envs.net - feels engine https://envs.net/ttbp
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README.md

a command-line based blogging platform running on envs.net

ttbp stands for “tilde.town blogging platform”, the original working name for this project.

ttbp main menu screenshot

ttbp entries view screenshot

ttbp compose view screenshot

ttbp runs from the command line, providing a hub for writing personal blog posts and reading posts written by other users of envs.net. it’s a little bit like livejournal or dreamwidth or tumblr. you can opt to publish your posts to a public html file hosted on your tilde page, to envs.net’s gopher server, or keep all your entries private to the envs.net server.

to use, run feels while logged in to envs.net

this is a project that runs on envs.net, so all users of this program are expected to operate under the envs.net code of conduct. content/personal issues should be worked out according to the CoC, with support from the sudoers@envs.net Team if needed.

QUICK START

no coding or html experience is necessary to get started. just log in to your envs.net account and enter:

feels

ttbp will ask you a few questions to get you started. after that, writing and reading entries all happen within the program.

that’s it!

support

if you’re having trouble getting started, or run into program errors or strange behavior, please send internal envs.net mail to sudoers@envs.net and i’ll try to sort things out!

there’s also a function from the main menu that lets you send feedback/inquiries to me directly; this uses internal envs.net mail, which is what i’ll respond to.

writing entries

entries are recorded as plaintext files in your ~/.ttbp/entries directory. ttbp will use your selected editor to open and write files; each day is its own entry, like a diary page. at midnight for whatever timezone you’ve set for your user account on envs.net, you’ll get a fresh entry. if you don’t write any feels on a particular day, no entries will show up there.

when you save and quit the text editor, your entry will automatically propagate to the global feels list; if you’ve opted to publish your feels to html/gopher, those files will update immediately. you can always go back to the current day’s entry and edit/add as you’d like, but older entries will not be available for editing from ttbp.

(since files are just stored as plaintext in your directory, it’s possible to edit and move old entries directly from the command line. however, changing old entries might cause strange things to happen with timestamps. the main program looks at the filename first for setting the date, then the last modified time to sort recent posts. it expects YYYMMDD.txt as the filename; anything else won’t show up as a valid entry. yes, this means you can post things out of date order by creating files with any date you want.)

general entry-writing notes

  • you can use markdown
  • you can use html
  • you can also put things between <!-- comments --> to have them show up in the feed but not render in a browser (but people can still read them with view-source)

reading other feels

the browse global feels feature shows the ten most recent entries that anyone has written on ttbp. this list is only accessible from within envs.net, although individual entries may be posted to html or gopher.

you can also pull up a list of a single user’s feels through check out your neighbors, which displays all users who are writing on ttbp based on their most recently updated entry, and a link to their public html blog if they’ve opted to publish their posts.

please note! entries written on ttbp should be considered sensitive, private information, even if a particular user is publishing entries in a world-viewable way! please be respectful about having access to other people’s feels, and do not copy/repeat any information without getting their explicit permission. envs.net operates on a high level of mutual trust, and ttbp is designed to give individuals control over their content.

subscribing to users

the visit your subscriptions feature lets you view recent entries from a list of users you’ve subscribed to, as well as manage your subscription list. your list is saved to ~/.ttbp/config/subs, which gets automatically updated when you add or remove subscriptions from ttbp.

your subscription list is private; this means no one other than you can see who you’re following. subscription view only shows the 50 most recent entries from your subscribe list; if you want to see more entries from an individual, you can navigate to their entries in `check out your neighbors from the main menu.

privacy

when you start your ttbp, you have the option of publishing or not publishing your blog.

if you opt to not publish, your entires will never be accessible from outside of the envs.net network; other envs.net users will still be able to read your entries through the ttbp interface, or by directly accessing your ~/.ttbp/entries directory.

if you want to further protect your entries, you can chmod 700 your entries directory.

if you opt to publish, the program creates a directory ~/.ttbp/www where it stores all html files it generates, and symlinks this from your ~/public_html with your chosen blog directory. your blog will also be listed on the main ttbp page.

you can also opt to publish to gopher, and the program will automatically generate a gophermap of your feels.

you can set publishing status on individual entries, or bury individual feels; see “data management” below for details.

data management

the manage your feels menu provides several tools for organizing your feels. these are all actions you can perform manually from the command line, but doing them from within the program can help keep your files properly linked up.

