Are you participating in the Marketplace’s Econ Extra Credit and reading Economy, Society, and Public Policy?

You can join the conversation in a close reading of the book using the free annotation tool Hypothesis. Sign up for a free account here: https://web.hypothes.is/start/
Then join us in reading the book at https://via.hypothes.is/https://www.core-econ.org/espp/

Replied to a tweet by Hungry Bread ElevatorHungry Bread Elevator (Twitter)
Funny enough I just recommended this past week that @Marketplace try @hypothes_is for their virtual reading group.
https://boffosocko.com/2020/01/28/hypothesis-for-economy-society-and-public-policy/
Annotated How to Highlight the Internet by Andrew Courter (Medium)
Screenshots are disposable, but highlights are forever.
Highlighting this sentence on the Highly blog (on Medium) ironically using Hypothes.is. I’m syndicating a copy over to my own website because I know that most social services are not long for this world. The only highlights that live forever are the ones you keep on your own website or another location that you own and control.

RIP Highly.
Viva IndieWeb!

Read Web client crashing Chrome frequently when adding tags · Issue #1689 · hypothesis/client (GitHub)
I'm currently using Chrome Version 79.0.3945.117 (Official Build) (64-bit) via the chrome extension on Windows 10 (v1809) and I'm noticing just within the last two weeks that as I&a...
Catching up on the replies and potential solutions. Some interesting functionality hiding under the hood here with respect to local caching and taxonomy.
Read Tag editor freezes in Chrome on macOS if there are a large number of suggestions present · Issue #1606 · hypothesis/client (GitHub)
Steps to reproduce Apply the following diff to the client code (I tested against the v1.261.0 tag) diff --git a/src/sidebar/services/tags.js b/src/sidebar/services/tags.js index a897251d..8024bf2b ...
Followed the details here to clear my tag caches for Hypothes.is. Hopefully I won’t see anymore crashes of Chrome.
Annotated Economy, Society and Public Policy (core-econ.org)
Economy, Society and Public Policy (an open textbook)
David Brancaccio and the kind folks at Marketplace are doing a public virtual bookclub with this book as their text for twelve weeks through the Spring of 2020.

Given the complexity of the subject and the public nature, I might suggest that they consider using the opensource and free Hypothes.is platform as an academic discussion tool for allowing everyone to highlight, annotate, and respond to the text and conversations?

I suspect the Hypothesis team would be happy to do a quick run through of their platform as well as potentially creating a private group if they preferred.

This link is an example of an annotation on the text.

Using IFTTT to syndicate (PESOS) content from social services to WordPress using Micropub

Introduction

What follows may tend toward the jargon-y end of programming, but I’ll endeavor to explain it all and go step-by-step to allow those with little or no programming experience to follow along and use the tools I’m describing in a very powerful way.  I’ll do my best to link the jargon to definitions and examples for those who haven’t run across them before. Hopefully with a bit of explanation, the ability to cut and paste some code, or even make some basic modifications, you’ll be able to do what I and others have done, but without having to puzzle it all out from scratch.

Most readers are sure to be aware of the ubiquitous “share” buttons that appear all over the web. Some of the most common are “share to Facebook” or “share to Twitter”. In my examples that follow, I’m doing roughly the same thing, but I’m using technology called webhooks and micropub to be able to share not just a URL or web address, but a variety of other very specific data in a specific way to my website.

This “share”–while a little more complicated–gives me a lot more direct control over the data I’m sending and how it will be seen on my website. I would hope that one day more social websites will have built in share buttons that allow for direct micropub integration so that instead of only sharing to corporate sites like Facebook, Twitter, et al. they’ll let people share directly to their own personal websites where they can better control their online identity and data. What I’m describing below is hopefully a temporary band-aid that allows me to keep using common social services like Pocket, YouTube, Meetup, Goodreads, Letterboxd, Diigo, Huffduffer, Reading.am, Hypothes.is, and hundreds of others but to also post the content to my site so that I own and control more of my own online data.

