IndieWeb and Webmentions plugin for WordPress FTW!

I don’t think I’d used it before or really seen it happening in the wild, but Khurt Williams used his website to reply to one of my posts via Webmention. I was then able to write my reply directly within the comments section of my original post and automatically Webmention his original back in return! Gone are the days of manually cutting and pasting replies so that they appear to thread correctly within WordPress!

Without all the jargon, we’re actually using our own websites to carry on a back and forth threaded conversation in a way that completely makes sense.

In fact, other than that our conversation is way over the 280 character limit imposed by Twitter, the interaction was as easy and simple from a UI perspective as it it is on Twitter or even Facebook. Hallelujah!

This is how the internet was meant to work!

A hearty thanks to those who’ve made this possible! It portends a sea-change in how social media works.

Three cheers for the #IndieWeb!!!

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An update to read posts for physical books

Inspired by gRegor Morrill’s IndieWebCamp Austin project, I went back and took a look at some of my read posts, and particularly for books.

For online material, I use the Post Kinds Plugin which does a good job of adding h-cite and p-read-of (experimental) microformats classes to the data for the things I’ve read.

Because Post Kinds doesn’t (yet?) support percentage finished or number of pages read, I generally do read posts for books by hand as notes with the relevant data. So I decided to add some better mark up to my book-specific read posts and added microformats classes of h-cite, u-url, u-read-of, p-name, p-author, h-card and dt-published. I’m far from an expert on microformats, but hopefully the way I’m nesting them makes sense to parsers off in the future. (Suggestions for improvement are more than welcome.)

I like Gregor’s idea of p-read-status for things he’s posting and will have to see how I can pull that off for posts in the future (or suggest it as an addition to Post Kinds). Presently I’m just adding a want to read tag, but that could be improved to better match the functionality I appreciate in silos like Goodreads. I’ll also have to load up Gregor’s recent modifications to Quill and test them out on my site as well. I know David Shanske has expressed interest in better aligning Quill and micropub clients to post to WordPress with Post Kinds in mind.

Here’s an example of the mark up of a recent read post:

Read pages 381-461 to finish reading <span class="h-cite"><cite><a class="u-url u-read-of p-name" href="http://amzn.to/2zXnQDC" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Origin: A Novel</a></cite> by <span class="p-author h-card"><a class="p-name u-url" href="http://danbrown.com/">Dan Brown</a></span><time class="dt-published" datetime="2017-10-103 00:00:00"></time></span>

It’s also made me begin to feel itchy about some of my past quote posts and potentially revisiting them to add the appropriate h-cite and related mark up to them as well. (Or at least fix it moving forward.)

Incidentally, my real camp project was some heavy editing work on “The Book.” More on that later…

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Reply to The Patreon Fiasco: Jack Conte tells creators “We ****ed up.”

The Patreon Fiasco: Jack Conte tells creators “We ****ed up.” by Todd Allen (The Beat)
The creative community is still waiting on Patreon to officially address the new policy of passing transaction fees on to the patrons (backers), but it appears that co-founder and figurehead Jack Conte has been calling some of creators to discuss the situation with them. Jeph Jacques, the cartoonist behind Questionable Content (over 5,300 patrons as of this typing. though the number of patrons as been… fluid… for many Patreon creators in the last few days) tweeted about his conversation with Conte

Perhaps coincidentally, there was a session at IndieWebCamp Austin yesterday (12/09/17) entitled Payments, Pledges, and Donations, Oh My!. The link includes the video of the session via YouTube as well as notes.

The premise is that many creators already have their own websites/platforms for promoting or featuring their work. In some sense Patreon is only bringing a payment gateway (and apparently not a great one) as their sole feature. The conversation within the session was geared toward attempting to make it easier and simpler for creators to not only host their own work, but to accept payments and recurring payments directly. Some of the discussion was geared at making the payments systems seamless so that one could move them from one platform to another without losing hard won supporters and needing to start over again.

While we’re still in the very early days for improving the technology for this, hopefully some of the demos coming out of the camp later today will move the ball forward. Those should be posted on the IndieWeb YouTube channel later today as well.

For those looking for alternates (and particularly when they’ve already got their own websites), I suspect it’ll definitely be worth a look. Alternate platforms and methods were certainly discussed. The means of control for creators to inexpensively keep all of their workflow in-house is very near.

