Shooting film. Decade-old CCD digicams. Super-8 movies. Static HTML.

Retro is cool. Perhaps because it's more constraining, it's more liberating.

I'm a static html kind of guy, but it's not because I'm cool, it's because I'm not that bright! I've been posting hand-rolled static html for probably close to 20 years now.

More accurately, Tinderbox has been wrapping html around whatever it is I do here for that long.

In the early days, Tinderbox seemed to be used a lot for blogging. There were folks creating Tinderbox files to use as templates for blogging. That's how the marmot got started, originally as Groundhog Day, using a simple template called Gray Flannel, which is why the marmot has the structure it has, where posts are archived by the month. I've been tweaking it, and it definitely looks different today, but most of the major pieces are the same.

I had to do a significant refactoring not long ago, because the file structure was becoming very unwieldy. I lost a bunch of images in the process because I wasn't careful. My fault, nothing to do with Tinderbox.

It's much better now, and if you're considering doing your own thing regardless of how, I'd say it's important to spend a good deal of time thinking about structure for the long term. Just in case this becomes a habit or something.

Tinderbox is a vastly different application today than it was twenty years ago. Far more powerful with a built-in programming language for text manipulation and a sophisticated export code for creating documents.

Some time back, it became scriptable with AppleScript. I use that to automate posting images from Photos. I promised I'd do a post about that at the forum. It can talk to the command line if you want it to. It can pull data from web services, as the Wx data in a titled post shows. It's amazingly versatile and I don't use a tenth of its features.

People lament that there isn't an iOS version. They can't work on their Tinderbox files on their iPads. That's true, but if you want Tinderbox to capture content you create on your iOS device, it can do that via a feature called "watched folders." It can watch Apple Notes, or any folder you want in iCloud. Create your text in Drafts or Ulysses and have Tinderbox import it automatically, then have Tinderbox put that text wherever you want it programmatically.

All the cool kids love markdown these days. Tinderbox speaks markdown now. I like RTF, it's fine with me. I'm old, but I'm not old enough to be cool yet. Maybe in another decade?

Jack Baty is a blogger who blogs with Tinderbox. Sometimes. Jack's flirtations with blogging and note-taking platforms and applications kind of reminds me of an old Saturday Night Live skit. ("Frequency of a cheap ham radio." 😜)

I enjoy reading Jack's posts about the virtues and frustrations of the different tools he uses. I envy the facility and mental agility he has to do useful things with vastly disparate programs, as well as his skill behind the camera and in the darkroom.

Tinderbox is sometimes viewed as intimidating to a newcomer; but there is an active, supportive community around the application, and help is readily available. There's a weekly (alternating Saturdays and Sundays) Zoom meet-up to discuss issues or demonstrate features. It definitely rewards persistence and consistent use.

Tinderbox is a very modern, quite sophisticated computer application. It's about as far from retro as you can get in computing. But you can do a lot with Tinderbox without necessarily knowing a lot as, hopefully, the marmot demonstrates.

Which is definitely cool.

Originally posted at Nice Marmot 07:08 Tuesday, 17 January 2023