Exploring Pine.blog

I’d noticed Pine.blog before at a previous IndieWebCamp, but not had time to delve into it very deeply. Seeing some of what Brian Schrader has been working on while following IndieWebCamp Austin remotely this weekend has reminded about the project. As a result, I’ve been spending some time tonight to check out some of the functionality that it’s offering. In part, I’m curious how similar, or not, it is to what Micro.blog is offering specifically with respect to the idea of IndieWeb as a Service which I’ve recently begun documenting. It’s always great to see the growing diversity and plurality of solutions in the space.

My brief prior experience with the platform was simply adding my website to their discovery service. Tonight I’ve found that Pine.blog has got a very pretty little feed reader experience with some fun discovery functionality. You can apparently create multiple timelines to follow content, but one needs a paid account for more than one timeline. It allows both following sites as well as recommending them to others. It also appears that Brian is supporting the rel=”payment” microformat as I see at least one feed that has a “$ Support” button in the Pine.blog interface to allow me to go to the site’s payment page to support it. I think this may be one of the first times I’ve seen this functionality in an app in the wild outside of the Overcast podcast app which added it a couple of years ago.

It has webmention support, so I can “like” things within the reader and notify others. Without a paid account I don’t see the ability to reply to or mention other sites though. It also looks like it allows for import/export of OPML too, though I haven’t tried it out yet–I can only test drive so many feed readers at a time and Indigenous is taking up all of my bandwidth at present.

I do wonder a bit about potentially importing/exporting my content if I were to go all-in on Pine.blog. I’d bet the idea is on the product map, but that’s a huge bit of work to build without a paid user base to support it. I’d personally want at least an export function if I were to change over, though I’m more likely to want to dovetail my own site with it much the way I’m currently doing with Micro.blog.

It looks like it should be able to post to my website, but I’m finding the “publish” and “preview” buttons don’t work–perhaps I need a paid account for this functionality? Of course, I only see UI to provide pine.blog with my URL and my account name, but it hasn’t authenticated using a password or other method, so perhaps that portion isn’t finished? I’ll circle back around to it later when I do a free trial. I do notice that Brian, the developer of the project, has an account on pine.blog which is mirrored on one of his subdomains running WordPress. Quirkily I’ve noticed that the header on his main website changes to alternately serve the pine.blog version and the WordPress version!

More to come as I continue exploring… Later on I’ll take a look at some of their paid functionality, but for now, it’s a pretty compelling set of features and some well-laid out user interface to start. I look forward to seeing how it continues to evolve.

Bookmarked Twitter OPML Export by Luca HammerLuca Hammer (opml.glitch.me)
Get websites and RSS Feeds of the people you follow on Twitter. Import the OPML-file with your favorite feedreader.
I love nothing more than OPML related tools! I just finished exporting all of my YouTube subscriptions the other day, now I can get the RSS feeds from the websites of all the people I’m following on Twitter?! This is awesome. I’ll need to work out how I might be able to import it all into my following page.

As I look at this wonderful little app, I can’t help but think at how nice it might be if they added the SubToMe universal following button for these. I haven’t looked in a while, but it’s possible that the Feed.ly integration for SubToMe needed a tweak to get it working again.

Today I exported all my YouTube subscriptions as an OPML file and imported them to my website’s following page (aka blogroll). I still have a bit of clean up to do to categorize and present them all the way I’d like, but I’ve got a huge start on it.

I’m hoping now that I’ve cut the cord, I’ll be able to use my various feed readers to watch and stream more video content.

It’s amazing how many inactive channels I was following. 

Special thanks to Martijn van der Ven who had done some great research on YouTube Atom feeds and OPML and created documentation on the IndieWeb wiki YouTube page.

I finally mucked about a bit and updated my Following Page (aka blogroll) on my website.

Because I was using some quirky gymnastics and a hacked up plugin, I’ve now been able to define a custom page and page content so that the explanation of the page appears at the top rather than at the bottom as before.

Viva the blogroll! Viva OPML! Viva RSS!

Replied to a thread on RSS and blogrolls by Andy Bell, Stuart Langridge, and Hidde (Twitter)
Blogrolls? Those are like Twitter lists for the cognoscenti right? 😉

Seriously, I’ve resurrected mine a while back too. And included sub-sectioned OPML files just for kicks.

