Introducing SteemPress.io - mixing a traditional blog style with the steem blockchain

9 months ago
68 in steem

Every blog I start needs a few things: a custom domain, a theme and an engine to power it. Wordpress? Ghost? Why not steem? I decided create a proof-of-concept showing how it's possible to use the steem blockchain to create a personal blog.

Introducing SteemPress.io

http://steempress.io

http://i.imgur.com/niTXSFE.png?1

SteemPress.io is a website for viewing steem blockchain blog posts (not comments, yet) in a traditional blog format. It is the result of a mini-hackathon over the past 24 hours and is in no way complete. It's likely there's a few bugs.

If you'd like, you can continue reading this post on my blog over on SteemPress:

It's powered by the steem blockchain, templated and routed through PHP (I know, I know), and uses a custom theme I downloaded off github.

Can you see where this could go from here? Developers can use it for software documentation, companies could use it for their blogs, prominent bloggers could have their own websites - the possibilities are endless. All while integrating into the steem ecosystem and earning rewards.

Here's a few blogs that I caught up on by using SteemPress:

As a web developer, this kind of blockchain tech blows my mind, especially steem.

The "why" behind SteemPress.io

Yesterday I started thinking about ways to organize the tags on steemit in an effort to help people surface their blog content. If I start a blog, I want it to be easy to find. Tags are the area to address, right?

The problem was that I was a bit too laser focused, specifically on tags. Then I started thinking about what it's going to take for me to use the steemit platform for blogging. I want a few things:

  • A custom domain I can give to people (instead of steemit.com/@jesta).
  • A way to customize the experience for my readers.
  • SEO relevance for the subject matter I'm writing.

Why not just use the blockchain? Why not let everyone?

Poof, steempress.io.

Fun fact: BYOD (bring your own domain)

Did you notice above how I used http://jesta.steempress.io? You techie/web folk out there should realize the potential in this. Any username can be used as a subdomain in the URL. Which also means that you can use cname DNS records to point your own domain to the service...

blog.jesta.us

I created a cname record of blog on the jesta.us domain that points to jesta.steempress.io. Now my blog on jesta.us is powered by steempress.io, which in turn is powered by the steem blockchain! Steemception!

A warning for those interested in cname/subdomains (thanks @dasher!): Please be aware that if you use a CNAME record, the cookies you set on your domain will be passed to SteemPress.io while visiting. Please make sure you're not passing any sensitive information or session information in your cookies!

Where does this go from here?

Well, it depends on how many of you like this idea. Like I said, this is a project that's less than 24 hours old. It could go a million ways though:

  • Should it be an open source thing you can install on any server?
  • A commenting interface could be added
  • A voting interface could be added
  • The ability to create blogs based on multiple users
  • The ability to create blogs based on tags
  • Support for youtube videos (not working yet)
  • It could load more than 10 posts (infinite scrolling)
  • Custom Layouts/CSS/Themes so you could make it look however you want

I'm really excited by the potential of steem. I've been lurking in the crypto space since 2013 when the bitcoin rockets caught my eye. I haven't been this excited in a long time.

I hope this small project helps inspire you and helps everyone realize the potential here. This type of technology opens the doors to so many people who wouldn't otherwise bat an eye at cryptocurrencies.

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Sort Order:  trending
71
  ·  9 months ago

AMAZEBALL! You have my upvote on this!
Ok...here are my suggestions

  1. Duplicate content is a huge SEO issue, so how about making sure there is a canonical link to the original on steemit.com?
  2. Being able to add meta title, meta description to the page would be amazing for SEO optimization of the website

SteemPress could be big...REAL big.

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68
  ·  9 months ago
  1. Great point on the canonical link, I'll get that added in the next build. Since right now it's the most recent 10 posts all on one page (based on the username), I'll make the canonical link point to the user's blog page.
  2. Do you mean as you're creating the posts? Right now I don't even have a database on SteemPress, I'm 100% using the blockchain itself. So if we wanted to be able to add additional fields for that kind of data, we'd need to add it to Steem itself. But I think it's an excellent idea!
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48
  ·  9 months ago

Holy crap. Nice work! I just had visions of a whole blockchain CMS. One too many beers to think it through right now though.

