The most minimal blog you can find

No HTML, no CSS, just text: Bradley Taunt explains the reasons behind his decision to morph his blog into what he defines as a Shinobi website, a “website” that only displays plain text files hosted online, meant to be read mainly through RSS readers:

I’m a hardcore minimalist at heart and have a tendency to make my own personal projects leaner all the time. […] There was a heavy internal debate about ditching HTML in favour of plain text. What kind of impact would this have on both my site and audience? Would people be pissed about yet another radical change?

After sleeping on it for a couple nights, I decide to say screw it. This is my personal website and it should ultimately reflect who I am and what I prefer. Dwelling too long on the opinion of others (as much as I respect any of you kind enough to follow along) can lead to decisions that negatively impact ones own well being.

So here we are. Blogging in plain text.

I love this: both a bold statement and a bold design. I fully understand the need of making things “leaner” to better focus on what matters — the words you write and eventually publish — without thinking about how it will look and having to copy/paste the content somewhere in a browser tab. Just pure words dispatched on the web, raw and naked: in many ways the essence of writing.1

Before discovering this Shinobi Project via a post by Barry Hess entitled Why I Went HTML Only, I was convinced that my website was rather minimal, but now… not so much. I would not go as far as Taunt though, because if I admire the decision and the courage, I don’t think text files are easy to read: both the Reader mode of Safari and NetNewsWire use a monospace font regardless of your settings for instance. Also, it is just not practical when it comes to links and navigation.

This is why I love Blot. I get to write these liberating text files with my favourite text editor,2 and once these files are synced with my Dropbox, they transform into lovely, functional, and fast webpages. Best of both worlds as far as I am concerned.

  1. Speaking of raw and naked, you can see the plain text file of each entry of this blog by adding ?source=true at the end of a URL.↩︎

  2. Currently using the lovely uFocus, which replaced Drafts as my favourite text editor.↩︎