An example using Pocket

Following in the footsteps of Charlotte Allen and Jan-Lukas Else, I’ve been tinkering around with improving some of my syndication workflows for a number of social silos including Pocket, a social silo that focuses on bookmarking material to read later.

I have long used IFTTT (aka If This, Then That), a free and relatively simple web service that allows one to create applets that tie a large number of web-based and social services together, to send data from my Pocket account to my WordPress-based website. I’d done this using my Pocket RSS feed to create WordPress draft posts that I could then modify if necessary and publish publicly if I desired. Since I regularly use a number of Micropub clients in conjunction with the WordPress Micropub plugin and IFTTT supports webhooks, I thought I’d try that out as a separate process to provide a bit less manual pain in mapping the data for posts to appear like I want them to on my website. 

Now I can use my Pocket account data and map most of it directly to the appropriate data fields on my website. Because Pocket has direct integration into IFTTT, I can actually get more data (particularly tags) out of it than I could before from the simple RSS feed.

Below, you’ll find what I’ve done with a quick walk through and some example code snippets. I’ll break some of it down into pieces as I go, and then provide a specific exemplar of some of the code properly strung together at the end. I’ll also note that this general procedure can be used with a variety of other silos (and either their integrated data or RSS feeds) within IFTTT to post data to your website. Those running platforms other than WordPress may be able to use the basic recipe presented here with some small modifications, to send similar data from their accounts to their sites that support Micropub as well. 

Directions for connecting IFTTT to publish to WordPress via Micropub

Preliminaries

Install and activate the Micropub plugin for WordPress. This will give your website a server endpoint that IFTTT will use to authenticate and send data to your website on your behalf.

If you don’t already have it, install the IndieAuth plugin for WordPress and activate it. This will allow you to generate an authorization token (think password) with the appropriate scopes (think permissions to do specific actions on your website) to allow IFTTT to securely post to your website. 

Within the WordPress administrative interface/dashboard go to Users >> Mange Tokens or go to the path /wp-admin/users.php?page=indieauth_user_token on your website. 

At the bottom of that page under the section “Add Token” add a convenient name for your new token. You’ll see in the following screencapture that I’ve used “IFTTT for Webhooks”. Next click the check boxes to add scopes for “create” and “media”. Finally click the “Add New Token” button.

Screencapture from the Add Token section of the User >> Manage Tokens page

On the resulting page, copy the entirety of the returned access token in a safe place. You’ll need this token later in the process and once you’ve navigated away from the page, there’s no way to retrieve the token again later. The same token can be used for multiple different recipes within IFTTT,  though one could create a different token for each different recipe if desired.

Sign up for an IFTTT account (if you don’t already have one). 

Register Pocket as a service you can use within IFTTT.

The IFTTT Applet

In your IFTTT.com account, create a new applet.

Screenshot of the "If This Then That" recipe start with "This" highlighted

For the “if” part of the applet, search for and choose the Pocket application.

Screenshot of a search for "Pocket"

Choose the trigger “Any new item” (other triggers could be chosen for different combinations of actions).

Click the “then” part of the applet, and search for and chose the Webhooks application.

Screenshot of the "That" portion with a search for Webhooks

Choose the “Make a web request” option (currently the only option on the page).

Next we’ll fill in the action fields.

Screencapture of the Complete Action Fields step

 

Fill in the four action fields with the following values, with the appropriate modifications as necessary:

URL: https://www.example.com/wp-json/micropub/1.0/endpoint

Be sure to change example.com to the appropriate URL for your website. If you’re using a platform that isn’t WordPress in combination with the Micropub plugin, you can quickly find your appropriate endpoint by looking at your homepage’s source for a <link> element with a rel="micropub" attribute.

Method: POST
Content Type: application/x-www-form-urlencoded

More advanced users might experiment with other content types, but this will naturally require different data and formatting in the Body section.

