Replied to Adding Microformats to WordPress’s Twenty Twenty Theme by Jan BoddezJan Boddez (jan.boddez.net)
I recently moved another blog of mine back to “plain” WordPress, and in the process added microformats2 support to its Twenty Twenty child theme. Some remarks: I’ve yet to add a u-photo class to featured images, I used a bit of a trick to get post metadata to show below short-form posts rather...

Thank you Jan, I will study this in some detail, as I’m trying my inexperienced hand at creating a theme from scratch in WP. So getting some clues how to add MF2 support this way is very useful!

Bookmarked IndieWeb Dissertation available as PDF and HTML by Jack JamiesonJack Jamieson (jackjamieson.net)
I recently defended my dissertation and have completed my PhD. It’s titled Independent Together: Building and Maintaining Values in a Distributed Web Infrastructure, and investigates the role of values in the construction and maintenance of the IndieWeb.

Jack Jamieson did his PhD on the IndieWeb community, and he now made his dissertation available in HTML and PDF. Uploaded to my e-reader.

RSVPed Attending IndieWebCamp East
IndieWebCamp East 2020 is an online gathering for independent web creators of all kinds, from graphic artists, to designers, UX engineers, coders, hackers, to share ideas, actively work on creating for their own personal websites, and build upon each others creations.

I intend to take part in IndieWebCamp East this weekend. As it’s all remote, I hope to join part of the program at least late afternoon and evening here in my CET time zone. Thinking about using the time to either contine work on restyling this site as ‘no garden no stream but something in between‘, or going through my blog archive to see which presentation slide decks still need to be brought home, and ensuring the site where they reside (tonz.nl for Dutch slides, tonz.eu for international slides) gets its own styling.

Thirteen years ago today I blogged about Google launching Open Social, an API that would allow developers to tap into multiple social networks at once. It was supposed to be an answer to Facebook (who then had opened up their platform silo for developers to build small applications (since removed as an option). The NYT called it Google ‘ganging up’ on Facebook, the ‘new kid on the block’ (FB became globally available to all in the fall of 2006).

Seeing that 2007 posting in my ‘on this blog today in…’ widget I was curious to see whatever happened to Open Social. After the launch in 2007, I don’t remember hearing much about it anymore.

Following the link to Google’s own page on Open Social now gets a 404 error message (which isn’t different from 2007 when I blogged it, because news leaked before the launch, so that page wasn’t active yet. In between today and today in 2007 it has been a working link for some years though as the Internet Archive can attest) Wikipedia has the story of the years in between in more detail. The Open Social standard saw it latest release in August 2013, and then development stopped.

By the end of 2014 it was all transferred to the W3C’s Social Activity, the Social Web Working Group, and the Social Interest Group. All those three are defunct now too (the interest group closed in 2016, the working group and activity early 2018).

Yet, the still remaining W3C Working Group page has a photo with a number of familiar faces: core members of the IndieWeb community. And the Working Group delivered in their 2014-2018 period of activity the W3C standard recommendations for all the major building blocks of the IndieWeb (Webmentions, Micropub, Microsub, Activitypub, IndieAuth). The W3C activity wound down and reduced to a single W3C IRC channel #social that sees little activity. The log files of #social are hosted on indieweb.org.

So here we are, thirteen years down the road. It’s not Google but IndieWeb-enabled websites like mine ‘ganging up on Facebook’ instead. 😉

In my recent post about bringing slides home to my own server and domain, I mentioned Speakerstack.net. On their site they mention completely hosting everything yourself, but the site afaik never points to anything explaining that. It does provide as I described the means to upload your presentations there.

During the weekend I reached out to Cliff, the developer behind Speakerstack. He gave me the link to the WordPress plugin (in beta) he created, which allows you to do everything yourself in a WP instance.

I took a look at the code and what it does, while providing an admin console to do so from within WP, is:

  1. Take a PDF and send it to ConvertAPI (provided by the Lithuanian company Baltsoft), to convert the PDF into jpg images, one per slide
  2. Take those jpg images and put them in a slider, using Kevin Wheeler’s Slick Slider

You need a ConvertAPI key to approach it, which is easy to arrange.

I will probably test drive this plugin in a separate WP instance, and if I’m ok with it I will use that as my personal ‘Slideshare’ place. I may also consider going with just the conversion and the slider bits, as uploading my presentation PDFs through WordPress and managing everything there seems a bit overdoing it, if I also have direct access to the back-end of the hosting package and could upload everything in bulk. Then again, bulk is only a consideration at the start, having my Slideshare history to migrate.

I added a WP instance on a domain I have (tonz.nl) and installed the plugin, created an API key for the PDF conversion. It takes a number of minutes for the conversion to happen, and it works.

If you check the embedded presentation above, you’ll see that the download link and the full screen link are pointing to my tonz.nl domain. The download link is in the WP uploads folder, which is logical, but I probably want to change. Likely I will put a Yourls instance in front of it to have shortened urls that cloack the folder the files are actually in, and which lets me count the number of downloads as well.

Quotebacks have been mentioned in various corners of the IndieWeb a lot in the past few weeks. As it was launched as a Chrome plugin, I didn’t try it out (Chrome is an unpalatable ad delivery vehicle imo). Now however there is a Firefox Quotebacks plugin, Tom Critchlow announced.

As Tom says, Quotebacks are meant to reduce friction in quoting other blogs/sites/sources, and if that increases the number and length of distributed conversations I’m all for it.

I think of it as smoothing some friction for behaviors we’re interested in encouraging

How is it different from a block-quote? It isn’t actually, under the hood it is still a block-quote. It’s just styled differently, and the browser plugin makes it very easy to capture everything you need and paste it into your blog-editor. The quoteback you see above is a html block-quote in the source:

screenshot of the html code of a block quote styled as quoteback

While reading you can select text and in Firefox press alt s, and the plugin will pop-up. It allows you to add / edit things, and then copy the html encoded quote to your clipboard, to paste into your blog editor.

screenshot of the Quoteback plugin pop-up during browsing

I like the easy ‘quote, copy, paste’ flow and having it look nice. I do think that the styling, which mimicks how e.g. Tweets are embedded in websites, may sometimes however actually break the flow of a blogpost, where a block-quote is more like a highlight in the pace and rhythm of a text, while a quoteback is presented as an embed, a different thing separate from the text. In fact I mostly actively dislike the embedded tweets in e.g. ‘news’ articles. There it feels like a way of not having to write an actual article or story, resulting in ‘news’ items along the basic template of “X said something, Twitter wasn’t having it” (With the article often stating the content of a tweet in its text, and then embedding the tweet below it, repeat 12 times. Voila, ‘journalism’ done.) It’s an additional visual amplification, easy on the eyes yes and instantly recognisable as a visual pointer to elsewhere, that probably isn’t always warranted, and may even reduce attention to the post the quote is used in. That would then decrease the level of distributed conversation, not increase it as intended.

Of course it is entirely possible to use the quoteback plugin, and not having the visual style of embedding applied. Below is the exact same quoteback as above, but with the class="quoteback" removed, reverting it back to a regular block-quotes (but keeping the link to the source and comments you may have added). Alternatively you can also delete the script element that provides the styling information for the quoteback. (I do exactly the same with Flickr embeds)

I think of it as smoothing some friction for behaviors we’re interested in encouraging

I’ll experiment for a while to see how it works for me in practice. I’ve put the script that styles the embed on my own domain, so I can also fiddle a bit with the styling if I want.