You may have noticed my previous two posts had links to a new website: secularsolstice.github.io. This website is my attempt to gather all solstice-related content in a single place. Up until now, it’s been scattered across a variety of blogs and Google docs in a rather disorganized fashion.
This website is a work in progress, but it has reached the Useful stage. Its goals are:
Easy to Browse
All Sorts of Content
There are lyrics, chord charts, sheet music, audio recordings, discussions of how a song can be used…
A lot of other options would have difficulty with some of these things. This website should be able to host it all, in a comfortable way.
Granted, I’ve left videos on youtube and provided links. I’m not sure if there’s a quantity of data at which github complains about hosting, but video might push it.
Single Point of Truth
The summary of a song in a list should match its summary on its own page. The lyrics in the chord chart should match the ones in the lyrics sheet. And any of these things should be changeable without having to keep them together manually.
A particularly important case of this is sheet music formatting. There’s no universally accepted format. PDF is nice to read, but impractical to do anything else with. So we want both the universally readable PDF and the source format (Lilypond, ABC, etc.), and we don’t want to worry about them being out of sync.
No downtime. No “forgot to renew, now an extortionist has it”. No ads. No games.
Relatedly, the URLs are clear, concise and stable.
Oh, and I don’t want to pay for this.
Practical to Contribute To
I have write access to several of the Google sheets and folders. I’ve barely used it. Why?
I’m worried I’ll step on someone’s toes. That I’ll be adding things that don’t belong. That I’ll break something. That I’ll try to write at the same time as someone else and make a mess.
Here we have explicit, annotated histories. So if a contribution breaks something, the break can be reverted. And we have pull requests, so someone can say “Here are the exact changes I would like to make, are they good?” and someone more central can accept or reject them easily.
Seriously, though, Git?
I realize git isn’t the easiest thing to use. And that it’s not ubiquitous the way wikis and Google docs are.
For simple things, the web interface is available, and it really isn’t bad. I’ve written some instructions, though I admit no one has tested them.
It may turn out that this is still too heavy weight a process. All I can say is that I haven’t seen a successful project like this, so we have to explore.
And Github offers the first four points, which no other option I could think of did. At least not without a ton of work.
As for the rest of Git’s features, the history and branching… Maybe we’ll use them meaningfully and maybe we won’t. They are a reasonably close fit to how we operate, but they aren’t easy to expose through the pretty website. As more use accumulates, we’ll see.
For Now, Send Stuff
There’s content not on the site. Probably songs. Definitely speeches. Lots of setlists.
If you have them, please send them!
If you feel up to it, send a pull request. If you run into trouble doing so, let me know.
If you don’t feel up to that, don’t worry about it. Send an email (dspeyer [at] gmail [dot] com) or leave a comment here or do whatever’s easiest.
If there are things you’d like to see the site do that it currently doesn’t, let me know that too. I make no promises, but I’m interested.