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68
  ·  9 months ago

I've had some of the same thoughts :)

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48
  ·  9 months ago

I'm not a PHP fan like yourself though. I have used Ghost before. Then I played with numerous static site generators. Ended up really liking Grav (getgrav.org) even though it uses PHP on the server side. It's ultimately much more powerful than a static site generator but much less complex than a bloated WP install. I'd choose flat-files over a standard database any day. :)

It would be interesting to use the blockchain instead of flat-files for sure.

61
  ·  9 months ago

This is amazing. I have a question. I use IPFS and it doesn't seem to render those images. Am I doing something wrong?

http://steempress.io/@eeks

Thanks!

70
  ·  9 months ago

This is fantastic! I'm also a PHP dev (let's get #PHP going, yo!) and have played around with a couple simply scripts related to the Steem Interest rate. I'd love to know more about the technical side of what you're doing here. I've really wanted to dive into Steem and start building out tools for analyzing the data more (sort accounts by posting value, curation value, percentage per post, etc). I've tinkered a bit with Piston and have looked at the API a bit, but I'm not really sure where to get started. Are you just running your own steemd and then making calls to it directly via PHP? Would love to know more! Very cool. Following for sure.

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68
  ·  9 months ago

We should! I could write some fun articles ;)

Yeah, I'm running my own JSON-RPC steemd on a server, and I'm using fguillot/json-rpc's RPC client. I had to do some hacky stuff to actually get the content, and the code is a complete mess right now, but I definitely could share some examples.

Going this route I was pretty much able to do anything that the RPC client allowed.

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70
  ·  9 months ago

I was looking to do something very similar locally. If you want to contribute here, that would be fantastic: https://github.com/lukestokes/php-steem-tools And I totally understand as far as code quality goes. I'm just prototyping things at this point. I wrote a couple posts here and here on what I was playing around with. I haven't yet put anything on a server. I'm just tinkering with local cli scripts for now.

Thanks for the tip on fguillot/json-rpc! If you share some examples, leave a comment for me so I can come check it out. Hopefully the follow functionality will be implemented soon.

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68
  ·  9 months ago

Oh I am too, no worries about me judging your code lol. SteemPress's code is in no way "good" at the moment, it's got some massive functions in it that really need some love. But that's what prototyping is for!

And sure, I'd be more than happy to share some code snippets on how I used fguillot/json-rpc to access the API. Maybe that's an idea for a blog post in #PHP :)

67
  ·  9 months ago

I love this!!

65
  ·  9 months ago

Admit it... it's fun and exciting to draw content, from a decent blockchain like steem... :)

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68
  ·  9 months ago

It's not only fun, it's exciting!

When I develop the data I tend to work with is content. Not precise things (like currencies) that typically exist in blockchains. But these brilliant guys over here decided to put the content IN the blockchain! hah :)

51
  ·  9 months ago


Very nice idea!
I want to report a bug, that you might be already aware of.
On the left side of the posts the link STEEMIT.COM links to a 404 error.

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68
  ·  9 months ago

Fixed! Should take you directly to the post on steemit.com now. Thanks for pointing that out!

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51
  ·  9 months ago

Thank you for the nice service.

53
  ·  9 months ago
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68
  ·  9 months ago

Thank you, I feel honored to be on the list!

61
  ·  9 months ago

I proposed something similar in a past post. Love your approach!

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68
  ·  9 months ago

You inspired me to go look up some of your posts :)

I really like the idea of the specific channels you mentioned, being able to make combinations of criteria to create specific series of information. I'll see if I can get something like that working. Do you have a set of actual tags that you'd like me to test against? I was hoping you had a tcpip series of posts hah.

53
  ·  9 months ago

Cool idea.

