Lieu

Lieu is a community search engine, a way for personal webrings to surface their contents and invite visitors to browse them. It’s a tool for crawling a limited set of links, noting down their contents, and a service making the corpus of pages searchable in a simple website.

Crawling is limited to the domains in the initial set, for a limited distance from the departure point of each link. Even if a webring participant links to a large corporate site, the corporate contents won’t be crawled.

Lieu is built for lightness:

Existensberättigande

There is one simple reason behind why I made Lieu: I was bored.

Bored of thoughtlessly visiting the same, few, social media sites. Bored of using search to locate something I knew already existed. Of the modern web’s increasing inability to inspire surfing. Of the infeasibility in searching for »music» as a way to discover artists and albums. Of search-optimized marketing pages.

A compounding factor, leading to Lieu’s development, was belonging to a webring: webring.xxiivv.com. Our webring has an astounding amount of pages, waiting to be read and referenced. And yet hurdles existed when it came to discovering what was there.

I wanted to help make it easier for people—inring and outring alike—to discover the passion projects, rants, links, resources and articles hidden underneath the ring exterior. To build a cellar door into the ring’s depths.

Once building this bespoke tool for our webring, it struck me to build in a way enabling other webrings to make use of it, too. And other webrings have started to show up.

Functionality

After the input has been crawled, and the resulting data indexed, Lieu’s outward face allows for searching in line with today’s expectations.

Additionally, there is functionality in place to facilitate serendipitous discoveries of the crawled data, by way of a few special routes. These routes are always available for any Lieu instance, and any site could embed the functionality using the snippets presented in the appendix Examples, below.

Finale

Are you intrigued? Visit Lieu. Or, better, deploy an instance. Host your own niche, with friends. Write. Make sites. Tie them together. Cross-reference each other. Link to the people and things you love. Make it all searchable with an instance belonging to the small community you have created together.

If inoculating the world with this type of work resonates, you can join others in crowdfunding it.

Appendix

This appendix lists a few example snippets that can be used to include Lieu functionality on one’s own webpage, letting people search Lieu from a simple form element or clicking a button to randomly teleport somewhere within the webring.

Discovering webring pages at random

Code:

<form method="GET" action="https://lieu.cblgh.org/random">
    <label for="webring">Visit a webring page</label>
    <button id="webring" type="submit">Visit</button>
</form>

Discovering webring-linked pages at random

Code:

<form method="GET" action="https://lieu.cblgh.org/random/outgoing">
    <label for="outgoing">Visit an external, webring-linked page</label>
    <button id="outgoing" type="submit">Visit</button>
</form>

Webring search

Code:

<form method="GET" action="https://lieu.cblgh.org/">
    <label for="search">Search the webring</label>
    <input id="search" name="q" placeholder="Search">
    <button type="submit">Search</button>
</form>

Making one’s own webring site searchable

Code:

<form method="GET" action="https://lieu.cblgh.org/">
    <!-- replace the value with the domain of your own site -->
    <input type="hidden" value="wiki.xxiivv.com" name="site">
    <label for="site-search">Search wiki.xxiivv.com</label>
    <input id="site-search" name="q" placeholder="Search">
    <button type="submit">Search</button>
</form>