I've IndieWebbed My Site

1 April 2024 3 Minutes History

A small, loose collection of formats and protocols, IndieWeb is an interesting supplement (maybe alternative) to social media


The IndieWeb is a small and loose collection of formats and protocols which allow those of us with our own sites to identify each other and their content across the web. Even that description is a bit much - there's only the webmention protocol and a couple so-called microformats for identifying people and content.

Obviously I own my own site, and I had to do very little work to ensure that the markup of this site conformed to the flexible specifications of the microformats. With this all in place, I can authenticate myself using my site, others can identify me by my domain, y'all can scrape my site for posts, and more. This gives a common foundation for individuals to be able to control their own content and exposure to the wider web. By using the h-card microformat to link to each other across blogs, it also decentralizes the relationships between this content, obivating the utility of scoail media platforms as providers of these relationships.

The glue that holds it together is the webmention protocol. This is a simple way for someone who publishes content to notify another when an author mentions someone on their site, the idea being that each person maitains a listener at a certain endpoint (identified by a <link rel="webmention"> header tag) that will listen for and save pings from others, and then display them on their site. My webmention URL is https://webmention.io/ian.wold.guru/webmention, and if you webmention one of my posts it wil lshow up at the bottom of the post! The other half is publishing of course - I'm working on a clean way for this site's build pipeline to send these pings. The tricky part is a ping should only be sent once, when the mention is first published. I used the excellent site webmention.io In order to set up receiving and querying webmentions. A simple script queries webmentions for each article and displays them.

The IndieWeb wiki was an excellent resource that got me quite excited about the potential for this idea. The intent seems to be that this is a supplement to social media, but I see potential in it as an alternative to social media. I'm not a fan of any of the social platforms nowadays, and attempts at federated platforms like Mastodon don't seem to provide all that much for me. The notion that I might be able to replace the conversation aspect of social media with something as simple as the IndieWeb is attractive.

I'd encourage everyone with their own site to implement at least the IndieWeb formats. IndieWebify.me is great for testing your site, and there's a lot more resources in the wiki. If you're not so keen on coding your own site and want to use a hosting provider instead, it happens that WordPress will have no problem IndieWebifying you, and there's several other hosts you can consider as well. Finally, there are chats set up in Slack, IRC, and Discord to help get going.

Is there some IndieWeb component which I'm missing on this site but I should include? Webmention me and I'll set it up; this is an ongoing project for me!

Hi, I'm Ian

I'm a software engineer, architect, and team leader in Minneapolis. My career has largely focused on .NET and web technologies, spread across several industries. Currently I'm working for Crate & Barrel on their ecommerce solutions. You can find me on this blog, contributing to open source repositories, and at conferences around the Midwest.

If you'd like to keep up with me, please subscribe to my book club or RSS feed. If you'd like to help me out with server costs, I would be forever grateful if you bought me a coffee!

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