Ik zag (op Twitter, jawel) dat de video van mijn presentatie op WordCamp Netherlands van afgelopen september is gepubliceerd. De video heb ik aan de presentatie toegevoegd, maar zie je ook hieronder.

Op WordCamp NL deed ik een oproep om standaard microformats en webmention in WordPress core, blocks en themes te ondersteunen zodat de 40% van het web die op WordPress draait ineens ook betekenisvol met elkaar kan verbinden: “WordPress sites tot IndieWeb alleskunners maken”.


Last Tuesday I provided the opening keynote at BeGeo, the annual conference of Belgium’s geospatial sector, organised by the Belgian National Geographic Institute. My talk was part of the opening plenary session, after the welcome by NGI’s administrator-general Ingrid Vanden Berghe, and opening remarks by Belgian Minister for Defence Ludivine Dedonder.

With both the Digital and Data strategies the EU is shaping a geopolitical proposition w.r.t. digitisation and data. Anchored to maximising societal benefits and strengthening citizen rights and European values as measures of success, a wide range of novel legal instruments is being created. Those instruments provide companies, citizens, knowledge institutes and governments alike with new opportunities as well as responsibilities concerning the use of data. The forming of a single European market for data sharing and usage, the EU data space, also has consequences for all applications, including AI and digital twins, that are dependent on that data and produce data in return.

Geo-data has a key role to play, not just in the Green Deal data space, and finds itself at the center of a variety of ethical issues as it is often the linking pin for other data sources. The EU data space will shape the environment in which data and geo-data is being shared and used for the coming decade, and requires elevating the role and visibility of geo data across other sectors. I explored the EU Data space as geo-data’s new frontier, to provide the audience with an additional perspective and some questions for their participation at the BeGeo conference.

The slides are embedded below, which you can also embed in your own website, and can be downloaded as PDF.

Thursday I visited the first day of the two day Netherlands WordCamp that, after a 6 year hiatus, took place again. Some observations:

  • The venue was fun, in the middle of Burgers Zoo in Arnhem. From the room where I presented you looked out over the enclosure where the giraffes and rhino’s were. The entrance to the venue was through the tropical jungle greenhouse, with unseen birds and other animals making lots of noises somewhere above in the foliage.
  • The atmosphere was excellent, very laid back as well as open and curious to engage in conversation
  • It was my first time at WordCamp and somewhere above a third of the participants were as well, meaning there was a good mix of new people and old hands. A mix that helps set the atmosphere and tone of an event.
  • Sustainability was a big theme. Multiple speakers explored how WP web developers can reduce the footprint of the sites they create. Heard several things (reduce the number of URLs WP exposes, find ways of limiting hits generated by crawlers and bots, reduce the size of various elements in your WP site etc.) that I can follow up on. Also made me think again about running a RSS-only, otherwise completely headless website. Though given another takeaway further down the list, that isn’t a good idea.
  • The organising team had also focused on sustainability, and I was happy they went the same route as is the custom at IndieWeb events: all catering was vegetarian. I also learned that all food that wasn’t used was donated, pre-arranged with the local foodbank.
  • It was fun to meet several people in person that I’ve known online for a long time, such as Roel Groeneveld and Gerard van Enk, and co-organisers Marcel and Remkus. Others I had met before, like Bert Boerland. Plus I met some new people.
  • I think my presentation was well received.
  • I was a bit the odd one out, as I am a non-professional blogger who is a WordPress user, not a developer. It was a WordCamp, by the WP community and ecosystem, so the audience was largely commercially oriented. Web agencies, SEO, UX design etc. I am also someone who has a longer history with WordPress than some others, having seen it start as a blogging tool.
  • The WordPress community is large and densely connected, I’m an outsider to it, although I know quite a few people who are part of it. So this wasn’t ‘my’ crowd, but the energy from people meeting in person again after several years was palpable.
  • When the opening speaker asked ‘who here still reads RSS’ and only 5 or so raised their hands, in line with his expectations, was surprising to say the least. People either ditched RSS when Google Reader went away in 2013, or if they were younger never started with RSS. How do people read at volume if not through feeds? Actually going to websites and newsletters is the answer apparently.
  • Only a few people had ever heard of IndieWeb, although there definitely were some.
  • One of the volunteers I chatted with never heard of BarCamp. Nor realised that the Camp in WordCamp speaks of its lineage. This is akin to how in 2021 the supposedly first Dutch BarCamp was going to take place.
  • Those last three things underline what E and I have been chatting about in the past months regularly. How it is needed to keep talking about, writing about and transfer to others these things, repeatedly that we think are ‘just normal’ and essential. For things to be used, and be useful, you can never assume that telling the world about it is ever done. Which brings me back to why I was at WordCamp in the first place, talking about IndieWeb.


