Introducing dead-lite

James Ayres
Aug 30, 2018 · 3 min read

Over the past few months, Nick Beattie (twitter: @nicktweattie) and I have been working on creating a blogging/tumble-log platform for use on the P2P web platform. This project will culminate with the release of dead, a social platform (similar to Tumblr) but on a fully decentralized web. This means no servers, no middlemen to control your data, and no costs to anyone (other than the power used to keep your computer on). Also, we left out all of the dark patterns many social media sites like to use.

The benefits of a decentralized web have been articulated much better elsewhere, but needless to say, this new platform will enable users to experience social media free of centralized services where the user literally owns their own data and has free control over its distribution.

Believe it or not, creating a swarming P2P distribution system is…. complicated. There are a lot of nuances in the distribution and storage of content which need to be worked through. So, since there has been a lot of good progress on the project, we have decided to launch a product before dead is launched called dead-lite.

So what is dead-lite?

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dead-lite is a solo blogging platform that can be used on Beaker Browser that leverages the Dat protocol. Basically, if you have ever used a blog before, you get it. Some of the features of dead-lite include:

  1. Markdown support
  2. Full customization (of CSS and also the whole platform if you have the JavaScript skills)
  3. Zero hosting needs and zero costs

You’re using a lot of buzzwords…. why should I use this?

Well, if you like journaling, blogging, or just keeping track of things, this platform allows you to do this in a very localized and personal way. The setup should take a couple of minutes (I will outline the steps below) and you can write long form text, short form text, and even post images.

Okay, how do I use this?

Here are the steps to get started on dead-lite:

1. Download Beaker Browser (Beaker Browser is a browser that uses Chromium but also has integration with the dat protocol)
2. Visit dat:// in Beaker Browser
3. Click on the “…” menu and select “make an editable copy”
4. Fill in the page title, etc. and then open up your dat URL to get going.
5. Write your first post, and the browser will prompt you to allow the browser to write files (select Yes)

After that, you can start making posts — the UI is very minimal so hopefully the on-boarding is simple. Select the plus symbol to add posts or select the gear icon to update your user settings.

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Pro-tip: Insert an emoji into your “Avatar” setting for even more personalization.

Can I contribute? I want to edit to code more?

This project is totally open sourced, so feel free to contribute here:

Also, since dead-lite is completely modifiable, a good place to start is just drop in some CSS to the template.css file in your Sites folder. You can access this either through your filesystem or be going in Beaker Browser to “Library”, finding the dead-lite folder you copied to, and editing the template.css file directly in the browser (and hitting save).

dead-lite is written entirely in React, so working through the codebase should be doable for someone with React experience. To modify the source code, follow the directions in the GitHub repository.

What’s next?

The full offering of dead will be complete sometime in 2018 — with full social sharing and following functionality.

Feel free to share this and tweet me at @jfrancisayres with your themes and posts! I will be posting more tutorials for improving and distributing your dead-lite site on the Github.

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