Body: 

The Body portion is one of the most complicated portions of the operation, because this is where you can get creative in how you fill this out and the end results you end up with on your website. You can use the available variables in the recipe to custom create almost anything you like and some services will give you a tremendous amount of flexibility. I’ll walk through a handful of the most common options and then tie them all together at the end. Ultimately the Body will be a string of various commands that indicate the data you want to send to your website and all of those commands will be strung together with an ampersand character (“&“) between each of them.

There are some small differences you may want to experiment with in terms of what you put in the Body field based on whether or not you’re using the Post Kinds plugin to create your posts and reply contexts or if you’re not. 

Depending on which pieces you choose, I recommend doing a few test runs for your applets to make sure that they work the way you expect them to. (The Micropub plugin has a setting to mark incoming posts automatically as drafts, so you’re not spamming your readers while you’re testing options if you’re testing this on a live site.) Sometimes formatting issues (particularly with setting a publish time) may cause the post to fail. In these cases, experiment to find and excise the offending code and see if you can get things working with minimal examples before adding additional data/details.

For those who would like to get into more advanced territory with the programming and methods, I recommend looking at the W3C’s Webmention specification

The first thing you’ll want in the Body will be your access token. This is similar to a password that allows the webhook to publish from IFTTT to your website. You’ll want a line that reads as follows with the AccessTokenHere replaced with the access token from your token provider which you created earlier and saved. You’ll want to keep this secret because it acts like a password for allowing remote applications to post to your website.

access_token=AcessTokenHere

Next will come the content you want to be published to your site.

&content=<<<{{EntryTitle}}<br>{{EntryPublished}}>>>

I’ll mention that the content snippet can include almost anything you’d like using the variables provided by IFTTT as well as a reasonable variety of HTML. I’ve used it to add things like <blockquotes> for annotations and even <audio> tags for making listen posts or bookmarking audio with Huffduffer!

The following snippet tells your site what kind of content it’s receiving. Unless you’re doing something more exotic than bookmarks, likes, favorites, replies, or most post kinds (except maybe events), you’ll want to use the h-entry snippet as follows:

&h=entry

If you’d like your post to contain a formal title, then you’ll want to include the following code snippet. Generally with shorter content like notes/status updates, bookmarks, reads, likes, etc., I follow the practice of publishing titleless posts when they’re not required, so I personally skip this piece in most of my posts, but some may wish to include it.

&name=<<<{{Title}}>>>

To have your website create or use the correct category or tag taxonomies on your posts, you’ll want to have something similar to the following snippet. If you want to specify more than one category, just string them together with ampersands. If your category/tag has a blank space in it you can replace the spaces with %20. The Micropub server on your site should automatically check to see if you have categories or tags that match what is sent, otherwise it will create a new tag(s).

&category[]=Bookmark&category[]=Social%20Stream

I’ve found that in practice, some silos that allow for multiple tags will actually publish them via micropub using something along the lines of the following if the  appropriate variables on IFTTT exist. In these cases, I append this to the other categories and tags I want to specify.

&category[]=<<<{{Tags}}>>>

If you’re using your Pocket account to send your bookmarked articles to read later, you’ll want to create a bookmark with the following line:

&bookmark-of=<<<{{EntryUrl}}>>>

Alternatively, if you were using your Pocket account to archive your articles once you’ve actually read them, you could have IFTTT post these archived items as “reads” to your site by choosing the “New Item Archived” element in the Pocket portion of the IF set up process. Here you’d replace the above bookmark-of line with the following:

&read-of=<<<{{EntryUrl}}>>>

If you were creating different sorts of posts you might also use the appropriate alternate verbiage: like-of, watch-of, listen-of, rsvp, etc. (find details for the appropriate mark up on the IndieWeb wiki or the correct microformats v2 property within the code for the Post Kinds plugin). If you are using the Post Kinds plugin, this is the piece of data that it receives to specify the correct post kind and create the reply context for your post and will likely preclude you from needing to send any data in the content portion (above) unless the services applet will let you send additional commentary or notes that you want to appear in the body of your post.

