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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 @dgolds nanopub and @hjertness 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