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My quick thoughts, back stage, and rants as I try to Teach kids about the Web while learning how to help others build a better Web.

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Greg McVerry

Why I chose Known over WordPress #IndieWeb

6 min read


Creative Growth 2013 Home show and fashion show (72) flickr photo by origamiguy1971 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

Plurality stitches a beautiful quilt of complex choices, and each person adds their own unique spin on the  . As long as you wrap yourself in the warmth of building blocks you sew together new connections free of corporate control.

So the correct answer will always remain the one you choose. For me Known provided the solution to my path.

Personal Growth

I am beginning to look at spaces like as an innovation system. Change can only occur with a constant focus on personal growth and learning through agentive apprenticeships.

Recently I moved on from WordPress to Known on my path. This continued my growth as I began to spin up sites on  my school's CMS blogging as a teacher from 2002-2006. I then picked up the patterns of commercial blogging and went to Blogger in 2007.  Then in 2013 I began to weave meaning on WordPress, and then started on Known in 2015.

At first I kept a WordPress as my canonical "digital hub" and just spun up Known instances for different identities like CLMOOC and .

In fact, if you include all my kids' websites I am currently running thirteen instances of Known.

But really it came down to WordPress making it too hard for me to things I knew were quite simple to do in HTML. So I decided to throw up a few static pages on the canonical url https://jgregorymcverry.com and then use Known as my social stream of thought. 

I loved what WordPress enabled me to do but felt to constricted. I wanted to rip off the warmth of such a robust CMS and see how I could do on my own. 

Some Drawbacks

I still get annoyed sometimes at Known for making things complicated. It is a powerful CMS and over time I will probably fold some functionality into my main website but this provides a nice bridge for my knowledge growth.

Known works better on the IndieWeb than WordPress out of the box but it is a really hard box to open. Currently installing and updating Known takes specialized knowledge but plenty of us to help each other learn. Still, if the idea of GitHub, Terminal, Databases scare you then go with WordPress. 

The most friction-free WordPress approach is SemPress. You add that, Classic Editor, IndieWeb plugins and good to go. Everything will auto update.

I still add a page builder on top to get the visual control of pages I want (see main reason I left WordPress I want to control my design). 

How I Roll

It's not just the technical. Known fits my personal goals for growth as a writer and teacher. Out of all the tools out there it makes the best system for a Common Place Book. I set up to-do list, a , have private, public, and member-only posting. The syndication to Twitter works for now (eventually I assume Twitter pulls the plug on all the POSSE fun). 

If you want a private social network (multiuser breaks some functionality around logging in with your own Domain) it is still the best CMS out there. I have really only one question I use when judging my pre-service teachers, "Do I want my kid in your class?" I use Known with all three of my children (6, 7, 10). Known fits the way I teach. I have used Known in the classroom since 2014-2015.

Some Drawbacks

It doesn't always fit my mobile lifestyle. Mainly because of the way TinyMCE, the what you see what you get editor,  is styled, but this is fixable. I need access to source code. 

The status updates have some awesome features that auto converting hashtags and unfurling links but this also means HTML gets sanitized or ignored. Sometimes I just need a box to enter HTML. The current status update doesn't allow this and this messes up some micropub clients. 

Governance Model

Known also has a governance model more aligned to what I want in open source. I love what WordPress does for the web but in the end the ultimate direction of the project relies on a "benevolent dictator for life" model of leadership with Automattic sitting at the top.

This has created great sustainability but just not my style.

Some Drawbacks

Known is now just transferring to an open collective. Who knows what will happen. Still this excites I think we need new economic in the public space.

No structure exists, beyond IRC/Slack for quality control of community plugins. Many malfunction (especially the ones I build).

Predictable and Interesting Road Map

Known has a strong commitment to only using open APIs and protocols. They publish and share the roadmap. I can reliably predict when features get added and bugs squashed. 

I may not know that with WordPress. The WordPress community relies heavily on committed volunteers. The upcoming changes to WordPress as it restructures will require some major retooling. Seemed like a good time to jump ship.

Some Drawbacks

Like WordPress Known development relies primarily on two people: Marcus Povey and Ben Werdmüller but an Open Collective was created and support has started to trickle in. New community members have created plug-ins and PRs.

I am seeing a ton of folks start to spin up a site. Who knows maybe all those who have the PHP  experience and feel abandoned by WordPress may find Known an attractive home.

Choose Your Path

For me means to own your content and control your data, preferably on your own Domain. Everything else after that is extra and a deeply personal choice. 

You can not go wrong with WordPress or Known or so many of the other new blogging tools that include the building blocks to connect to the modern social web. 

 

Greg McVerry

@ChrisAldrich I do the same thing on my . Almost all of it is hidden.

Greg McVerry

Remember 16:00 towels in dryer, heavy duty. Drop one tab in washer. Hit clean cycle.

Greg McVerry

@fncll What is your oldest that is online? We should add that to the wiki, I was so bad at journaling and commonplace book until I started doing all recently from my own domain even added a pinboard to my site: https://quickthoughts.jgregorymcverry.com/tag/pinboard lot of private notes there you can't see

Greg McVerry

update class for comprehension modules

Greg McVerry

Need to do the video on the walk through for build a module. Randomly assign group.

Greg McVerry

I was just logged into Google Keep to find something because it was easier to find than on my blog. Made me want to create an entire bullet blog plugin...then I realized waaay too much work, just going to add tag, can have public and private

Greg McVerry

University Defaults:
Blue: #003399
Yellow: #ffcc00
font-size 100% =1.6em georgia, serif 16px

CLMOOC

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