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Group Photo at IndieWebCamp Austin 2017

Friends who attended IndieWebCamp Austin today.
Photo of 14 of the IndieWebCamp Austin attendees
Friends who attended IndieWebCamp Austin today.

👤 Tom Brown (); Aaron Parecki (); David Shanske (); Tantek Çelik (); Marty McGuire (); Manton Reece ()

I wish I could have attended IndieWebCamp Austin in person today, but had a good time attending remotely! Thanks to everyone who made the remote experience so usable.

I’m also posting this in part to take a half-stab at person tagging people using homepage webmentions after the last session on post types in which Tantek mentioned tagging specifically. I can already tell this is something I wouldn’t do often without a much more automated system. #manualuntilithurts indeed!

I’ve also found a bug in Twitter in the process! Apparently I can tag people in photos there except for Tantek, who’s username is so short, it won’t populate their pull-down menu to let me add him.


Twitter:

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Alpha Release of Linkback Module for Drupal 8 with Webmention Support [8.x-1.0-alpha1]

Alpha Release of Linkback Module for Drupal 8 with Webmention Support [8.x-1.0-alpha1] by Dan FeidtDan Feidt (Drupal.org)
We are proud to bring you the first alpha release of Linkback, an interesting suite of modules which can help integrate your website with the wider internet. Linkback provides the backend functionality to save both outgoing and incoming pings and webmentions involving remote sites.

Drupal 8, now (along with platforms like WithKnown, Perch, WordPress, Craft, Kirby, ProcessWire, Elgg, and Django) has Webmention support. Congratulations to Dan Feidt (aka HongPong) and everyone involved!

This means that more websites can communicate directly with each other on the open and decentralized web. (Wouldn’t you like to “@mention” someone from your own website to theirs?) It’s a rapidly growing reality on the internet.​​​​​

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🎧 This Week in the IndieWeb Audio Edition • November 26th – December 2nd, 2017

This Week in the IndieWeb Audio Edition • November 25th - December 2nd, 2017 by Marty McGuireMarty McGuire from martymcgui.re
You can find all of my audio editions and subscribe with your favorite podcast app here: martymcgui.re/podcasts/indieweb/. Music from Aaron Parecki’s 100DaysOfMusic project: Day 85 - Suit, Day 48 - Glitch, Day 49 - Floating, Day 9, and Day 11 Thanks to everyone in the IndieWeb chat for their feedback and suggestions. Please drop me a note if there are any changes you’d like to see for this audio edition!

Sometimes it feels like I’ve got a bookmarklet (not unlike Huffduffer, but with a twist) that I use throughout the week, and at the end someone lovingly hand-creates a synopsis podcast just for me! Thanks Marty!!

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Reply to doesn’t link back by Khürt Williams

doesn’t link back by Khürt Williams (Island in the Net)
I ran my domain through IndieWebify.me. Almost all of the rel=“me” links either don’t link back or couldn’t be fetched. The following work perfectly and can be used with the IndieAuth authentication plug-in. GitHub Flickr Goodreads Twitter That’s 4 out of 43.

Khürt , The majority of them don’t link back because the silos (like Keybase, Instagram, and Medium which you mention) aren’t putting the rel=”me” microformat on the URLs in your profile like Twitter, Github, and Flicker do. If you view the page source for those silos, you’ll see that they list your URL, but don’t have rel-me’s pointing back at you. Sadly, you can’t control these, though you could file issues with the sites that don’t to encourage them to.

The indiewebify.me site has a parser that is looking at the two sites to see that they not only point at each other, but it requires that the two links have the rel=”me” microformat on them. Most don’t, but this doesn’t mean too much in practice. Whether or not they both have rel=”me”, the only way both sites could point at each other indicates that you “own” or control them both. Kevin marks has proposed/built an interesting decentralized verification service based on them. His version is certainly much better distributed than Twitter’s broken verification set up.

