Tag Archive for ‘Projects’

Relaunching #OpenWeb

When I first launched #OpenWeb a few years ago, it was a bit of an experiment. The idea was to aggregate headlines from independent publishers within the Apple enthusiast community. The method I used for publishing the headlines was pretty fragile, though, and eventually it just became too difficult to maintain.

It’s been in the back of my mind to refactor the project into something that was easier to manage and might be a bit more useful to, not just the Apple enthusiast community, but the open web in general. A couple of weeks ago, I started laying the groundwork and today I’m ready to share it.

Rather than aggregating headlines, #OpenWeb will simply showcase independent publishers within the more general tech and web enthusiast space. It’ll probably have still have a bend toward publishers that write about Apple products, but that will likely change as time goes on.

With the shift to being more of a showcase for writers, syndication might be a bit more useful, too. Instead of the RSS feed including headlines from all of the sites, it will only be updated when sites are added. My plan is to add one new source each weekday, but I imagine the pace will slow as I run out of the backlog of sites to add.

If you’d like to follow along with the newly added sites, you can do so with the its RSS feed, on Mastodon, or on Twitter. I might add an email newsletter option at some point, but there aren’t any immediate plans to. That’s not a method that I tend to use on other sites, so it’s not something I’m super motivated to add. However, if that’s something you’d like to see, please let me know and, depending on interest, it might get a higher priority.

Also, if you publish a weblog or know of one that you’d like to recommend, you can suggest a site to be included.

The Best ➝

I setup a new tag here on Initial Charge — “best” — and added it to a handful of the best and most popular entries on the site. My plan is to revisit the tag a few times each year to cycle entries in and out as new articles are published and traffic fluctuates. You can think of it as a living greatest hits, of sorts.

➝ Source: initialcharge.net


I spent a few days over the past week working on a little project that’s been bouncing around in my head lately. I’ve wanted something like this to exist for years and with the skills I’ve obtained from Treehouse over the past several months, I thought it was finally time to build it myself. Today, I’d like to announce #OpenWeb.


The site aggregates headlines from independent publishers that focus on Apple products and software. It also serves as a directory of single-person weblogs within our community. Over the past few years, social networks have become less and less exciting to use and there have been some subtle indications that the open web is poised for a comeback. With Micro.blog, JSON Feed, the meteoric rise in podcasting, and the frustration that many of us have had with Twitter and Facebook — I think weblogs could be the next big thing.

Writing on the web has always been a passion of mine. From the moment I hit publish on my first Blogger site in my junior year of high school, I knew this was something I was going to do for the rest of my life. There’s nothing else in the world that helps me digest and formulate my ideas like writing. And the ability to receive instantaneous feedback from readers is just incredible. I think everyone should have a weblog.

But discovery is still a major problem. Why would you put the effort into buying a domain, setting up a site, and writing if no one is going to read it? And if you do manage to jump through all the hoops to start publishing, how do you find others in the community that have done so as well?

#OpenWeb let’s you find out what everyone’s talking about without having to wade through dozens of knee-jerk political reactions on Twitter or inspirational memes on Facebook. Those things have their place, but I think we need somewhere to go for more thoughtful commentary.

But this site isn’t just a collection of headlines. #OpenWeb’s sources page lists every weblog that feeds the site, alongside the author’s name, and prominently displays a link to an OPML file, which includes all of the RSS feeds. I want to showcase the writers that make #OpenWeb possible and encourage visitors to read these sites in whatever RSS reader they prefer.

And #OpenWeb isn’t finished yet. In the short term, I’ll be focusing on adding new sites to the sources list — if you know of one that might be a good fit, I’d love to hear your suggestions. But in the long term, I plan to modify the design to look better on larger screens and investigate new methods of aggregating the headlines. At the moment, I’m using IFTTT triggers for each site, which isn’t exactly ideal.

I’d also like some feedback about the design and what I could add to the site going forward — aside from the aforementioned addition of new weblogs, of course. This is only the second web design project that I’ve done entirely on my own — the current Initial Charge design being the first — and I’d love to hear what others have to say about it. Good, bad, or otherwise, just at me on Twitter.