The IndieWeb and Webmentions

I’ve been reading about the IndieWeb, and particularly about the Webmention internet standard lately. The whole concept of controlling your own content on the internet, “POSSE” (post on your own site, syndicate elsewhere), and making cross site commenting and mentions possible, immediately clicked with me.

A brief explanation of Webmentions:

Webmentions allow notifications between web addresses. If both sites are set up to send and receive them, the system works like this:

1. Alice has a website where she writes an article about her rocket engine hobby.

2. Bob has his own website where he writes a reply to Alice’s article. Within his reply, Bob includes the permalink URL of Alice’s article.

3. When Bob publishes his reply, his publishing software automatically notifies Alice’s server that her post has been linked to by the URL of Bob’s reply.

4. Alice’s publishing software verifies that Bob’s post actually contains a link to her post and then (optionally) includes information about Bob’s post on her site; for example, displaying it as a comment.

A Webmention is simply an @mention that works from one website to another!

If she chooses, Alice can include the full text of Bob’s reply—along with his name, photo, and his article’s URL (presuming he’s made these available)—as a comment on her original post. Any new readers of Alice’s article can then see Bob’s reply underneath it. Each can carry on a full conversation from their own websites and in both cases display (if they wish) the full context and content.

Chris Aldrich – Webmentions: Enabling Better Communication on the Internet

For the last few days I’ve been trying to implement different elements, like h-cards and webmentions, to make this website IndieWeb compliant. I’ve had to make serious changes to the sites theme, so it isn’t going to look quite the same after I’m done.

This site uses a self-hosted WordPress site, so I’ve been using this guide on the IndieWebCamp wiki with some limited success. The validating tools found here still throw out some errors, such as “A h-card was found on your site, but it’s not marked up as the representative h-card“, and I haven’t figured out how to add a profile photo. I’ll have to figure out how to fix or properly implement all this using the appropriate plug-ins.

Besides the proper implementation, there are some minor issues I’ve discovered with some of the plug-ins not interacting quite as expected. For example, WordPress’s new Guggenheim editor doesn’t allow you to set your IndieWeb post kind so you need to revert to the classic editor to set this, and the webmention form didn’t play nice with the comment system I had implemented (they overdrew each other).

Overall though, its been an interesting journey.

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