Skip to content
Switch branches/tags

Latest commit


Git stats


Failed to load latest commit information.
Latest commit message
Commit time


This repository is the content for

See the issues for things to work on.

Content principles

  • Covers from first principles to technical how-tos.

    It's easy to be focused on technical guides (setting up a rendering server), but most users are more interested in how to switch their very small website from Google, so care more about how the monolithic Google Maps "API" is replaced by multiple components, and how to set up their webpage to use a free tile service.

  • Avoids lock-in with specific vendors or services

  • Does not require specific external services, aside from OpenStreetMap itself

    We do not promote anything which can result in lock-in to a specific vendor, so guides need to be usable without relying on a third party. It's okay to use something as an example (e.g. where there are plenty of alternatives, but not if there are few alternatives or the service being used cannot be reproduced.

    Exceptions are

    •, for OSM data itself
    •, for coastlines and other preprocessed data
    • Natural Earth and other well-used public data sources

Content technical needs

  • Uses multiple steps to build understanding, rather than one shell script

    A single script which completes a long series of tasks can be useful, but builds no understanding of what is being done. As soon as someone wants to change the slightest aspect, they find they haven't gained any knowledge. These scripts also tend to be fragile.

  • Does not present bad practices, even in a demo

    People will copy/paste short demos. Don't use bad practices that work just because the demo is simple.

  • Avoids building from source

    Building from source adds significant complications while helping little with understanding.

  • Avoids binary blobs that cannot be reproduced

    The instructions should be able to be adapted to other OSes or distributions. This means that the user should be able to build from source if they need to. OS packaging systems and PPAs meet this.

  • Uses forwards-compatible portable instructions

    This is hard to do, but instructions should be crafted to work in the future, and to the extent possible, on future distributions. e.g. use output of config programs rather than hardcoding paths.

  • Uses OS distribution methods for software when possible

    Use apt or homebrew or similar.

  • Avoid using PPAs where possible.

    PPAs can be useful for grouping more different versions of software together, beyond what is distributed by the base OS, but they tend not to be supported forever, and aren't automatically tested for compatibility as new OS versions come out. Also, base OS support of the components used here is much better than it was.


The webpage is built using GitHub Pages. To compile your changes, execute

  • bundle install --path .vendor/bundle
  • bundle exec jekyll serve and open in the browser