Next, if your site supports syndication links with a plugin like Syndication Links for WordPress, you would use the following line of code so that those are set and saved properly. (This presumes that the URL specified is the permalink of the content on the social silo. I’ll note that Pocket doesn’t provide these (easily) as most of their links are canonical ones for the original content, so I don’t use this on my IFTTT recipe for my Pocket workflow, but I do use it for others like Huffduffer and Reading.am. It conveniently allows me to find copies of my content elsewhere on the web.)

&syndication=<<<{{EntryUrl}}>>>

If you’d like to have the timestamp on your post match the time when you actually bookmarked the item in Pocket, you’ll need to add the following line of code. Without this line, the publication time will match the time of the Webhook action, which for most IFTTT things can be a delay of a minute or two up to an hour or more afterwards. In practice, I’ve noticed that most content posts to my website within about 10-15 minutes of the original, and this is based on the polling lag within IFTTT checking your triggers. (Sadly, I’ll report that I’ve never gotten this code snippet to work for me in practice, and I suspect it may be because the time format from IFTTT doesn’t match what is expected by the Micropub server on my website. Perhaps David Shanske or Ryan Barrett may have a more specific idea about what’s causing this or suggest a fix? I’ll try to dig into it shortly if I can. As a result, I generally have left this snippet of code off of my triggers and they’ve worked fine as a result. Until this issue might be fixed, if you want to have the exact timestamp, you could alternately include the data, if provided, in the content section instead and then copy it over manually after-the-fact.)

&published=<<<{{EntryPublished}}>>>

If you’ve got syndication endpoints set up properly with something like the Syndication Links plugin, you can use the following sort of code snippet. I generally eschew this and prefer to save my posts as drafts for potential modification prior to publishing publicly, but others may have different needs, so I’m including the option for relative completeness so people can experiment with it if they like.

&mp-syndicate-to[]=twitter-bridgy

This concludes the list of things that might commonly be included in the Body portion of the IFTTT applet. Tying these all together for combination in the Post Kinds Plugin one would want something along the lines of :

Body: access_token=AccessTokenHere&content=<<<{{EntryTitle}}<br> {{EntryPublished}}>>>&h=entry&category[]=Bookmark&category[]=Social%20Stream&bookmark-of=<<<{{EntryUrl}}>>>

Here’s another example of the code I use in conjunction with a similar applet for Diigo, a bookmarking service. The “Description” portion allows me to add a note or comment on the bookmark when I make it and that note is transported over to the post on my website as well.

Body: access_token=AccessTokenHere&content=<<<{{Description}}>>>&h=entry&category[]=Bookmark&category[]=Social%20Stream&category[]=<<<{{Tags}}>>>&bookmark-of=<<<{{Url}}>>>

Note that when the string of commands is done, you do not need to have a trailing ampersand. Most of the examples I’ve used are from the Pocket set up within IFTTT, but keep in mind that other services on the platform may use alternate variable names (the portion in the braces {{}}). The differences may be subtle, but they are important so be careful not to use {{EntryTitle}} if your specific recipe expects {{Title}}.

To finish off making your new applet, click on the “Create Action” button. (If necessary, you can test the applet and come back to modify it later.)

Finally, give your applet an appropriate tile and click the “Finish” button. For my Pocket applet I’ve used the name “Pocket bookmark PESOS Micropub to WordPress”.

Screencapture of the Review and Finish page on IFTTT

Now that your applet is finished, give it a whirl and see if it works the way you expect! Don’t feel discouraged if you run into issues, but try experimenting a bit to see if you can get the results you’d like to see on your website. You can always go back to your applet recipe and modify it if necessary.

Conclusion

Hopefully everyone has as much fun as I’ve had using this workflow to post to their websites. It may take some patience and experimentation to get things the way you’d like to have them, but you’re likely to be able to post more easily in the future. This will also let you own your data as you create it while still interacting with your friends and colleagues online.