More details on the project and implications for the future: https://boffosocko.com/2019/06/18/from-following-posts-and-blogrolls-following-pages-with-opml-to-microsub-servers-and-readers/

 

Replied to Return of the blog roll by Hidde de Vries (hiddedevries.nl)
Personal blogs are making a comeback among web folks. I like this. I have even gone so far as to add a blog roll to this site, so that you can see which blogs I like to read (fwiw). Personal blogs FTW When I started getting interested in the web, about 15 years ago, blogs were how I learned new stuf...
It’s great to see blogrolls slowly, but surely making a comeback! I’ve got one too. I’m curious if you provide an OPML file as well?
Bookmarked Blogroll by Dan MacKinlay (danmackinlay.name)

Make your own automatic blogroll

This is the script I use to generate a blogroll from my OPML:

#! /usr/bin/env python3
"""
Parse OPML into markdown.
"""
import sys
import re
from xml.etree import ElementTree


def main(fname):
    with open(fname, 'r', encoding='utf8') as fp:
        tree = ElementTree.parse(fp)
    for cat_node in tree.find('body').findall('outline'):
        print("\n## {}\n".format(cat_node.get('title')))
        for node in cat_node.findall('outline'):
            name = node.attrib.get('text')
            feedurl = node.attrib.get('xmlUrl')
            url = node.attrib.get('htmlUrl')
            print("* [{}]({}) ([feed]({}))".format(name, url, feedurl))


if __name__ == "__main__":
    main(*sys.argv[1:])
Replied to a tweet by Mathew IngramMathew Ingram (Twitter)
Discovery can definitely be a bear. Interestingly I came to your tweet through a handful of related blogposts via a feedreader from a random OPML file, so apologies for the late reply.

I keep an old school blogroll, but it got so big I made it an entire page. It’s split out by a few broad categories, but there are OPML linked files by category at the bottom to let you follow it all or pick your poisons. Hopefully you’ll find some fun and interesting gems hiding in there.

You might find some interesting feeds by clicking around within Dave Winer’s http://feedbase.io/ which will uncover some interesting active feeds. Best yet, it has lots of OPML files everywhere so you can quickly follow a lot.

Matthias Ott’s post Into the Personal-Website-Verse was at the top of Hacker News earlier this week. Both his post and the HN post have lists of people with websites that could be interesting and useful to follow for voices on the web.

You also might take a look at some of the details and resources on the discovery, blogroll, and even webring pages within the IndieWeb wiki. Not to be missed is Kicks Condor’s hrefhunt. Andy Bell also had a project to highlight personalsit.es.

In a somewhat related question, but from the other perspective (especially for journalism), I’m curious if you have any thoughts on: How to follow the complete output of journalists and other writers?

 

 

Read Feeds for journalists (leibniz.me)
This year started with a small project I really like: Feeds for Journalists, by Dave Winer. The idea is that RSS is still a valid technology to get an effective and unbiased flow of news. As he puts it, after reading a tweet by Mathew Ingram: If you’re a journalist a...
Found this while sifting through some OPML files.
Bookmarked WordPress by Jan Bozzez (janboddez.tech)
Through the years, I’ve created a few (child) themes and plugins for WordPress. Some of them are described below, and more will surely follow.
Jan has some awesome IndieWeb-esqe plugins for WordPress, how have I not seen these before?! If David Shanske hasn’t seen them yet, he definitely should be aware of them.

We should definitely add some of these to the IndieWeb wiki as necessary.

Jan if you’d like to join a group of us helping to improve the web standards and IndieWeb-friendliness of WordPress, do reach out.

Replied to Networking as Time Saving by Jane Van GalenJane Van Galen (Teaching and Learning on the Open Web)

We talked in our group last week about the time that it requires to develop course websites and "open" assignments, and to make new tech function as it should when there may not be enough support, and when these sorts of investments may not be valued in faculty reviews.

I talked briefly about the "innovation" part is often simply building off the work of others, when so many faculty now share their work on the open web.

A great example of this just came through my Twitter feed.  I have a column set up in Tweetdeck  where I'm following the  conference.  With a Tweetdeck column, I can just glance or scroll for a minute between other things I'm doing,  to see if anything looks interesting.  People at this conference are working on open pedagogies, particularly via the Domains of Ones Own work we've talked about.  Most sessions are being live-tweeted, with a rich trove of links.

One attendee Chris Aldrich, has created a Twitter list of past attendees at the conference and others who do work related that that presented at this meeting.   I can skim this to find new people from whom to learn.  I can follow them and then, as I have time, check their Twitter feeds for updates on what they're doing.   If I don't find myself learning from these new follows, I just unfollow and move on.

And inevitably, over months and years, I'll find people who will generously invest in teaching me and others about the work they're doing, about why they're doing it, and about how that work is recieved by their students.

This is the open web I hope we're teaching our students about --  place of innovation, generosity, value-driven discourse and always, always, something new to learn. 

Thanks for the shout out! Making those kinds of lists can certainly be repetitive, time consuming, and thankless. The only thing worse is that hundreds or thousands should try to reinvent the same wheel. 

If you appreciated that bit of trickery, you might better appreciate a more open web version of the same with respect to the following page I made of various people and publications I’m following in my various feed readers. It provides OPML feeds so others can easily import them into their feed readers as well. You can find some additional documentation about it here.

Here’s some additional reading and links for background, if you’re interested.