Other than having a stronger two-way ownership indicator, what do you get out of them? As you mention, some have the ability to be used with IndieAuth. Those that can be used with IndieAuth are relying on the service (like Twitter or Github) having a OAuth implementation for signing into their services. This allows an indie site to piggyback on another services’ OAuth implementation without having to go through the trouble to build one themselves, which can be a lot of work to do, much less do correctly (securely). Most of the services you see not linking back not only don’t add the rel=”me” tag, but they also don’t support OAuth, so you wouldn’t get too much more out of having the correct reciprocal link anyway.

Incidentally, one of the benefits the rel=”me” links do have is that they allow you to use your website to log into the IndieWeb wiki to participate directly in that part of the community. (Give it a try!)

Some services like Brid.gy get around services like Instagram or Facebook not having a physical rel=”me” microformat because they’re relying on looking at the appropriate data (usually via API) on your profile page to see if it links back (either in your website field or typically in your bio).

Don’t be overly concerned that the vast majority of sites appear not to link back even if you’ve got links on both pointing back. (And if you think your batting average is bad with only 4 of 43, just imagine how many of my 200+ sites do?!)

If you want to see an interesting tech-forward application of rel=”me” and the XFN friends network, take a peek at Ryan Barrett’s Indie Map which he unveiled over the summer:

Some of these building blocks will likely add a lot more value later on as more and more sites explicitly indicate their relationship to and from each other.

I really love that I can post an event on my website and people can use their own websites to RSVP to it. It’s so simple, but it feels so magical.

Even better, the Webmention plugin and the Semantic Linkbacks plugin allows for a beautiful display of the responses.
#IndieWeb FTW!

Facepiled RSVPs for vHWC

Thanks David Shanske, Matthias Pfefferle, Ryan Barrett, and everyone else in the IndieWeb community who has either helped to create and/or  supports the web standards that allow for the internet to work the way one expects it should.

Want to try it out? Visit the event post for instructions. You can also RSVP on the copy I syndicated to Facebook and your response will show up on the list on my site as well.

 

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Virtual Homebrew Website Club Meetup on December 13, 2017

Join some like-minded people in building and updating your personal website.

This is a Virtual HWC for IndieWebbers who either can’t make a regular meeting or don’t yet have critical mass to host one in their area. Everyone is welcome to participate remotely!

Virtual Homebrew Website Club Meetup on December 13, 2017
Time:  to
Location: Online via Google Hangouts (link is posted and live)

Details

Join a community with like-minded interests. Invite friends that want a personal site.

  • Work on your IndieWeb Resolutions for 2018
  • Finish that blog post you’ve been working on
  • Demos of recent IndieWeb breakthroughs
  • Share what you’ve gotten working
  • Ask the experts questions

A link to virtual meetup on Google Hangouts will be posted on the day of the event. Check back before the meeting to get the link: https://hangouts.google.com/call/0JCH5b875C2UNseSnfkxAAEE

Optional quiet writing hour: 19:30–20:30 ET (16:30-17:30 PT)
Meetup: 20:30–21:30 ET (17:30-18:30 PT)

The IndieWeb is a growing people-focused alternative to the ‘corporate web’.

Skill levels: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced

Keep in mind that there is often a European virtual meetup if those times work better for your schedule.

Any questions? Need help? Ask in chat: http://indiewebcamp.com/irc/today#bottom

RSVP

Add your RSVP in the comments below; by adding your indie RSVP via webmention to this post; or by RSVPing yes to one of the syndicated posts below
Indieweb.org event: https://indieweb.org/events/2017-12-13-homebrew-website-club#Virtual_Americas
Facebook.com: https://www.facebook.com/events/169650146961455/
Meetup.com: https://www.meetup.com/IndieWeb-Homebrew-Website-Club-Los-Angeles/events/245539015/

If your site doesn’t support sending webmentions yet, you should be able to create a post on your website with the following HTML:

<div class="h-entry">
RSVP <span class="p-rsvp">yes</span>
to <a href="http://boffosocko.com/2017/11/30/virtual-homebrew-website-club-meetup-on-december-13-2017/" class="u-in-reply-to">Virtual Homebrew Website Club Meetup on December 13, 2017</a>
</div>

Then put the permalink URL for your post into the webmentions box in the comments section. My site should be able to parse your URL and display the response. (Naturally, you can also change your response to “no” or “maybe” depending on your ability to attend.)

(I think this may be my first indie event that I’ve posted to my WordPress site.)

