

Al­ter­na­tive ex­pla­na­tion: I did some things so bad­ly I have driv­en out 99% of the us­er base.

2

With­in rea­son.

3

Github's check­lists on Is­sues are great

4

With­in rea­son.

5

Op­tion­al.

6

Not re­al­ly.

Clarín: Donde 2500 dólares es barato, pero $7000 es caro

Hoy Ap­ple sacó dos telé­fonos nuevos, el iPhone 5c y el 5s.

Re­sul­ta que es­tán a la ven­ta por U$S 99 con con­tra­to. En­tonces Clarín al toque saca la no­ta "¿Qué telé­fonos se con­siguen en Ar­genti­na por 99 dólares?"

Yo sé que pre­tender que un pe­ri­odista sepa de lo que es­cribe, sepa mul­ti­pli­car, sepa bus­car en Google y enci­ma lo de­jen pub­licar lo que averigua es jo­di­do, per­o...

  • Sale U$S 99 sub­­­sidi­a­­do

  • Lib­er­a­­do sale U$S 579

  • Para com­prar­­lo a U$S 99 tenés que sacar un con­­tra­­to de dos años de más o menos U$S 99 men­­su­ales

O sea que com­prar uno te sale 579 dólares, o (en com­bo con dos años de ser­vi­cio) 2500 dólares.

Has­ta ahí lo que no averiguó el pe­ri­odista (o si lo sabe no lo es­cribió, o si lo es­cribió no se lo pub­li­caron).

Veamos aho­ra el otro la­do de la no­ta. Men­ciona el Sam­sung Gal­axy S4. Es un telé­fono más que com­pa­ra­ble con el iPhone 5c, que es más o menos el iPhone 5 con car­caza de col­ores.

Veamos, cuán­to sale un S4 acá?

  • Sale $4499

  • Para com­prar­­lo a ese pre­­cio tenés que sacar un con­­tra­­to de $139 (en Mo­vis­­tar, por ejem­­plo)

  • Tam­bién lo podés sacar con un plan "con­trol" más bara­­to y te sale $5499

Según Clar­in, es­to quiere de­cir que sale 500 y 850 dólares (de pa­so, un S4 lib­er­a­do en US­A? 1000 dólares. Lib­er­a­do acá? 24 cuo­tas de $320 en Fráve­g­a, saquen sus propias cuen­tas).

En re­al­i­dad, lo cor­rec­to es que sale (en com­bo con 18 meses de ser­vi­cio) $7000. Si querés equiparar los tér­mi­nos de ser­vi­cio: $7836 con dos años de ser­vi­cio.

Sí, el ser­vi­cio en USA es mejor que acá. Pero no podés de­cir, así suel­to de cuer­po, que $7836 es más que U$S 2500. A menos que seas Clarín.

UP­DATE querés una bue­na relación pre­cio/pro­duc­to? Te podés com­prar un Huawei Y300. Es más lente­ja, es más gor­do, es de plás­ti­co, pero sale 100 dólares en se­ri­o, lib­er­ado, y es más o menos lo que era un telé­fono flag­ship de hace 18 meses, ponéle un Gal­axy S2, más o menos, que los que lo com­praron con sub­sidio to­davía lo es­tán pa­gan­do.

Nicoletta: Nikola's little sister

Last night I saw this post by James Hard­ing ex­plain­ing how to make a sim­ple stat­ic blog us­ing Flask.

It got me think­ing... how hard would it be, and how much code would it take, to write the same func­tion­al­i­ty with as few de­pen­den­cies as pos­si­ble?

So, in­stead of break­fast and lunch I got a cof­fee and a sand­wich, and you guys get Nico­let­ta a min­i­mal­is­tic stat­ic blog gen­er­a­tor.

The de­pen­den­cies are:

And how much code was it? I had guessed 25 lines, and was off by a lot, it's 40. I could cheat a lit­tle and bring it down to 25, but hey, what's the point?

The code is up at github and should be self ex­plana­to­ry. If it's not, just ask here in the com­ments.

Nikola 6.0.0 released

Fi­nal­ly! This took a while be­cause there was a lot of work done, but re­lease 6.0.0 of Niko­la my stat­ic site and blog gen­er­a­tor is out.

De­tail­s, files, etc at github

I have tried, for this re­lease, to do things bet­ter, be more care­ful and doc­u­ment as much as pos­si­ble, as well as tried to hit most things that were hard to fix in a sin­gle back­wards in­com­pat­i­ble break.

Some of the new fea­tures are de­scribed in a se­ries of blog post­s: 1 2 3 4 5

Al­so: brand new mod­ern themes site: http://themes.get­niko­la.­com and new do­main http://get­niko­la.­com among many oth­er tweak­s.

Have fun!

Magic Mystery Forum Revisited

A long time ago I wrote a hack­ish min­i­mal­is­tic fo­rum soft­ware, which used Dis­qus as a back­end. Just to see if it still worked af­ter 2.5 years, I took a look... and it sort of did.

So, since I know much more about web­sites now than I did back then, I cleaned it up a lit­tle and de­ployed it at http://­fo­rum.ralsi­na.me

Most­ly, what I have learned in those 2.5 years is that boot­strap and JQuery are cool, and here is the be­fore/after im­age so you can see why.

And yes, it's still 32 lines of code. I re­moved a com­ment be­cause Dis­qus works bet­ter now and the rest is all tem­plate changes, done us­ing http://­jet­strap.­com

/galleries/random/before-after.thumbnail.png

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