Version 2 Announcement, and a New Blog

by NJB // // Broomfield, CO

A safer, faster blogging experience

CC-BY-SA 4.0

Some big changes have been happening at Nantucket E-Books™. First, I had an amazing time talking at LibrePlanet 2022, about the importance of ethical e-books. I met some interesting people, who I have now followed on Fosstodon.

Oh yeah, that’s right, I signed up for Mastodon, the free software social media network. I’m enjoying it quite a bit.


My biggest announcement right now is that Version 2 will be released on Thursday, May 5th, at 7 PM Mountain. At that time, I’ll be giving a livestream presentation on Version 2 over on my YouTube channel. I’ve been hard at work on Version 2 since last autumn, and I’m already working with beta-testers on e-books.

Version 2 is a major improvement to Nantucket E-Books. Readers will find a better reading experience than ever, and it will be even easier for authors to create, share, and host their own e-books.


My second announcement is about the complete overhaul of this blog. Since its creation, this blog has been written in the Shanty markup language, the same language used to write e-books on this site, as well as my presentations.

Initially, the Shanty file was rendered into HTML using a client-side script. It worked quite well, and was even compatible with GNU LibreJS, a browser extension that checks for a free software license before running JavaScript.

The parser for the blog was quite limited, and I wanted to take it to the next level. I set out to make a blog that kept the simplicity of writing in Shanty, while being easier to read. I was really interested in a static blog: no JavaScript required at all. On top of that, I wanted separate pages for each post, no more loading it onto one clunky page.

This blog post shows you my work so far. I’ve written this blog in Shanty in a plain-text file, and then a Node script parses it into the necessary HTML files. Now, there’s a nice main page for the blog listing all the posts, and each post has its own static page.

You can even comment on blog posts now! I was inspired by Bradley Taunt’s blog post about using e-mail for commenting. Send your comment to me as an email, and I’ll add it to this page. Thanks for getting me to step up my game, Bradley!

This blog incorporates some features from the forthcoming Version 2 of the e-book software. There’s support for better typography, including curly quotes, “like this”, curly apostrophes (ain’t they great), actual ellipses… and—gasp— em dashes! All of these features will give e-books on this site a clean sheen, and can be easily added in Shanty.

Anyway, that’s all I have for now. Check back to this blog for more updates, and beta-tests of Version 2 e-books.

  • Algot: I hope your static post plan works for you.

    I'm eager to see how version two comes out.

    For what it's worth, the link to the email comment post gets embedded within your own blog post address.

    Expected link:

    Actual link:

    Of course, that second active link leads to a 404 error.

  •     NJB (OP) Hi Algot, thanks for letting me know. The problem was that I was adding in an extra set of double-quotes when building the links. It seems browswers, when faced with that link, will put the URL for the current page in front of the link. Maybe the broswer is trying to make it work as a relative link within the current page?
  • Kris: Hey - the comment link relies on having your default mail client setup, which if you are using browser based (like Gmail) it just takes you to a setup menu.

    Not sure there is a way around that easily beyond copy/paste (what I did) or form submission but then you lose the traceability of email.

  •     NJB (OP) Yes, that will be a problem. I'll look to replace it with a text field that contains the URL, that way people can just copy that and paste it into the subject line. UPDATE: See the blog post after this one for my fix.