I know that it may be possible to use other services like Zapier, Integromat, Automate.io, or other similar services instead of IFTTT though some of these may require paid accounts. I’d love to see what sorts of things people come up with for using this method for owning their own data. Can you think of other services that provide webhooks for potential use in combination with Micropub? (Incidentally, if this is your first foray into the Micropub space, be sure to check out the wealth of free Micropub clients you can use to publish directly to your website without all of the set up and code I’ve outlined above!)

Currently I’m using similar workflows to own my data from social services including Pocket, Diigo, Huffduffer, Reading.am, YouTube, Meetup/Google Calendar, and Hypothes.is. I’ve got several more planned shortly as well.

Thanks once again to Charlotte Allen and subsequently Jan-Lukas Else for the idea of using Micropub this way. Their initial documentation was invaluable to me and others are sure to find it useful. Charlotte has some examples for use with Facebook and Instagram and Jan-Lukas’ example may be especially helpful for those not using WordPress-specific solutions.

And as always, a big thank you to the entire IndieWeb community for continuing to hack away at making the web such a fun and vibrant space by making the small building blocks that make all of the above and so much more possible.

Web client crashing Chrome frequently when adding tags

Filed an Issue Hypothesis (GitHub)
Annotate with anyone, anywhere. https://hypothes.is/ Contribute to hypothesis/h development by creating an account on GitHub.
I’m currently using Chrome Version 79.0.3945.117 (Official Build) (64-bit) via the chrome extension on Windows 10 (v1809) and I’m noticing just within the last two weeks that as I’m typing within the H interface that Chrome suddenly crashes.

All of the crashes have occurred as I’m adding one or more tags to an annotation/highlight. I haven’t experienced a crash while creating annotation text.

The crash is immediate and complete and doesn’t just take out the individual tab, but the entirety of the Chrome processes. While it’s possible that this could be a Chrome issue, I’ve not experienced any crashes with any other websites in ages. I also know that there has been some new code and UI work around the interface and the way that tags are displayed in the public H product.

My initial guess is that something may be happening within the memory/caching as H tries to pull past tags from the server to guess what I’m typing.

I’ve alternated with using Firefox and the bookmarklet and have yet to see an issue with crashes there.

Annotated An Outline for Using Hypothesis for Owning your Annotations and Highlights by Chris AldrichChris Aldrich (boffosocko.com)

Create an IFTTT.com recipe to port your Hypothesis RSS feed into WordPress posts. Generally chose an “If RSS, then WordPress” setup and use the following data to build the recipe:

Input feed: https://hypothes.is/stream.atom?user=username (change username to your user name)
Optional title: {{EntryTitle}}
Body: {{EntryContent}} from {{EntryUrl}}
{{EntryPublished}}

Categories: Highlight (use whatever categories you prefer, but be aware they’ll apply to all your future posts from this feed)
Tags: hypothes.is
Post status (optional): I set mine to “Draft” so I have the option to keep it privately or to publish it publicly at a later date.

Posting this solely to compare my Hypothes.is highlights and annotations on my website with Will’s version.

I’m still tinkering with mine and should have a Micropub based version using IFTTT and Webhooks done soon.

Replied to a tweet by Hungry Bread ElevatorHungry Bread Elevator (Twitter)
Some of the off-label uses of Hypothes.is have been enumerated lately, including some I’ve mentioned.

I’ve tinkered a bit with CROWDLAAERS, but it’s always seemed to me geared toward a very niche audience including teachers potentially using it for grading? Perhaps I’m missing some more of its flexibility? Remi Kalir might be able to help elucidate it or indicate if he’s noticed anyone using it for off-label usage.

I might see it being more useful if one could analyze site-wide annotations on a domain with a wild-card search of this sort: https://tomcritchlow.com/*.

I have to imagine that it would be cool to see all the annotations and conversations across something like the New York Times with a data visualization tool like this.

Jon Udell and gang are aware of Webmention, but haven’t pulled the trigger (yet) on making the decision to build them in. I’ve outlined some methods for making their platform a bit more IndieWeb friendly by adding markup and some additional HTML to allow people to force the system to be able to send webmentions. I do frequently use Jon’s facet tool to check highlighting and annotation activity on my website.

