Some months ago Dustin Curtis introducted Svbtle which is supposed to be “A curated collection of great people who have things to say”. I get the basic idea behind that and I’m cool with it. Not everyone is, however. So literally hours after Svbtle’s introduction someone came up with Obtvse which had a totally different idea behind it but a strikingly similar design. Today a newcomer showed up on the front page of Hacker News. It’s called Simvla and seems to be yet another implementation of the same design but with a completely opposite philosophy than Svbtle. Then, there’s the Svbtle Wordpress theme which gives you all the features of Wordpress (for better or for worse) with Svbtle’s design again. People just friggin love Svbtle’s design even if they hate the idea behind it. So today, when I began rewriting the theme for Write.app’s public notes pages I decided it would be a good opportunity to make a little statement and maybe even poke fun at the idea of Svbtle a little. Today, I’m introducing Matvre.
Matvre is an open source blog theme that isn’t tied to any CMS or framework. It’s just a pure HTML/CSS theme that you’ll have to hack at yourself in order to get working in Wordpress (which is what everyone except anyone who doesn’t use Wordpress uses) or whatever. There’s an Octopress version too but I’m keeping a tight lid on it (except I’ll give it to you if you email me).
The Big Idea
Of course any project with a minimal design and a ‘V’ in its name where a ‘U’ should be has a gradiose idea behind it and Matvre is no different. Matvre is all about the next stage in blog framework design. It’s all grown up and, well, mature. To use the Matvre theme you must be one of the most influential tech bloggers out there right now and you need an invitation to use it. Sure, the source is on GitHub and BSD licensed but you’re still not supposed to use it unless you’re super awesome.
Who gets to be super awesome
There are two main types of people who I will annoint as being super awesome:
- People who can make me look like I’m influential
- People I choose from my own circle of friends, and as self-appointed king of knowing who’s cool, I choose to be a Matvre writer
Just as there are two types of people who will write for the Matvre network, there are also a few types of readers:
- Anyone who will believe my hype about Matvre being awesome
- People who love blog networks for their deisgn
- People who love blog networks for their philosophy
- People who hate blog networks for either their design or philosophy and will read them voraciously so they can write their own blogs about how much other blogs suck
Matvre is written in plain old HTML/CSS/JS but as a platform for grown ups, if it were a full-fledged platform written in any language that language would be PHP. Why? Because everyone loves to hate it. PHP would serve to show that Matvre is above all the trendy PHP bashing and that a hipster blog network could even be built in PHP.
Matvre hasn’t actually been designed yet but I can describe it for you very vividly. It’s very flat. Very sparse. The blacks range from between just off-black and darkish gray. They use a thin but very modern, legible, and hipster @font-face font (we don’t use no fucking webfonts because we know how to host our own and want total effing control). The naviation sits on the left of the screen in a fixed position so it looks like it follows you down the page (how cool is that!?). It’ll tell you that you’re reading the Matvre network and link to other Matvre writers’ blogs.
But you know, Matvre doesn’t really even need a design. No. You see, we could be publishing plaintext files on static IPs (no domains) and you’d still know you were reading the Matvre blog network because of its tone. It’s not quite condescending. It doesn’t always make it obvious that the advice articles are not applicable to anyone but the author and are only getting hype because of its Matvre writer. It isn’t exactly snarky. And it isn’t quite know-it-allish either. You’ll know a Matvre blog when you read it because there will be a certain indescribable feeling gnawing at you from your unconscious. It’ll slowly grow with each new Matvre blog post you read until one day you you decide it’s time to rip somenoe’s face off. Yeah, it’s tone will piss you off to no end but god damn is it trendy.
If you haven’t caught on by now, I’m kidding. I really have no problems with the Svbtle network (though it certainly does rub me the wrong way more often than not due to its tone and some content). In all seriousness though, Matvre isn’t designed yet but it is going to become a real thing. It’ll just be a plain HTML site template that you can do as you please with. I’m going to replace Spart’n (this blog’s theme) with it as well as use it for the public posts area of my writing app, Write.app (public area here).
I committed to writing one blog post a week at a minimum and this is what I came up with this week. How did I do? Why don’t you tell me in the comments or follow me on Twitter.