  • read over feels--a list of all your entries, which you can open and read like any other feel
  • modify feels publishing--this lets you toggle privacy on individual posts. entries marked (nopub) will not get written to html or gopher, and toggling them from this menu will immediately publish or unpublish that entry (if you’re not publishing your posts at all, these settings won’t matter, since your feels will never show up outside of envs.net)
  • backup your feels--makes a .tar.gz of all your entries, saving one copy to ~/.ttbp/backups/ with the current date, and a second copy to your home directory for safekeeping.
  • import a feels backup--unpacks a backup file into your current feels list. this tool checks the ~/.ttbp/backups directory for archives, and expects a file created by the above backup utility. if it detects any file collisions, it will preserve your current live copy and leave the backup verison in a temp directory, and notify you that this happened. also, any entries that were previously marked as (nopub) will retain their nopub status.
  • bury some feels--hides individual feels from viewing; entries are moved to ~/.ttbp/buried (and marked with a unique timestamp to prevent file collision) with permissions set to 600, meaning no one except you will be able to open that file. these entries are also hidden from your own view from read over feels, and you’ll have to open the files from the command line if you want to see them. this is intended to be a permament action, so you’ll be asked to type the entry date once to load the feel, then shown a preview of that feel, and then type the date again to confirm burying.
  • delete feels by day--permanently removes individual entries, including deleting published html/gopher files if needed. this action is not recoverable, unless you have a backup to restore; you’ll be asked to type the entry date once to load the feel, then shown a preview of that feel, and then type the date again to confirm deletion.
  • purge all feels--permanently removes all feels, including deleting all published html/gopher files if needed. this action is not recoverable, unless you have a backup to restore. you’ll be asked to type a one-time-use purge code to confirm this action.
  • wipe feels account--permanently removes all data associated with feels, including deleting any published hmtl/gopher files and removing your ~/.ttbp directory. any backups that you have in ~/.ttbp/backups will also be deleted with this action (which is why the backup function makes a second copy for safekeeping in your home directory). you will no longer show up in any lists as a user.

settings

the settings menu lets you change specific options for handling your feels and using the interface.

  • editor--set your text editor
  • gopher--opt in or out of automatically posting to gopher
  • post as nopub--set whether posts default to being published or not published (if you’re not publishing your feels, this doesn’t matter)
  • publish dir--set the directory under you public_html where feels will be published (if you’re not publishing your feels, this defaults to None)
  • publishing--opt in or out of automatically publishing entries to a world-readable html page
  • rainbows--opt in or out of having multicolored menu text

changing your page layout

you can modify how your blog looks by editing the stylesheet or header and footer files. the program sets you up with basic default. if you break your page somehow, you can force the program to regenerate your configuration by deleting your ~/.ttbp directory entirely. you might want to back up your ~/.ttbp/entries directory before you do this.

  • to modify your stylesheet, edit your ~/.ttbp/config/style.css
  • to modify the page header, edit your ~/.ttbp/config/header.txt
    • there’s a place marked off in the default header where you can safely put custom HTML elements!
  • to modify the page footer, edit your ~/.ttbp/config/footer.txt

general tips/troubleshooting

  • if the date looks like it’s ahead or behind, it’s because you haven’t set your local timezone yet. here are some timezone setting instructions
  • the feels burying tool will effectively clear your post for the day; you can use this feature to start a fresh entry on a particular day by burying the current day’s feels and then editing a new file

future features

these are a few ideas being kicked around, or under active development:

  • stylesheet/theme selector
  • better entry display within ttbp (currently just offloads to less)
  • buried feels browser

other ideas are listed on github as upcoming features or feature requests!

dependencies

(this section is only relevant if you plan on forking the repo and running an instance of this yourself)

contributing

please check out my contributor guidelines on github if you’d like to get involved with development!

if you find any bugs or strange behavior, please message me locally on tildemail or open a github issue and i’ll get back to you as soon as i can.

if you’re interested in helping with the code, please drop me some tildemail!

i accept tips for development work on liberapay

contributor shout-outs

thanks to:

  • ~vilmibm, packaging help and gopher support
  • ~sanqui, the bug swatter
  • ~sinacutie, for css updates