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📺 Jeremy Keith – Building Blocks of the Indie Web

Building Blocks of the Indie Web by Jeremy Keith (View Source London)
In these times of centralised services like Facebook, Twitter, and Medium, having your own website is downright disruptive. If you care about the longevity of your online presence, independent publishing is the way to go. But how can you get all the benefits of those third-party services while still owning your own data? By using the building blocks of the Indie Web, that's how!

Based solely on what I know from just the title of the talk, this wasn’t quite at all what I was expecting. It was far more interesting and philosophical than I expected, but I suppose that’s the extra magical bit that you get for a something presented by Jeremy.

Approaching the subject from a more architectural standpoint was quite refreshing and a great way to frame the subject for this audience. I found myself wishing he’d had twice the amount of time to expand on his ideas. Often when I’m explaining IndieWeb building blocks, I’ll touch on webmention prior to micropub, but I like the way he turned my usual thinking on it’s head by putting micropub first in his presentation.

Thanks, Jeremy (and Mozilla for the conference). This was great fun! 🎉 ​​​​​

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IndieWeb on WordPress by Khürt Williams

IndieWeb on WordPress by Khürt Williams (Island in the Net)
I have had a web presence since about 2001. Initially, I set up a blog using Radio Userland but quickly abandoned that when Google launched Blogger. I then jumped to Tumblr then back to Blogger. But it wasn’t until 2005 that I finally registered a domain, islandinthenet.com, and started hosting my online presence, my “house”, on WordPress.

One of my favorite IndieWeb quotes thus far, and certainly a sentiment I’ve had many times:

I visited the IndieWeb wiki and went down a rabbit hole of information. As I read, I kept nodding my head, “Yes, we need this. I have to do this.”

Khürt also highlights another good reason for IndieWeb:

Each time Instagram changed their terms of service to something with which I disagreed, I would delete my account. I am on my third Instagram account. I have a lot of image posts with missing content.

Despite some of the problems people have in getting some IndieWeb technology to work the way it could, I’m very heartened by people like Khürt Williams who see the value of it to the extent that they’ll struggle through the UX/UI issues (which are ever improving through the herculean efforts of so many in the community) to make it work for them.


Since Khürt may not be following developments as closely, I’ll briefly mention that the overhead involved for owning your Instagram posts and FourSquare/Swarm posts is coming along with efforts like Aaron Parecki’s OwnYourGram and OwnYourSwarm. David Shanske has been working diligently on updating some of the workflow for the Post Kinds plugin to work better with checkins and locations for FourSquare/Swarm. For WordPress specific users who want an alternate Instagram option that uses a PESOS syndicaton/ crossposting model, I’ve also found some excellent results with the DsgnWrks Instagram Importer, which provides a bit more WordPress specific data and integrates wonderfully with David Shanske’s Simple Location plugin.

I’m hoping that Michael Bishop’s idea of doing weekly updates on WordPress specific IndieWeb updates will help those who are interested in keeping up with movement in the community without needing to read the chat logs or GitHub updates regularly.

As for the issue of Akismet spam and Webmentions, this is a known problem that Akismet is aware of and hopefully working on. In the meantime, there’s a documented work around that will fix the issue that has (in the practice of several hundred people using it) an exceedingly low rate of allowing spam through.​​​​​

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A reply to Aaron Davis about h-cards

A Further Reply to Chris Aldrich in regards to the IndieWeb by Aaron Davis (collect.readwriterespond.com)
I know that I have provided my perspective [already](https://readwriterespond.com/2017/10/indieweb-reflections/), but I have been doing a lot of thinking about it of late. There are so many elements that just feel so foreign. Take for example H-Cards.

Aaron, thanks for your continued thoughts on my post. These are some good observations. Interestingly, on November 9th of this month I had noticed that the h-card page on the wiki was one of the few around that had absolutely no section heading for IndieWeb Examples which is nearly ubiquitious on most other pages. (Examples of what others have done is not only a helpful guide, but helps to push the limits of what might be possible next.) I naturally added a section for them and added myself and made a call in the chat for others to do the same. One of the bits of feedback that resulted there was that the microformats.org wiki had a large number of examples and that was one of the reasons that the IndieWeb wiki had none. Naturally, for people in generation two and beyond this may be an issue as they’re potentially less likely to go looking for this information on another website. As of this afternoon, there’s now at least a link on that page that also points to the microformats wiki page for those other examples. I’ve also added a few other bits which may be helpful with regard to h-cards for the beginner.

