A neat new web tool called itty bitty sites from Nicholas Jitkoff, VP of Design at Dropbox, lets you create self-contained microsites that exist solely as URLs. You can create your own by following this URL: itty.bitty.site. From there, you can fill the equivalent of about one printed 8.5 x 11-inch page with any combination of plain text, ASCII characters, or emojis. (To launch the project on the 4th of July, Jitkoff created this page: independence.bitty.site) The actual byte limit depends on where you’d like to share it; Twitter and Slack allow for around 4,000 bytes, while the Mac version of Chrome can accommodate up to 10,000 bytes. For reference, a longer piece, like the US Declaration of Independence is 5200 bytes. This won’t work on Twitter, but can still be used in a domain redirect (which is how this and many of the other examples are stored).
The interesting part is that the site isn’t actually hosted anywhere — the entirety of the webpage exists as a URL compressed using what’s known as the Lempel–Ziv–Markov chain algorithm.
How itty.bitty works
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itty.bitty takes html (or other data), compresses it into a URL fragment, and provides a link that can be shared. When it is opened, it inflates that data on the receiver’s side.
Source Code: https://github.com/alcor/itty-bitty
itty bitty sites exists as an open source project on Github. While Jitkoff doesn’t know what people will do with this tool yet, “he does suggest using it for standalone poetry, bypassing Twitter’s character limit, and using it as a clever alternative for domain redirecting, so you can host larger-than-normal portions of text as standalone URLs.”
WHY IT’S HOT:
This is a clever and creative way to make creating and sharing work online more accessible and usable for more of the population, freeing those from the heavy lift of hosting a full site, but expanding the confines of what’s available on social media platforms. It really feels like the early internet.