My IndieWeb areas of interest

I am planning to attend the next Homebrew Website Club meeting in Portland, and have been thinking about IndieWeb areas in which I have an interest. Here are some topics I would be interested in discussing this week…

Having a conversation

If I want to have a conversation with someone, how should I go about doing that? If I read a post by someone and want to respond, should I try writing my own comment and linking to their site to see if they have webmention support? Should I try to comment directly on their site? What about contacting them on IRC? What if they aren’t on IRC right then?How do I decide how the person wants to be contacted? (look at their h-card info?) It is a bit confusing to me.

Following other sites

Another area of interest is how to follow what other people are posting. Do IndieWeb sites have feeds, and how do I find them? I looked at my own site, and realized to my horror that there was nothing there indicating my feeds! I hurriedly looked through my WordPress widgets, found the one with the RSS feeds, and added that to my home page. I am also interested in seeing if my theme supports other types of feeds based on posts. Since there is a status post, I wonder if the theme creates a feed with just status posts, or if the theme supports feeds for categories. Jeena from Sweden writes about the “indie feed reader” problem. I installed Tiny Tiny RSS, then started adding some IndieWeb sites, and saw that Aaron Parecki, Amber Case, and Tantek Celik do not appear to produce feeds from their sites. I looked around on the IndieWebCamp site, and saw pages on feeds, feed readers, and using microformat parsers to read/follow websites that use microformat markup. Whew! It looks like there are lots of options, but nothing that is very user-friendly. Maybe that means there is an opportunity here…

Curating the web

Finally I am interested in tools to help me curate the web. I currently follow Dave Winer’s River of News web site, where he publishes “rivers” of RSS content on various topics. When I look at these rivers on my Samsung Galaxy S3 using Google Chrome, I scan through the list of news items, and create a new tab for items I want to read. If I want to keep a record of an article or post, I share the URL to Todo.txt, then edit my todo.txt file and copy those links to another text file that I have on my PC. If I am reading articles on my PC and find something that I want to record, I copy the link to my text file, and usually try to copy the title of the article or write a comment below the link to describe what it is. If I want to find something, I do a search of the text file with whatever terms I can remember. I don’t do any tagging or any other categorization, so this is primarily a link dump. I would like to do more in this area. I would also like to be able to publish rivers on my site. I know about Planet and Sam Ruby’s Venus. I am using Venus to power a river of news for one of my websites, but again it was not as user-friendly as I would like, and had problems in displaying embedded videos. Again, maybe there is an opportunity here…

My notes from the Homebrew Website Meeting – PDX

I made it to the Portland Homebrew Website meeting in Portland yesterday evening. This was my first time to attend, and I enjoyed the discussions. I said that I was approaching things from the user point of view, that I have just started adding IndieWeb features to my WordPress website, and that I felt I could add value by writing up my experiences and creating screencasts. The video link between Portland and San Francisco was nice to have, but the sound part wasn’t too good. Overall, everyone was very welcoming. Thanks to Mozilla for hosting!

One topic I asked about was the POSSE concept, and how that contrasts with people’s use of IRC. My observation was that some people do not post often on their site, but spend a lot of time talking with people on IRC. I thought that Aaron Parecki’s explanation of IRC as “quick communication” was good.

I have only been working on IndieWeb stuff for a few weeks, so some things (like IRC and Twitter) are still a little new to me. I’ll keep working on it, though!

Testing the WordPress Webmention plugin

I am testing webmentions on my site, I am linking back to another post.

Thanks to Kartik Prahbu on the IndieWebCamp IRC channel for posting a webmention to one of my posts, I was able to see the comment in my moderation panel!

I did have a question about my testing, and I am adding this information to hopefully get some help from others.

Looking at my curl response, I wonder why it would have a 404 Not Found message even though I was able to see the webmention comment. Here is a screenshot:

WebmentionTest01

 

Any comments?

Matt is working on testing webmentions, let’s see if this makes it back!

 

First Steps in Using IndieAuth

IndieAuth is an alternative authentication system to OpenID. It allows you to use your own website as a login mechanism. My first step in using IndieAuth was to be able to log into the IndieWebCamp website. I checked the HTML for my Bio widget, and saw that my links to Twitter, Github and LinkedIn had the proper rel=me links per this IndieWebCamp page . I was then able to create my user page.

I then followed the instructions at https://indieauth.com/#documentation to allow users to sign into my website. To set this up, I added a Text widget with the following text:

TextWidgetIndieAuth

After moving the widget to just below my Bio widget, it looks like this:

IndieAuthForm

I then tested this with my domain (http://andysylvester.com). I saw that I was able to authenticate with one of my social network identities, but then I was directed to some other page that did not mean much to me:

ExampleDomain

I then clicked on the link within the page, but it took me to the IANA main site – ugh.

IANA

Finally, I installed the IndieAuth WordPress plugin and repeated the above steps from my form, and saw the same results. However, I saw a difference in my WordPress login page after activating the plugin:

WPLogin

 

I entered my domain and was able to authenticate, but then got a message that I did not have an account associated with that website. I will have to look more into this topic.

 

Experimenting with the Social plugin for WordPress

When I installed the FavePersonal theme for my weblog, it included the Social plugin for WordPress. I did some experiments with the Twitter broadcast mode, making posts using the Status tab in the editor.

EditPost

 

I entered text and a URL at the end, but my weblog did not display the link as active:

Post01

 

The link did appear active in Twitter, though:

Tweet01

 

Next, I entered text and a link again, and this one did display the link on the weblog:

Post02

 

I think that the problem was that there was a colon before the link in the first example, I will have to perform some more tests for that problem.

I also decided to change the template for the tweet. Here is how the initial default setting appears in the Social settings page:

Social01

 

The format is:

{title}: {content} {url}

This resulted in this tweet:

Tweet01

I decided to remove the URL field so that it now looks like:

{title}: {content}

This resulted in this tweet:

Tweet02

I started adding more than 140 characters to see if the Social plugin would shorten the URL at the end of the post, but it did not perform any shortening. If I want to shorten URLs in a post, it looks like I will need to find a URL shortener plugin or use a service like Bitly.

Overall, the Social plugin meets my needs (I don’t have a Facebook account, so I don’t know how well that part works). I will probably try other plugins like Jetpack to see how they work.