Here’s something a little different, a testament to the flexibility of Discourse as a platform, and its ease of customization: I built a “digital garden” using Discourse. I’m in the process of writing a topic within it that explains just what the heck that even is but it’s complete enough to give you the idea:
Essentially a digital garden is an approach to publishing one’s notes, ideas, thoughts, and other writing in a work-in-progress context, with content that is ever-evolving, “growing”, and improving. Unlike a blog, the topics are not necessarily intended to be complete, or any kind of cohesive or comprehensive statement on a particular topic. The emphasis instead is on evolution and “cultivation” of the content over time, as new information becomes available, ideally in part from interactions with one’s readership. Although conceptually it tends to focus mainly on the writing of a single person, it also benefits from participation.
Here’s my write-up on what makes Discourse such a good platform for the purpose:
Those of you familiar with Discourse customization will not be surprised by anything I’ve done, and I think there is still plenty more I could do to improve the presentation and navigation of content. What is great is that the majority of this came together over a weekend, and there is a high degree of ease to adding new, well-formatted, and aesthetically pleasing content. Prior to this I used Wordpress as a blogging platform, and while it has some niceties to be sure (and I used plugins extensively to improve its functionality and performance), ultimately Discourse out-of-the-box, with minor tweaks, totally blows it away as a content publishing platform. It is lower friction, higher performance, and more easy to customize (to a point).
I’m not necessarily in the camp of people who might recommend Discourse as an actual blogging platform, but I think for digital gardening it works extremely well. I’m impressed!