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Greg McVerry

What exactly is #indieweb and how can we talk about it?

4 min read

Across the numerous indieweb channels people have started to talk about how to discuss indieweb as the community and tools evolve into versions 2, 3, 4. Folks refer to these more as generations rather than traditional version conventions used in software development.

The basic gist of the problem to me boiled down to mission, audience, and purpose.

First and foremost the community is guided by a  set of principles. You can read those here.  Not suprisingly  these principles jhave much in common with open source communities like Mozilla and our manifestoDrupal and Wordpress community leaders and members share much of this ethos. Domain's of Own's Own is basically the in education circles.

Is the community different? Same? Both?

While I got some pushback I noted that the what makes the different is the adherence to specific protocolos to  support the Publish on Your Own Site and Syndicate Elsewhere (POSSE) philosophy.

It is that philosophy that I can introduce to new users. That's my elevator pitch.

The implementation of POSSE  usually involves some combination of MicroPub,an API standard; Microsub, a newer standard that manages subscriptions; Microformats, an html extension that allow sitse to publish a standard API other sites can consume; and webmentions, which is a standard that allows you to track mentions of a link across the web.

While none or all of these tools are required to make a site "indieweb" having a focus on human readable (versus machine readable stuff that focuses JSON-LD for example) mark-ups and semantics is a major focus of . It is a pluralistic user-centric approach to the web.

Putting the users in control of their data, on their own site, and connecting to others through open standards and inter-operability. Sounds like a web I want.

As stated, and most did not agree with me, that the community is very united behind these APIs, standards, and mark-up techniques. In fact it is this loyalty that makes the community different than other "open web" communitities.

The problem moving forward: communicating this to non-technical readers. I mean, I barely understand the last few paragraphs I wrote.

Describing

As Eddie noted the challenge we were discussing was,  "trying to figure out a way to explain if a Micropub/Microsub client can work with a given service without using protocol names that can be confused for Gen 3/4 users"

Here were some ideas I had. These are just mine and do not reflect the opinions of others:

  • For individual blogs I suggested a badge (one exists) that people can add to their blogs after running their site through a validator. This just helps with overall mission and branding while providing scaffolded support for new community members.
  • I would suggest the language around, "This site  is indieweb powered...again more market penetration language) by tools to support the principles of our community. Different APIs and protocols allow us to publish on our own site, share our work across many networks, and collect mentions of our work across the social web.
  • For folks like Swerty who have released a client into the wild (an awesome aAndroid app called indigenous currently in Alpha) there needs to be langauge about compatibility. I think here you need to mention specific protocols since different sites may use different idieweb tools. Maybe something like This app is indieweb compatible. It will publish to any indiweb powered site by using MicroPub and it also supports webmentions. No need for a validation tool. If the product doesn't work no one will use it.