A year with the IndieWeb

I’m approaching the 1 year anniversary of my being all in on the IndieWeb! NO REGRETS!

To celebrate, I thought I’d go crazy and write a brief description of what I think the indeiweb is, and how I IndieWeb.

What is the IndieWeb?

People

First and foremost, the IndieWeb is people — a really great group of people. I haven’t found a more welcoming group of folks online. I feel wicked lucky to have found this community, and to engage with it on the daily.

Standards

On a technical level, the IndieWeb is a collection of protocols and standards, namely:

  1. IndieAuth
  2. Micropub
  3. Webmention
  4. RSS
  5. Microformats

Separately, each of these is a powerful tool of the internet. Combine, they’re a nearly unstoppable, Voltron-style robot of webby-social-goodness.

  • IndieAuth turns a domain name into your IndieWeb identity (particularly when paired with h-card markup)
  • Micropub gives you a flexible way to create all sorts of content
  • Webmention and RSS allow you to connect with, respond, and subscribe to other IndieWeb folk
  • Microformats guarantee everyone is speaking the same language (at least on a machine-readable level)

NOTE: there are many other standards at play within the IndieWeb community, but I feel that this group make up the backbone of the IndieWeb.

How do I IndieWeb?

In a word: “sloppily.”

But, it is getting better every day.

I started my IndieWeb journey using wordpress, but wordpress and I did not and still do not get along, so, I rolled my own IndieWeb CMS (which I will one day clean up and open source).

I call my CMS Pneumatic Post, and I think of it as less of a CMS and more of an IndieWeb micro-service. It has a couple moving parts:

  • Micropub and media endpoint
  • Display layer
  • RSS feed(s)

I post to my website using either Quill, Omnibear, the Micro.Blog macOS app, the Micro.Blog iOS app, Sunlit 2.0, or Indigenous. Each of these is a micropub client, so all play nicely with my website’s micropub endpoint.

My site currently supports a couple different posting contexts, namely titled posts, notes, replies, likes, and because I have a media endpoint in place, photos. I haven’t yet enabled any other posting contexts because my bases seem pretty well covered by this group.

When I post a like or reply-type post, my micropub endpoint automatically sends the liked or replied-to link a webmention, using telegraph.

I rely on brid.gy and webmention.io to handle all incoming webmentions. I don’t currently store or cache received webmentions, I just display them. Thanks to micro.blog, however, I’ve been having heaps of great webmention-fueled conversation, so I’m thinking I should build a way of storing incoming webmentions, rather than relying wholly on webmention.io.

The last bit is RSS. My site also supports a malformed JSON Feed, but I keep that hidden for the time being, since it relies on unsupported features at the moment and is generally a hot mess. My site spits-out two different RSS feeds, an easily discoverable public facing one that is just a stream of all content posted to my site, as well as a feed of all incoming webmentions. This means that the bulk of my IndieWeb-life is managed through an RSS reader…which is how I like things to be.

That, in brief, is how I IndieWeb.

The future!

What does the future hold? Well, for one, I’m most certainly gonna keep on keeping on as I have been, because I’m 100% in love with the IndieWeb and the IndieWeb community.

I recently stood up my own instance of quill, and imagine I may do some more things like that.

My BIG task is to clean up Pneumatic Post and open source it for others to use. My intention is that Pneumatic Post be as EASY as possible to get up and running with. I tried, and I’ve seen others try to get into the IndieWeb using wordpress, and it works, but there is a bit of a learning curve at times.

I’m also keeping an eyeball on projects like @dgold’s nanopub and @hjertnes’s micrpub. I think static sites are the bee’s knees, and I would love to be able to post to one using micropub.

The biggest frustration I have with Pneumatic Post at the moment is search. It sucks. because all of my content is stored as flat files (and there are a LOT of them) there isn’t a great way to index all the content. At the moment I search my past posts with either DuckDuckGo’s site search or JavaScript (I’ve played with both lunr.js and datatables). Neither option is great. I’ve started a project that I dream will become the go-to answer for everyones’ IndieWeb searching needs…but solr is a wee bit tricky…and I’ll admit that I’m a bit out of my depth. In the meantime, I think I may just run a little database alongside my flat files and search with good old fashioned SQL queries.

Finally, I’d very much like to attend an IndieWebCamp, and, host a Homebrew Website Club. From the digital to meatspace.

In conclusion

Do you IndieWeb? Do you want to IndieWeb?

I’d love to talk IndieWeb with you.

Sincerely and thank you kindly,
Eli

#indienews

Post a response on your own site? Send me a webmention!


jeremycherfas

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@mmarfil @daiwei OK, perhaps I was being over defensive. My apologies. I agree that the technology can seem difficult, and part of the reason for that is that there are so many different ways to reach the same end point. All I will say is that I still find bits of it very difficult, but it has been the helpfulness of the people that makes the technology easier to grasp.

mmarfil

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@jeremycherfas oh no worries, no offense taken. I was just trying to make a point that I wish it was somewhat easier to implement by anyone—it requires a level of development skills I do not have. Anyway, for everyone else, there’s always Micro.blog, which is quite a step forward and hassle-free option, thanks to @manton.

kaa

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@daiwei I find the friction on Mb to be pretty low. I do think that minding out who else is on the network to be more difficult and the lack of search or # makes things harder, but hopefully that will mature eventually

jeremycherfas

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@mmarfil And my point is that you can make it happen, a little at a time.

daiwei

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@kaa we are talking about implementing the indieweb technologies on your own, not about micro.blog.

kaa

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@daiwei why would I want to do that exactly? For a fair price I have someone do it all for me. Having that in place is the entry that I need. Sure you can do it on your own, but I don’t bake my bread every morning or milk a cow either

daiwei

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@kaa because that is what this whole "conversation" is about! Starting here.

klandwehr

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@eli Great article, although I probably should not have read it at 11:00 PM last night, because it took me down the Indie-web rabbit hole.

Aaron Davis

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Nice reflection. I too have been on a sloopy journey into the –IndieWeb, although I have not dived in as far as you to create your own CMS.

One of the things that struck me about the post was that it felt like IndieWeb was both a verb and a noun. I find this one of the intriguing aspects to it all. I found someone mention themselves as a citizen of the IndieWeb.

Whatever the IndieWeb is I think that it will only get better as the community continues to grow and evolve.

eli

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@klandwehr yeah, I have 100% been there before! I think that is exactly how my indieweb journey started, at 10 PM on a weekday 😬

jeremycherfas

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@kaa I do bake all my bread, but I don’t have a cow to milk. Does that make me an indieweb developer? Of course not. Just one of the things I like to do.

mrkrndvs

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@jeremycherfas nope, missed that. Where did you share that note?

jeremycherfas

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@mrkrndvs IRC. Here's a link

amit

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@unoabraham actually there aren’t many I am aware. I know @dgold has open-sourced his, even I have done so for mine. However, you can select any and try some customizations. You will find many references.

Tantek Çelik

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@overcaffeinated @RodBegbie @waferbaby #indieweb folks choose that which meets needs eg:
https://eli.li/entry.php?id=20180314144847
#IndieAuth
#Micropub
#Webmention
#RSS
#Microformats
and https://twitter.com/ChrisAldrich/status/961794239163068416.
My site #hfeed #Atom. Simple building blocks enable evolving a plurality of approaches, features, tools: https://indieweb.org/plurality

Drop by and chat some time! https://chat.indieweb.org/

Wolf Witte

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Wolf Witte

Eric

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Eric

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