👓 Everything Old is New Again: Adventures in the IndieWeb | Desert of My Real Life

Replied to Everything Old is New Again: Adventures in the IndieWeb by Cathie LeBlancCathie LeBlanc (Desert of My Real Life)
I‚Äôve written about my forays into the IndieWeb movement before. I have even written about how I feel like I‚Äôm moving to a philosophy of sharing my work that is kind of old school. Last week, I had the occasion to see a perfect example of how the ‚Äúnew‚ÄĚ ways that I‚Äôm working are actually the old ways.

Kudos Cathie for rolling up your sleeves and delving in like this! You’re getting some fairly solid results and have far stronger grasp of what is going on than I certainly did in my first year–not to say that I’m much better off now to be honest.

The tougher part is that some of your post seems a bit misleading to me.

The couple of microformats related lines you’re adding in your child theme like¬†add_theme_support( ‚Äėmicroformats2‚Äô ); are in fact declaring that your theme properly supports microformats v1, v2, and microdata which it doesn’t quite. Those lines don’t actually add support (as the hook might indicate), but tell other WordPress plugins that your theme is microformats compatible which may prevent them from adding particular pieces of redundant microformats related code.

While you’ve got an h-entry in your header file, you’re closing the related </div> just after the title so that if the body of your post includes a p-summary or an e-content microformat, parsers are likely to have problems. Instead you might want to do something similar in either your content.php (or other file that adds the body of your post) or your footer.php files where you close that div in one of those two files instead of in your header.php file. If you need it the article page on the wiki has a simple example of what the final result should look like.

My favorite template for how to add microformats to a WordPress theme is David Shanske’s fork of the TwentySixteen theme. Because of GitHub’s interface and the fact that he made changes in relatively small increments, you can look at the history of his changes¬†(start with the oldest ones and move forward) and see the highlights of what he added and removed in individual files to effect the necessary changes. (He made some other drastic changes like removing Post Formats in preference to Post Kinds as well as some other non-microformats changes, so you’ll necessarily want to skip those particular changes.) I think I learned more about WordPress Themes by going through this one example a change at a time than any of the books or tutorials I’ve ever seen.

Another tool in addition to indiewebify.me is the Pin13 parser which will parse your page and give you some indication about what it is finding (or not) and how things are being nested (or not).

If you need some help, feel free to catch one of the WordPress folks in the IndieWeb chat. I suspect that since you’ve got the fortitude to dive into the code the way you have, that you’ll be able to puzzle it out.

3 thoughts on “👓 Everything Old is New Again: Adventures in the IndieWeb | Desert of My Real Life”

  1. Hi Chris,

    Thank you so much! This is great feedback and I’m really looking forward to following Shanske’s example. In particular, the issue with the h-entry that you’ve identified helps me to understand how it works when I didn’t even realize that I didn’t understand. Do you know what I mean? Anyway, thanks so much for your help!

  2. I spent the last three days talking about learning and teaching at Plymouth State University’s January Jamboree and the University System of New Hampshire’s Academic Technology Institute meeting. Both events were full of so many thought-provoking presentations and conversations. Each event had a student panel in which students talked about their experiences with open educational practices. The students had great insights into open education and the benefits and challenges.

    Listening to the students talk about feeling unsure and vulnerable when they first encountered open educational practices made me think about my own learning. As a mid-career academic who has changed jobs and even disciplines, I am a confident learner. I have received lots of praise and other kinds of positive reinforcement for my ability to learn new things. If you have read previous posts on my blog, you might know that I am really interested in developments in the IndieWeb movement and am trying to write about some of my experiences with using IndieWeb tools to build my own web site. I’ve been building my own sites for years and so I have a lot of confidence in my ability there as well. Working on the IndieWeb stuff has been challenging because there’s a lot of new language and new concepts as well as some aspects of web development that I have not engaged with before. I often feel vulnerable when I write my posts about the IndieWeb because my understanding of how everything works is emerging. In other words, I don’t get it all yet but I’m still writing publicly about my work.

    In my¬†last post about the IndieWeb, I wrote about trying to make the WordPress theme on this blog use Microformats. Microformats are a way of adding metadata to what you post on your web site to indicate what each item on the site is about so that other tools can read these items and do things with them. For example, when I write a post on this blog, I want my web site to automatically tag the post as an¬†h-entry¬†so that reader tools can display the post properly. (Even writing this explanation makes me feel vulnerable since this is my current understanding and I think it‚Äôs right but I may be slightly incorrect or maybe even mostly incorrect.) Having done a bunch of reading and looking at other IndieWeb blogs, I thought I understood how to use the¬†h-entry¬†tag. So I wrote a kind of step by step guide about how to add Microformats to my site. To do so requires knowledge of how WordPress use functions and CSS files to display a web page as well as how the Microformats are used by other tools once the page is rendered. As I wrote my blog post, I knew that I didn‚Äôt completely understand all of the functions that WordPress uses. In fact, I wrote: ‚ÄúThe setup function adds theme support for the microformats. I‚Äôm actually not sure whether this setup function is required or not but since it works, I‚Äôm not going to mess with it.‚ÄĚ I thought I understood how the Microformats, the¬†h-entry¬†tag in particular, are used. It turns out that I didn‚Äôt understand either.

    A lot of what I’ve learned about the IndieWeb has come from following Chris Aldrich. He replied on his own web site to my post and very gently suggested that my explanation was misleading. He then explained where my misunderstandings were (are). He explained the purpose of the setup function, which is different than what I explained. He also explained that my use of the h-entry tag was incorrect because I only put the tag around the header of my post rather than around the entire post. I didn’t realize that I didn’t understand the tag until he responded to my use of it. When I received Chris’s comment, my first response was that I should delete my post or at least the incorrect part of it. It’s embarrassing to have your incorrect understandings available for public view. But I decided to leave the post as is but put in a disclaimer so that others would not be misled by my misunderstandings.

    This experience reminded me that learning makes us vulnerable. Admitting that you don’t know something is hard and being corrected is even harder. Chris was incredibly gentle in his correction. It makes me think about how I respond to my students’ work. Am I as gentle with their work as Chris was to mine? Could I be more gentle? How often have I graded my students’ work and only focused on what they did wrong? Or forgotten that feeling of vulnerability when you don’t know something, when you put your work out for others to judge? This experience has also reminded me that it’s important that we as teachers regularly put ourselves into situations in which we authentically grapple with not knowing something. We should regularly share our less than fully formed understandings with others for feedback. It helps us remember that even confident learners can struggle with being vulnerable. And we need to keep in mind that many of our students are not confident learners.

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