As the IndieWeb continues onward, part of the underlying foundation is that “Each generation is expected to lower barriers for adoption successively for the next generation.” – from the Generations page on the IndieWeb Wiki.

To date, the majority of people in the movement are developers or programmers by trade, but increasingly there are people from generation 2, 3, and even many from generation 4 who are starting to take a look at what is now possible on the web that wasn’t just ten, twenty, or even thirty-six months ago. Many are not only just looking, but, like you, are spending the time, effort, and energy to implement what they’re able to and simultaneously spreading the word to larger circles.

As someone who personally identifies as being on the border of generations 1 and 2, I’m finding more and more people seeing what is happening and wanting the fruits and benefits of these tools for themselves. It’s the raw value they find in these methods and processes that spur them on even when they find themselves in deeper waters than they may have expected. Fortunately there are a large number of giving and helpful developers in the generation 1 crowd who are watching and listening to those coming after them. They’re taking up the mantle to not only improve things for just themselves, but to improve things for their fellow netizens.

All of this to say that there is currently a slow reworking and refining of material that’s on the wiki. It was only just earlier this week that a self-identifying fourth generation member asked about the word POSSE, which many would rightly consider jargon, and inquired about its relation to the more commonly known term of “cross-posting“. Surprisingly, cross-posting didn’t really exist on the wiki yet, but it was quickly added, and then later expanded to bring the ideas of POSSE, PESOS, PESETAS, and PASTA within it and then tied into the broader idea of syndication.

Your questions about h-card are very similar. Yes, the wiki page on the idea is certainly very generation 1 specific and perhaps a bit over-burdened by jargon. While I don’t think the concept of microformats is very difficult, I also realize that saying that is the result of having spent no less than ten hours reading about it, looking at examples, and implementing pieces of it by hand myself. So how can we make it simpler and easier for the next generation? The page needs a bit of overhaul and work for the next generations. Some of this is my goal in writing an IndieWeb book, though it’s geared toward an audience that is less likely to get their information from a wiki or contribute back to one in practice.

While h-card is a specific type of microformat, in practice most instances of it on the wiki are really referring to an object on a webpage that conveys identity. I’d suggest that it’s far easier to look at an h-card as an online version of a business card that contains some basic information about a person (or even a business or other entitiy) online. It has things like their name, their address, their email, their phone number, perhaps a photo, or even other very basic information about them. Each of these pieces of data has its own microformats to indicate to machines what they specifically represent.  While some h-cards are human readable (like mine), some could be hidden in a web pages’ header and are meant to be machine readable.

While h-cards can convey data in other use cases, in most IndieWeb instances they’re conveying information about either the owner of a website (and thus found on the site’s homepage), or they’re found on individual posts as indicators of the authorship of the content on that page.

Depending on how they’re nested into a web page, they can have different meanings. As possibly the most common example on a traditional WordPress article post, the main h-card for the page would indicate information about the author of that post. However, these article posts will often contain comments sections at the bottom and each individual comment will have it’s own separate author and author information and thus its own h-card. Because these comments are properly nested, they only indicate the authorship of each particular sub-section of a page.

For most IndieWeb use, having an h-card on your homepage tells parsers (code run by other computers) who you are and some basic information about yourself. Generally this extends to your name, your avatar, and your homepage URL.

In your case Aaron, when you’ve generally been sending me webmentions from your primary website (readwriterespond.com), I’ve often been missing your avatar in your comments because you didn’t have an h-card available on them. (I typically remedy this on my own website by hand because I’ve been able to guess the email address/”key” you use for your Gravatar account which then automatically fills in that missing data for me on those comments.)

