Tiny Site Has Huge Implications For Private Blogging

Blogging can be fun, and critical to your reputation as a tech pro. While plenty of platforms exist for spinning up blogs, we’ve found one that is simple, totally decentralized, and subtly brilliant.

The aptly named itty.bitty.site opens directly into a plain text editor. It’s a no-frills proposition; you type, it takes your words and makes them readable.

Dig a little deeper, and you see itty-bitty is actually pretty clever. Instead of hosting a blog post (a la Medium or Blogger), it encodes your text in a base64 URL. Your words are compressed using the Lempel-Ziv-Markov chain algorithm, and tucked into the ‘fragment’ portion of the URL.

If you want to go beyond simple text, you can. Itty-bitty accepts “handcrafted” HTML files. You can edit in your favorite writing environment and copy-paste into itty-bitty; if you want to create something a bit more involved, such as a simple app or ASCII, itty-bitty suggests using Codepen, then pasting the Codepen URL into the editor.

As you might expect, something so light has limitations. You can’t embed a photo or video directly (it’ll embed links in-line, but not players or photo views). URLs also have size limitations. Itty-bitty says most webpages are around 2,000 bytes, which is easily sharable anywhere on the web. Twitter and Slack only accept links under 4,000 bytes; anything longer will probably have to go through a domain redirection.

If you want to spit out a QR Code, keep it under 2,600 bytes. You can also shrink itty-bitty URLs with Bitly, but 2,000 bytes is your ceiling there. Chrome for Mac is noted as having a 10,000 byte limit, while Internet Explorer is at 2,000 bytes. Curiously, no URL limits are noted for Safari or Firefox.

One thing we dislike about itty-bitty is that anyone with a link can edit a post. Anything edited spits out a new link, but it could create a lot of confusion about the fidelity of your work. We should also mention that some fonts and edits are heavier than others; itty-bitty uses Helvetica Neue, which is quite a bit lighter than Apple’s San Francisco font, for instance.

For many, we think the pros outweigh the cons – especially if privacy is a concern. Because it’s URL-based, there are no profiles to worry about. You could choose to corral itty-bitty links onto a personal site’s landing page if you wanted to show your work off to a specific audience.

Itty-bitty is also free to use, and open source. There’s a ton to like about it, especially in a time when social-media sites are leveraging every facet of your personal information for ads, and blogging sites ultimately control any content you publish on them. So if Facebook and Medium worry you, but you don’t want to pay for a Micro.blog profile, itty.bitty.site might be for you.