Just tried it though and it seems some images are not rendering. For example (http://steempress.io/@substance), my steemimg.com hosted images are not working right now.

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68
  ·  9 months ago

Should be fixed. Looks like there's a few variations of how they store content that I didn't anticipate.

Thanks for the heads up!

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53
  ·  9 months ago

Indeed, it's working now. Thumbs up on the quick feedback!

71
  ·  9 months ago

Great work - congratulations for being first to get it out there with a catchy domain :)

52
  ·  9 months ago

Wow its really cool to see where this going. Steem is just pure genius you have my vote bro

63
  ·  9 months ago

Very cool! However, a couple things are broken:

  1. Lists
  2. apostrophes
  3. Links
  4. Youtube embedding
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68
  ·  9 months ago

Glad you enjoyed and thanks for the bug report!

Quick responses, to your bugs:

  1. I saw the lists in a few of your posts that didn't format properly. I'll dig into it. It's likely that the markdown parser I'm using isn't the same specification as the one used here on steemit. May have to ask around and see which implementation it is that they use.
  2. Huh.. strange. I see those on your post about from july 2nd. I think I have a fix, I'll try to get it in soon.
  3. & 4. These should be easy fixes.

I'll add these to my todo list and get them out in the next few days. Thanks again for pointing them out!

42
  ·  9 months ago

Very interesting article, nice to know this.

55
  ·  9 months ago

Once the base it's done, everything is possible, so you sir, deserve a jar of cookies and a medal.

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25
  ·  9 months ago

I'll enjoy my jar of cookies while I earn the next medal!

And whoops, didn't realize I swapped accounts here. Planning on using this one to programmatically publish patch notes as another experiment ;)

64
  ·  9 months ago

Great initiative, keep up the good work!

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68
  ·  9 months ago

Thanks and will do!

64
  ·  9 months ago

so cool!

46
  ·  9 months ago

Steemit has so many potential applications, thank you for sharing!

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68
  ·  9 months ago

It really does. Now that I know how to parse content from the blockchain, it opens some crazy doors. I've had a few ideas already since I wrote this post and stopped working.

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49
  ·  9 months ago

great idea!
but you can always improve and you will succeed.
Good luck!

(excess symbol and does not display video YouTube)

62
  ·  9 months ago

Very nice! These are the kind of projects I can't wait to see spring up around Steem. Great job.

40
  ·  9 months ago

Could see this becoming a powerful tool to help promote bloggers even more in this space. Very slick.

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68
  ·  9 months ago

I really think so too.

I've spent a lot of time recently reading blog posts, code tutorials and other "social media" type materials. Almost all of these have helped me tremendously learn some new technologies for a job I'm doing. I wish I could have up voted them, as I could with steem, and actually shown them my appreciation.

With something like steempress, we can. We just need to show them it can be done, and easily!

59
  ·  9 months ago

If you keep improving it, I will support it.

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68
  ·  9 months ago

With the excitement I have towards the project, I'm pretty sure that'll happen. Thank you.

I think my plan is to finally do an intro post today and hopefully that'll provide some insight into how I handle these types of projects!

64
  ·  9 months ago

Hey this is a great start. I had to come check it out. I see that you are starting to realize some of same things about empowering the standard user to use Steemit. Thanks for your reply on my thread. https://steemit.com/steemit/@iamwne/steem-killer-app and have a look at https://steemit.com/steemit/@iamwne/steem-set-it-free-phone-app

Power To The Steemple .. lol

You asked if I had a specific idea, I do.

I think I have ideas that address probably primary and secondary summery info. .i.e abstract level of sumarization and then contextual level of query and both qualitative and quantitative information in a organized tabular possibly coupled with the ability to transact with that information.

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68
  ·  9 months ago

More and more people will slowly realize how powerful this platform really can be, especially for the users.

I'm incredibly excited for where this is all going!

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64
  ·  9 months ago

@jesta Wanted you to see this. I can see a bunch of possibilities...
You asked if I had a specific idea, I do.