My first encounter with WordPress, at BlogTalk 2006 in Vienna. Photo Matt Mullenweg, used with permission.

I presented during the 2022 Netherlands WordCamp edition in Arnhem on turning all WordPress sites into fully IndieWeb enabled sites. Meaning turning well over a third of the web into the open social web. Outside all the silos.

The slides are available in my self-hosted Slideshare replacement for embed and download, and shown below.

I have been blogging a long time, and can tinker a bit with code (like a home cook). I want my site to be the center of how I read and write the web. Its purpose is to create conversations with others, who write in their own spaces on the web. The IndieWeb community supports that with a number of technical building blocks that allow me a set of pretty cool things. But all that IndieWeb offers has a high threshold for entry.

The key parts of IndieWeb to me, the parts that make interaction between websites possible, that allow any site to be an active part of many conversations, are much simpler though:

  • Microformats2 so that computers know how to interpret our blogposts,
  • some class declarations, so computers know why we link to some other web page,
  • and WebMention, the protocol that lets a web page know another page is linking to them.

Making interaction possible between site authors, across sites, just by writing as they already do, is both the simplest to arrange and the most impactful. It’s not something that site authors should have to deal with though, it should be in your website’s engine. WordPress in my case, and an enormous amount of other websites.
Ensuring that WordPress Themes, and Gutenberg blocks would support and could handle Microformats2 and classes correctly therefore will have a huge impact.

Over 40% of the open web would then with a single stroke be the open social web. No need for data hungry silo’s, no place for algorithmic timelines designed to keep you hooked.

WordPress wants to be the Operating System for the Web. That OS is missing social features, and it’s not a big leap to add them with existing web protocols. No website owner would have to be a coder, be it home cooking style or professional, to use those social features and create conversations. It would just be there.

If you build WP Themes, if you create Gutenberg blocks, you’re invited to help make this happen.

(also posted to Indienews)

Een maand geleden diende ik een voorstel in voor het Nederlandse WordCamp, om over IndieWeb te spreken, vanuit mijn perspectief als blogger. In de hoop dat het leidt tot meer thema’s en code die IndieWeb mogelijkheden actief omarmen. Deze week hoorde ik dat het voorstel is geaccepteerd. Nadenken over een verhaallijn dus.

Netherlands WordCamp vindt op 15 en 16 september plaats in Arnhem. Binnenkort wordt het programma bekend gemaakt.

Bonus link: mijn eerste kennismaking met WordPress in 2006, toen Matt Mullenweg op BlogTalk Reloaded in Wenen er over kwam presenteren. Later (veel later) die avond deze foto op Matt’s blog…vlnr Thomas (organisator BlogTalk), ik, Anne, Monica, Elmine, Matt met camera, en Paolo.

End of July the once-every-4-years hacker mass event, this edition titled May Contain Hackers, will take place. As usual it takes place in the midst of the summer holidays, meaning as a parent of a school age kid I won’t be able to make it personally. However I’m very pleased that my company and our team, together with friends from our immediate professional network (not coincidentally veterans of E’s 2018 birthday unconference), are working together to host one of the Villages at MCH2022!

Our Village is called ‘ethisch party’ in Dutch, ethical party in English. In Dutch ethical rhymes with 80s in English. Therefore it’s listed as the Village 80s Party, ‘putting the 80s back into the ethics’. Data ethics is the general context for the village’s program.

You’re welcome to join and get involved!