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Abbey Perini
Abbey Perini

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About My Digital Garden

The more I read about digital gardens, the more I wanted to build one, so I started drawing plants.

What is a Digital Garden?

If you want a comprehensive summary of digital gardening, you can't go wrong with Maggie Appleton's A Brief History & Ethos of the Digital Garden or her repo of resources.

Digital gardening has been around since the late 90's. In short, if Medium is a stream, Wikipedia is a garden. The ideal digital garden is a community garden - ease of sharing, contextualization, and availability of information are very important.

A digital garden is never complete. It grows as you learn and grow. It lies somewhere in between taking notes and blogging. Instead of time, content is curated by topic, state of completion, and how it's related to other content.

The digital garden ethos embraces imperfection, and with it, transparency and meta categorization for the user. Gardeners are encouraged to experiment, use diverse media formats, and find the tools that are sustainable for them, even if they don't involve coding.

Underpinning the whole philosophy is a sense of optimism about the future of the web. Digital gardeners want to push the boundaries of webpage interconnectivity through technologies like web messaging. They strive to put their information in the hands of anyone who wants it.

Plus, a digital garden provides endless opportunities for plant analogies and puns.

My Garden

As it stands, my blog timeline would give you topic whiplash. In contrast, a digital garden works with how my brain works - grouping related articles together even if I wrote them 5 years apart. Bidirectional links will encourage jumping down rabbit holes. The emphasis is on growing a store of interconnected information naturally rather than perfect isolated pieces, and I'm no stranger to learning and building in public.

My digital garden is to be an organic home for all my tech creations. My stack is JavaScript, CSS, HTML, and Markdown. I originally spun up a website in a new framework I wanted to try and quickly realized a framework was far more than I needed and not as sustainable as I wanted.

Many have suggested I should host my own blog, and initially, I didn't see a need. Now, the more I create content in formats other than writing, the more I want a central place for everything I create. Plus, I've got to justify that domain purchase somehow.

I've written before about my nostalgia for a time when everyone slapped up a personal website to share information, and now's my chance to put my money where my mouth is. The more I learn about the web and digital accessibility, the less I can justify paywalls and walled gardens.

Conclusion

I realized my digital garden needed an about digital gardening page and here we are!

I am excited about a lot of ideas for this project and plan on writing some blogs along the way. Currently, I've got the initial work broken down into issues in my repo and just enough code to start fleshing out my design.

Top comments (6)

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angelabowen profile image
Angie Bowen

I'm so intrigued by the idea of a digital garden. I've recently come back to the web development community after a decade and things are so different. I used to run a webdev blog and had planned on starting that up again. However, I had always used self hosted wordpress and now wordpress is kind of a big ol mess. I'm not a fan anymore at all.

As a part of my brainstorming about alternatives I had the thought that I would just do a bunch of static pages as a blog. I looked in Jekell and the like but that wasn't really what I wanted either. But a digital garden sounds exactly like what I need. Thank you for opening this door for me. I'm on my way down a rabbit hole!

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lillchan profile image
Lillian Chan

Yay, I love the idea of digital gardens and have been toying with the idea of making my own for awhile now, but definitely get bogged down with framework overwhelm. It's inspiring to see how everyone approaches their own gardens, so excited to see how your garden grows! ๐ŸŒฑ ๐ŸŒฟ ๐ŸŒณ

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jeremyf profile image
Jeremy Friesen

I've been using Emacs's org-mode and Denote to craft my digital garden. Its a local wiki that I use to publish blog posts.

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elenakout profile image
elenakout

I didn't know how it was called but I think I have one for about 4 years now.

I use Vuepress because it's easy to add new notes with makdown. I can easily link between the notes and also I have an outline and search, out of the box from Vuepress.

I can add iframes with code snippets from online editors like Stackblitz, JSFiddler, or Figma files, Codepen examples, Youtube videos, even whole html pages in the markdown files making it easier to keep notes and resources together.

It was easy to publish with netlify and deploy every time I push to github. This way I can have my notes with me everywhere.

I really recoment giving Vuepress a try for static md files.

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tw2113 profile image
Michael Beckwith

Where can we get a tour of your garden? You link to your github and some other quick resources, but not to the garden itself.

I haven't "tended" to mine for a long-ish time, but I have digitalgarden.tech/ set up.

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yuridevat profile image
Julia ๐Ÿ‘ฉ๐Ÿปโ€๐Ÿ’ป

Sounds insteresring, Abby. Looking forward when sharing your first small developments

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