I think I have ideas that address probably primary and secondary summery info. .i.e abstract level of sumarization and then contextual level of query and both qualitative and quantitative information in a organized tabular possibly coupled with the ability to transact with that information.

61
  ·  9 months ago

Is it possible to vote on steempress or do you have to go back to steemit to do that?

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68
  ·  9 months ago

Right now you have to do that on steemit. I don't have any code in place to know who you are. When I add that, I want to make sure it's done right, since it involved your posting access key.

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60
  ·  9 months ago

You could use steemjs-lib to add a simple login and vote functionality.

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68
  ·  9 months ago

Oh wow. I had glanced over steemjs-lib a few days ago but didn't realize it could actually use JS to authenticate a user (and securely). I'll definitely see what I can do with it. That opens up a whole realm of possibilities!

56
  ·  9 months ago

great work!

65
  ·  9 months ago

Great service!
Yes, I think it's should be open sourced and become a great example how to interact with Steem blockchain.

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68
  ·  9 months ago

I think that's the plan! Right now it's using some obscure frameworks that don't work on most PHP servers, so I'll have to replace those parts with more open source parts before it happens though.

Expect the code to be released after I get all that squared away. I think it would be a great learning tool.

57
  ·  9 months ago

Good service, but it does not correctly display the Russian text. Can you fix it?

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68
  ·  9 months ago

I'm sure I can, and I'll see what I can do for the next version I release.

54
  ·  9 months ago

That's great. I just noticed that your page doesn't supprt special characters like "ü" or "ä"

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68
  ·  9 months ago

I'll dig into it and see if I can't get that fixed. Probably something to do with the encoding I'm using on the pages and hopefully it'll be a pretty easy fix.

If you have an example of someone's profile where this is happening, example links are always welcome :)

57
  ·  9 months ago

This is inspired; really really nice work!

2
  ·  9 months ago

I ask please that you see my post https://steemit.com/crowdfunding/@webocel/58kd3g-my-dream-needs-your-vote-crowdfunding, with your vote I can put my business and thus have a job and be able to feed my children. With just a few clicks you can change my life. Thanks in advance. Nicolas

38
  ·  9 months ago

Nice Work! thx a lot

50
  ·  9 months ago

This thing is amazing!!! I think you receive too little for this site what you did! Develop please!

53
  ·  9 months ago

Brilliant! Especially the BYOD feature. Question - are the posts updated instantly or is there a delay?

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68
  ·  9 months ago

Thanks!

Answer - It's as fast as the blockchain updates. The website doesn't autorefresh, so you'd manually have to reload the page if you wanted to see new content.

I choose to go that route since it was simpler, and as you're reading full length posts, typically you don't want the page moving around :)

43
  ·  9 months ago

@jesta This is awesome work! Are you planning on releasing the code as open source on github or something?

38
  ·  9 months ago

This is what i wanted. Thank you.

44
  ·  9 months ago

You are an asset to the steem community. Thank you!

My most recent posts titled The Emotional Roller Coaster of Investing and The Power Of Minnows.
Vote with your steem dollars.

62
  ·  9 months ago

Nice! I am following your work, @jesta and wish I had seen this post earlier!

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68
  ·  9 months ago

Thanks! I'll probably have an update + open sourcing steempress.io here in the near future. I'm also going to use it as an example blog for how to use steempress, and probably write a tutorial to go along with it.

50
  ·  9 months ago

Love that your into hackathons or starting off your mini-hackathons....We like participating in them, too. will show you what we were up to ...after it's done within the day. :)

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68
  ·  9 months ago

Can't wait to see it! You've got me intrigued now, if you're in steemit.chat hit me up, I'd love to know what you've got cooking!

43
  ·  9 months ago

Hey @jesta, I love the idea! I was also instantly a fan of Steemstats, thanks for the contribution to the community =)

I am seriously considering giving the design for Steempress a go!