I have found Crowdlaaers useful several times in that I’m aware that some pages are annotated, but they’re either not public or are part of other groups for which I’m not a member. An example of this is this page on my website which has one annotation which I can’t see, but by using Crowdlaaers, I can. Another example is viewing annotations on sites that have subsequently blocked Hypothes.is like this example. Of course, sometimes you’ll do this and find odd bugs floating around in the system.

 

Read about CROWDLAAERS (crowdlaaers.org)
Welcome to the “Crowd Layers” dashboard, a public service for ​Capturing and Reporting Open Web Data for Learning Analytics, Annotation, and Education Researchers ​(CROWDLAAERS). This real-time dashboard visualizes group – or ​crowd​ – discourse ​layers​ added via Hypothesis open web annotation to online documents. Developed by researchers at the University of Colorado Denver, CROWDLAAERS visualizes social learning analytics associated with open and collaborative web annotation. The dashboard has been iteratively designed in partnership with educators and researchers to support the social life of reading and the social life of documents across the open and annotated web.
Read Hypothesis for Web Developers by Jon Udell (Hypothesis)
We’ve written a lot here about Hypothesis for teachers and students, for publishers, for fact checkers, for reviewers and curators of scholarly literature, and for any individual or team that gathers and organizes pieces of web content. One constituency we haven’t addressed, though, is web developers. Annotation enlarges the web’s surface area. Formerly we could locate resources identified by billions of URLs. Now we can also locate segments defined within those billions of resources. It was already true that the emergent properties of the URL-addressable web continued to surprise me on a regular basis. Nowadays annotation delivers even more delightful surprises. Here’s the latest one, and it’s a real mind-expander.
Replied to a tweet by Dr. Ryan StraightDr. Ryan Straight (Twitter)
What a great prompt! Here are a few interesting off-label use cases I’ve used, imagined, or seen in the wild:

Greg McVerry, Ian O’Byrne, and I have integrated Hypothes.is into our digital/online commonplace books in different ways. Greg’s are embedded at https://jgregorymcverry.com/annotations, Ian discusses his process on his site, while mine show up as annotation or highlight posts.

I’ve not published the full idea yet, but I’ve spent some time contemplating using Hypothes.is as a blogging platform/CMS. It might require a bit of flexibility, but it generally has reasonable support for:

  • Writing posts with a reasonably full-featured text editor and the ability to edit and delete posts later;
  • HTML and markdown support;
  • Public and private posting as well as sharing content with other private groups;
  • The ability to reply to other websites;
  • The ability for others to comment on your posts natively;
  • A robust tagging functionality;
  • The ability to socially bookmark web pages (blank page notes);
  • An RSS feed;
  • The ability to share posts to other social platforms including meta data for Twitter cards;
  • Naturally, it’s very easy to use for writing short notes, creating highlights and annotations, and keeping track of what you’ve read;
  • It has a pseudo-social media functionality in that your public posts appear on a global timeline where people can read and interact with them.
  • It’s also opensource, so you can self-host, modify it, or add new features.

I have been personally using Hypothes.is to follow the public feed, several tag feeds, and several friends’ specific feeds as a discovery tool for finding interesting content to read.

And a final off-label use case that could be compelling, but which could have some better UI and integration would be to use Hypothes.is as an embeddable commenting system for one’s own website. It has in-line commenting in much the same way that Medium does, but the entire thing could likely be embedded into a comment section under a traditional blog post and be used in much the same way people use Disqus on blogs. I’ll note that in practice, I find Hypothes.is far faster than Disqus ever was. I’ve yet to see anyone offloading the commenting functionality of their blog this way, but I’d be willing to bet dollars to donuts that someone could hack it together as a simple iframe or via the API pretty quickly and with solid results.

And naturally I’m missing many, potentially including some I’ve thought about before. Maybe worth checking the old Hypothes.is tag in my digital notebook?

If people have others, I’m enamored to hear them.