Did Zarathustra love emojis?

I was recently lucky to get my hands on an old leather edition of Thus Spoke Zarathustra by Nietzsche. The story of the 3 metamorphoses of the mind struck a chord with me. I've also long wanted to deploy an emoji-based domain name. From there, things escalated quickly.

And that's how 🐫🦁👶.ws was born, as a random homage to the story!

The three metamorphoses of the mind

According to Nietzsche, individuals have to go through three stages to reach freedom and achieve their full potential. The metaphor is as follows

  • The mind first has to seclude itself into the desert like a camel 🐫, bearing a heavy weight on its shoulder, patiently even under difficult situations
  • The mind should then become a lion 🦁, to challenge the established norms and impose its willpower to resist external dogma
  • Finally, the mind should evolve into a child 👶 to unleash its creative potential and see the world through fresh eyes

Reflecting about this story and trying to save its wisdom in memory, I quickly came to visualize this as icons of the stages...Which when taking notes about it translated to 🐫🦁👶 in my emoji keyboard. And so the idea for an emoji domain name emerged ❤️.

Lessons learned

I'm not 100% sure Zarathustra the hermit would have approved using the web to pollinate his thoughts to the world (note: he actually has a Twitter account). Nevertheless, his wisdom is too great to be ignored. So let's share his story on a dedicated emoji website.

Here are a few learnings from this experience:

  • Only a few DNS providers offer emoji domain names (e.g. Namecheap doesn't, although they offer Handshake domains for examples)
  • The i❤️.ws platform is just a referrer to Gandi and Register.to
  • The .ws TLD is the TLD for Samoa, with WS being an abbreviation for "Western Samoa" which was the nation official name in 1970 back when 2-letters country codes got standardized
  • I did not manage to buy my domain on Gandi and had to use iwantmyname.com instead
  • When entering them in your browser, emojis are converted to punycode, a unicode subset that targets hostnames (mine is https://xn--zo8hwey2m.ws for example)
  • In Chrome, the emoji are shown as punycode, whereas in Safari the emoji representation is kept (too bad because my website is not optimized for Safari 😅)
  • In order to support emoji domain names on Netlify with custom domains, one needs to enter the punycode representation of the emojis

As a sidenote, this website was built in litterally 10 minutes thanks to TailwindCSS, my go-to framework for all side projects. I was happy to discover that it is now possible to support Tailwind plugins even when using CDN thanks to the JIT compiler. So the whole website is just an index.html file - no single npm module involved here.

Closing thoughts

That being said, I leave you to this great quote from the book:

What is the great dragon which the spirit is no longer inclined to call Lord and God? "Thou-shalt," is the great dragon called. But the spirit of the lion saith, "I will."

May your spirit be that of a Lion to fight off web dragons, and then that of a Child to create new crazy indie stuff. And read the full wisdom here: 🐫🦁👶.ws.