API Evangelist Does Not Run On GitHub Anymore
06 Sep 2019
I migrated the main API Evangelist site off of GitHub the other day. The moved followed the migration of 100+ network sites of my API research a couple of weeks back. While I still have a handful of definitions and tooling published to GitHub, the migration of my main site signals a pretty huge shift in how I operate the site. I’ve operated the site 100% on GitHub since 2014, using YAML as the backend data store, and Jekyll to publish the pages, blogs, and data-driven pages. I have always done this to keep the site as open and accessible as I possibly can, sharing all of the data behind what I was doing However, in 2019, due to increased GitHub API rate limits, Jekyll build timeout limits, and shifts in the purpose of API Evangelist, I don’t see the value in me working to keep things open and available on GitHub anymore.
To operate API Evangelist I am still going with a static approach, meaning all of the pages are published as static HTML, rather than making dynamic from a CMS or database--however, I won't be using Jekyll anymore. I will maintain all the content and data within my own home brew CMS and database, and I will publish things out on a schedule, and in response to specific events that occur. The move significantly reduces the complexity and workload on my part when it came to maintaining the many different repositories, schema, and increasinlgy complex publishing process. It is much easier to just publish HTML files to the file system of a Linux server than use Git and APIs to orchestrate changes across hundreds of repositories. It was something that was becoming untenable due to increased error rates with Jekyll builds when I committed a change, and impossible to do via the GitHub API with a shift in API rate limits recently.
I’m a little sad that it is all over. I enjoyed the performance of it all. I enjoyed the data backend being public, openly available, and even forkable. One thing that surprised me, is that even though my entire network of sites ran on GitHub, allowing anyone to submit a post, page, or other listing, very few ever did. I had a core of diehard editors who would correct my spelling and grammar (I love you all), but it never expanded beyond this group. With all the API providers and service providers out there, and nobody ever submitted a story for me to review and publish. Not sure if it is more of a statement on me, my approach, or the community. I just find it an interesting footnote in a long journey of exploration into the openness of content, data, and business model. Something that was an fun experiment, but now I’ll go back to my roots, and depend on my own skills to manage and publish my research.
Moving forward I will be operating API Evangelist in a more commercial manner. While I will still keep that independent lens, and be very opinionated in everything I do, I will be keeping much of the resulting research behind a pay wall. There just wasn’t enough return on investment being so open, and it resulted in me burning out several times over the last nine years. While I enjoy operating on a variety of platforms, I also enjoy having full control over my digital presence, and operating my network of sites as a simple static network of sites on my own servers makes the most sense for where I am at with the evolution of API Evangelist. I’ll remain as prolific as ever when it comes to publishing blog posts, and posting to social media, but most of the final research and analysis will end up being published as PDF guides, blueprints, opportunities, and landscape publications. Shifting what I do from being open on GitHub to being more closed on my own dedicated platform.