Tim Novis

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Reclaiming my content with iOS Shortcuts and Lambdas


Today I built a thing to allow me to get photos from my phone to this website without much manual intervention. I’ve dubbed it Timstagram.

Check out Timstagram


There are photos on my iPhone I don’t really want to upload to Instagram.

Part 1 - iOS Shortcut

I created an iOS Shortcut to take a photo from my camera roll, and send it through some wires and oceans finally reaching my website.

I hadn’t really explored Shortcuts too much since their release but I’m suitably impressed and already I’m thinking of all the things I can do with them going forward. The shortcut is too large to screenshot in its entirety, but it does a few things:

Not the whole configuration, but the good bits:

iOS Shortcut Configuration 1 iOS Shortcut Configuration 2

Part 2 - Netlify Function

At this point in time, this website is built with Hugo - meaning it’s basically a bunch of static HTML files. It’s also hosted on Netlify, meaning I’m able to take advantage of Netlify Functions.

I built an endpoint (a lambda if we’re being fancy) to process the information from the shortcut, and commit a blog post to my blog posts repo using GitHub’s API.

What this means is: each time I want to upload a photo to this website, I essentially have to make a code change and add the image as a blob to the repo, and re-deploy the website on Netlify for it to appear.

Check out the code for the function here

Part 3 - The Future?

I really like the idea of reclaiming ownership over my content, and I’m hoping to push forward with it and start using this website as a place to keep things as well as on the large centralised social networks. Perhaps I’ll start looking at integrating some IndieWeb stuff here at some point too.