What’s Next for Micro.blog — A Wish List
Not every blogger needs a WordPress site in order to publish on the web. Micro.blog, an open platform for writing is a great alternative, albeit in need of some improvements.
I’m a big fan of Micro.blog. After a false start in 2019, I came back in 2020 and couldn’t be happier since then. I went back to read my 2019 blog post to see the reasons why I didn’t embrace Micro.blog at the time. In fact, my wish list started in 2019, but now, I feel the need to revisit the current situation. Did Micro.blog improve in the past year? Yes, version 2.0 is proof of this. Is there still room for improvement? I do think so. In recent days, I thought a lot about what are my pain points with the service. I made a list of things that should be done or improved, grouped into three categories: the service’s foundation, the web side of the service and the mobile application experience. Items are in no particular order.
The service’s foundation
- A rework of subscription plans: I’d like to use the highlight feature but not the podcasts support that comes with it. [2023-03-25: I'm subscribing to the Premium plan to support the service.]
- Additional plugins support. After the initial launch of plugins, new ones are hard to come. I’d like integration with services like Pocket or Readwise. Would this be possible with the current plugin architecture? [2023-03-25: I'm no longer using Pocket. Readwise integration would still be cool, though.]
- Remove ghost accounts from the service or mark them as such. It would make it easier to spot them in the Discover view and skip following those. [2023-03-25: I still think it would be useful.]
- Add a “Tech” category in the Discover view. [2023-03-25: I'm still wishing for that one.]
- A cross-posting to Medium that is actually working would be nice too. Right now, it’s not working for me, and others are reporting similar situations. Is there a fix in sight? [2023-03-25: I no longer care for that one as I'm no longer using Medium for posting articles.]
- Make the followers count available to each user and add an option to make it public or keep it private. This decision should be put in the users' hands, not from the service owners or operators. [2023-03-25: I maintain that one.]
- Provide more flexibility in archive options to Github (markdown files support) instead of just a big HTML file. Add a way to notify the user if the archiving is not working. [2023-03-25: The last time I checked, I still think it would be useful and more flexible.]
- Ability to customize the permalink of each post at the time of publication. [2023-03-25: I still think that one would be useful.
- Improvements to theme handling when switching from one theme to another (a fix for my account to enable the switch to Hello theme without breaking my website would be appreciated). [2023-03-25: These issues are no longer occurring or it was only an issue with mine.]
- Improved support for automation services like IFTTT. [2023-03-25: Using the RSS feed is just enough to make things work in IFTTT.]
- Better exposition to category-related RSS feeds. Currently, we need to dig into the category setting page to access them. Adding “copy” beside the feed URL would be nice too. [2023-03-25: Yes, that one would be useful too.]
The web side of Micro.blog
- Better display of conversation (replies) to a blog post. Currently, after a few replies, it can become quite confusing to see who’s answering to which reply. [2023-03-25: A plugin now fix this issue where people can follow a conversation and reply from there.]
- More visual themes, as current ones lack inspiration. [2023-03-25: Probably my biggest gripes with Micro.blog.]
- Faster posts update. That one is a long-lasting inconsistent issue. [2023-03-25: Yes, still happens from time to time.]
- Better support for favicon editing and uploading. [2023-03-25: Yes, that one too would make things easier.]
- A higher resolution RSS feed favicon would be welcomed too. [2023-03-25: Maintained.]
- More theme customization options (I’m not a CSS expert, I don’t understand anything about this weird language). [2023-03-25: Still true in 2023. And will probably be true until I die.]
- From the web editor, categories should be shown by default while creating a new post. [2023-03-25: That one is so frustrating.]
- Support for Grammarly spell check in the post editor on the web. [2023-03-25: This one has been fix once Manton updated the new post design.]
- Dark mode support in all visual themes. [2023-03-25: I'm not sure if this is still an issue.]
- Reply all option. [2023-03-25: available on mobile apps like Gluon and Micro.blog.app 3.0, lacking on the web.]
- Allow pictures in replies. [2023-03-25: would be nice indeed, from the web interface.]
- Ability to edit replies. [2023-03-25: yep, still lacking.]
- Easier indie web mention support and guidance. [2023-03-25: I'm not sure why I wrote that one. Maybe because I didn't understand the guide for implementing such thing with my old WordPress website.]
- Support for photo captions in all themes. [2023-03-25: as an amateur photographer, I wish for this one for sure. I don't know why this is missing because MB operators are indeed people who love photography.]
The mobile experience with the official iOS app
- Ability to edit replies from the iOS app.
- Ability to set the category while editing a post.
- Share sheet tweaks on the iPad to make it work better with Apple Magic Keyboard; the bottom part is partially hidden.
- Rich notifications support.
- More features parity with the website (categories management, better photo inserting workflow).
Don’t get me wrong, Micro.blog is unique and based on found principles. That being said, Micro.blog is a service run by a few individuals. They do have limited resources. Yet, I think many of these improvements are no big deal to implement and could be part of a more aggressive improvements rollout schedule. These improvements would increase the stickiness of the service among its user base, reduce some friction and provide a richer experience while using the service. I’m confident about the future of this open platform. I think I have to be patient, though.