In the particular case here, for your reply you’ll notice in looking at the source for the page with your response that your ZenPress theme smartly and kindly includes an h-card for you automatically. Here’s what it looks like in code:

<div class="entry-meta">
<address class="byline"><span class="author p-author vcard hcard h-card" itemprop="author" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Person"><img alt='' src='https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/d00e7ca24ca1b9c853da43af229c0e0e?s=40&d=mm&r=g' srcset='https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/d00e7ca24ca1b9c853da43af229c0e0e?s=80&d=mm&r=g 2x' class='avatar avatar-40 photo u-photo' height='40' width='40' itemprop="image"/> <a class="url uid u-url u-uid fn p-name" href="https://collect.readwriterespond.com/author/admin/" title="View all posts by Aaron Davis" rel="author" itemprop="url"><span itemprop="name">Aaron Davis</span></a></span></address> <span class="sep"> | </span> <a href="https://collect.readwriterespond.com/posts/replies/a-further-reply-to-chris-aldrich-in-regards-to-the-indieweb/" title="10:06 pm" rel="bookmark" class="url u-url"><time class="entry-date updated published dt-updated dt-published" datetime="2017-11-22T22:06:22+00:00" itemprop="dateModified datePublished">November 22, 2017</time></a>
</div>

You’ll see that it includes (and I’ve highlighted them in red with the relevant microformats classes) your name, your website URL, and it also pulls in your Gravatar avatar using the WordPress back end, since you’ve provided your WordPress installation this data. This is the benefit of a smartly built and designed theme! Thus it would seem that for your “Collect” site, you needn’t worry about an h-card because your theme is already handling the details for you to a great extent. Ideally all themes would do this using standard data fields within a WordPress install. But until then…

Anticipating your next question, what about readwriterespond.com? There, your theme isn’t doing this work for you, so you’ll need to do it yourself. The easiest way to pull this off quickly is to use the IndieWeb Plugin for WordPress. The plugin adds a bunch of additional fields to the page under the “Users” menu located at /wp-admin/profile.php within your admin UI. By filling them in you’re providing the details you’d usually add to an h-card or for rel=”me” uses. The IndieWeb plugin then also makes an h-card widget available at /wp-admin/widgets.php. You can drag and drop it to any of the available pieces of your theme which often include sidebars, footers, and sometimes headers.

The widget does a relatively good job, but some will want more control over what and how things are presented and designed. For those, another option is to create your own HTML-based widget and put the code/data for your h-card into it. This is essentially what you’ve seen on my homepage at boffosocko.com. While mine is entirely handcoded, it may be easier for most to use the microformats website which has a fill-in-the-blanks h-card generator that will allow one to input all of the data they’d like to display and it will automatically mark all of it up properly so that one can cut and paste the semantic HTML directly into a web page or a widget.

There are a bevy of other options for dropping an h-card into your site which will work. You mentioned doing something via a child-theme and that’s an option as well as any one of dozens of plugins that will allow you to drop arbitrary code into your header and/or footer. (Incidentally a child-theme is an excellent way of doing small customizations of your theme without preventing future (security) updates of your theme from overwriting them. If you’re not using one, I recommend following one of the tutorials on the wiki to create one. I would hope it shouldn’t take you more than an hour to implement based on what I know of your skill level.)

As I think you’ve mentioned, there are a few simple validators that will accept a URL which they can parse to show the h-card data they find. These include:

People can use these to see if their h-cards are working as they generally expect them to.

Naturally, there are some additional subtleties in h-cards which are noted on both the IndieWeb wiki and the microformats wiki pages, but most of these aren’t of huge consequence to average users or are experimental features which aren’t widely distributed or supported. If it makes you feel better, I’ll also note that it’s not always the case that experienced theme builders or even WordPress core maintainers will properly use microformats as there are frequently cases where they’re wildly misused, abused, or mistreated in the extreme. We can only do our best I suppose…

Hopefully some of this helps put things into perspective. Now that you’re able to sign into the IndieWeb wiki, I invite you to add or modify parts you feel could be clearer or improved as you use and implement them yourself. Surely doing so will help make things easier for those that follow us both.

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RSVP to IndieWebCamp Austin 2017

Attending IndieWebCamp Austin - December 9-10, 2017 - Austin, Texas
IndieWebCamp Austin 2017 is a gathering for independent web creators of all kinds, from graphic artists, to designers, UX engineers, coders, hackers, to share ideas, actively work on creating for their own personal websites, and build upon each others creations.

I’d like to attend in person, but it’ll have to be remote attendance this time around with the holidays pressing in.