Sam Wilson's Website

T14: indieweb

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    I'm adding a new url field to Twyne's posts. The idea is that even though a post already has its own URL, oftentimes it's useful to include posts from other websites, and the canonical URL should be used where appropriate. I'm experimenting with making the URL the actual link: so that, for example, a posts' link in on the homepage post-list will go directly to the other site, even though there's a sort-of equivalent local URL for it. Also, in the RSS feed, the link will point to the external URL. Whether this is a good idea I'm not sure, but it does feel like it'll deflect attention from the local site for posts that are really just "retweets" or placeholders for reposts.

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    So Twyne now supports tags. That's good. Bit by bit this is is becoming enough indiewebish for me to actually be able to use it. Can't log in on the phone yet, nor upload photos and have their EXIF data read. But I think possibly I want to add a feed-reader before doing those things, and perhaps geotagging. I dare say it'd be easy to also now add some better POSH/microformats, but actually until I need to consume other sites' HTML I don't feel motivated to improve my own. Certainly higher on the todo list than that is a way to track old URLs (most of which currently lie broken, notably the feed ones which is pretty poor form on my part).

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    WRITING FOR THE INTERNET ACROSS A HUMAN LIFETIME No more walled gardens, no more chains of complexity.

    Today I declare what once was, is again. Never again will I run another invocation of a static site generator or document renderer. 80 to 100 characters per line is and will continue to be maximum width of English documents. No longer do I pull from social networks, but they will pull from me.

    This is MY writing platform. Mine. Me. There is no way to censor or revoke my power. The Internet does not forget one byte, or one bit.

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    I seem to be building a blogging system here that's interspersing blog posts, status updates, photos, and files all together in one timeline. That was my intention of course, but at some point I'm going to have to figure out good ways to create separate streams of things. I'd been thinking that this could be done just with tags, and I think that's probably central to it, but there needs to be some better layouts for different tag results I think. I'm going to start, at least, with a timeline navigation sidebar (sort of akin to Flickr's 'camera roll' page, I guess).

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    There's a discussion on the #indieweb IRC channel (on Freenode) about whether people post to channels like that in order to get wider audiences for what they write, and whether this is in opposition to the indieweb ideal of being able to post on separate sites but still carry on a conversation. I'd not really thought about it clearly before, but I think that's why I don't like posting to channels like that. I like contributing to wikis, where central texts undergo collaborative continued editing, but for discussion it seems that it should be possible to post on one's own site and still be part of the greater to-and-fro. I can't quite do so (for example, with this post) because I've not got webmentions working here yet, but I think the theory is all there. To reply to someone someone else has said (anywhere) I can just make a post here and point it to their URL.

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    One key indieweb idea is that one can create a post wherever and syndicate that post to other sites. I'm attempting to switch completely to first posting on my own site, and then syndicating (i.e. duplicating my posts) on places such as Twitter and Flickr, as well as (for photos) Wikimedia Commons. It's sort of coming into shape, the database that I'm using for all this. It's got a great number of bits that I want to improve, and so sometimes I feel like I'm wasting my time — but then, when I think of all the time I've wasted trying to wrangle other systems into the shape that I want, I think I'm actually moving much faster with this and that it's completely worthwhile.

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    It's obviously the meaning of online writing, the blogiverse, and everything (because of the issue number: https://github.com/samwilson/twyne/issues/42 ) — so I've added support for "syndications" to Twyne. Each post can have a list of URLS (with labels) at which the post is duplicated. This is the first stage to making Twitter and Flickr imports work, so that each post can point back to where it came from (although, the import process will switch things around and pretend that the posts originate on my own site, even though that's not stricktly the case). Hopefully this will work.

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    There's an indieweb meeup this morning, and I'd thought I'd go to it and maybe talk about the vagaries of syndication links in posts (because that's been confusing me), but actually before that I wanted to finish importing my entire Flickr collection to this site — and that's taking longer than I thought it would. I've built the same Flickr importer about three times now, for Piwigo, MediaWiki, and a generic backup tool, but this fourth time is different enough. I'll get it done soon though, and so maybe I'll go to the next meetup.

    Of course, ideally, I'd be able to write about what I'm working on here, and for it to be syndicated into the other feeds etc. — but I've got more work to do here first, and so keep putting off the actual writing.

    In fact, the old truth is rearing its head again: that it's probably not a good idea to write one's own blogging software! I'm ignoring that still though, and having fun.

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    If you've read my previous articles on the IndieWeb, you might be forgiven for thinking that its members are, by and large, loners who keep to themselves.

    Consider the concept of a "like", for example. On a site like Twitter, a like is an action you perform against another person's content; you click the heart icon next to someone's tweet, and the like counter for that tweet goes up. It's an implicit connection between two people - the one who did the liking and the one who received it.

    An IndieWeb "like", on the other hand, is not an action you perform on someone's content, but rather a standalone post that you own and publish to your site. It's a reversal of the way people usually think about the transaction, and it reflects the premium IndieWeb members place on controlling their own content.

    Notably, in the simplest version of this scheme, the person who's post was liked - the likee, I guess? - might not even be aware that anything has happened at all. I mean, how would they? The entire interaction was wholly contained on another site.

    Which is all well and good but also a little...boring? Calling the IndieWeb a "social network" seems like a bit of stretch when you don't even know how many people liked your post. What's the point of it all if you don't get to see a little heart counter going up?

    The problem becomes more obvious when one realizes that the IndieWeb does not prescribe the use of any particular blogging software or, indeed, any particular publishing technology at all (other than the standard machinery of the web, like HTTP, HTML and CSS), so how exactly would one be able to even recognize that a piece of content on someone's website was a "post" that could be "replied to" or "liked" at all?

    Of course, we wouldn't get very far if the IndieWeb community didn't have answers to these questions.

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    Good overview of indieweb things.

    (If I'd implemented webmentions this reply might be useful; as it is, I think no one shall ever see it!)