I’m warming up to ActivityPub
While Publ is still going to be an IndieWeb-first platform (simply because it’s so much easier to integrate – having modular Lego bricks and a pick-and-choose functionality set that is as simple as adding it to one’s HTML templates is a very compelling approach), I’ve had some good discussions regarding ActivityPub lately and it’s starting to seem a bit more possible to add that as an add-on for Publ.
The fact that yesterday’s intent post ended up changing URLs (because I’d inadvertently titled it for 2020 instead of 2019) made it so that it made sense to finally add support for multiple incoming webmention target URLs. So I added this to
webmention.js, and also to the sample beesbuzz.biz templates. So now I can slurp up arbitrarily many target URLs' mentions on any given page.
Incidentally, yesterday I ended up releasing a new version of Pushl which also has to do with URL updates. Gee, I wonder why these things both came up in such close proximity.
So anyway this is two IndieWeb-focused things in as many days and they aren’t even things I was intending to work on. But low-hanging fruit is just as tasty.
My IndieWeb Challenge 2019 aspirations
The IndieWeb community has an annual daily improvement challenge. Jacky posted his aspirations so I figured I’d post some of mine too.
I don’t plan on actually releasing everything every day (speaking of which I’m glad Novembeat 2019 is finally over with, holy heck!) but I definitely have things I want to get done this month.
WebSub support update
Almost exactly one year ago, I wrote about the state of WebSub support in feed readers. I’ve noticed a few incoming mentions from folks citing it as definitive (when that was never my intention), and so I decided to check to see if things have changed. I’m happy to say that it has!
Oh I guess I haven’t blogged in a while. Like, a whole week. This can’t stand.
So, what am I up to?
Re: Why Publ won’t support magic auth links
In response to a Publ blog post, Kicks Condor writes:
One question, though—could the Atom feed list
rel alternateversions of the feed? (That would have type
application/atom+xml?) It also seems like
rel selfcould have the non-authenticated version of the feed. It doesn’t make sense for credentials to be in that URL. These are possibly naive suggestions—apologies, if so. Again, fantastic write-up!
The problem is that it’s up to the sharing news reader to know which URL to use for the sharing, and there’s no way to control what URL the reader happens to use. I know that Feed On Feeds will use the URL for the actual subscription (since that’s the only source URL it tracks in the first place), and who knows what other readers with sharing features will do!
And changing the
rel="self" URL has a different problem – some readers (again, such as Feed On Feeds) treat that as the canonical URL and will update their subscriptions to point to that URL instead, so setting
rel="self" to the unauthenticated feed means most users will be unable to remain logged in.
Basically, it’s a tricky issue that has no right answer with the Atom spec as it currently exists. So if some other mechanism has to be designed, it might as well be done in a safe, unambiguous way from the beginning. If some other use case for magic auth links comes up I’ll reconsider implementing them, but at least for friends-only subscription access, the privacy risks are simply not worth it.
Some template changes
I’ve changed my site templates a bit more, to make CWs work a bit better. In particular, now entries which have a CW will also hide the text behind a
<details> on the page (for example), and similarly I’ve hidden CWed images on individual comic pages (for example). Comic images will also (finally!) be blurred in the OpenGraph tags, as well, after one too many “oops"es when posting links to Slack demonstrating how my CWs work.
I’ve also improved compatibility with Bridgy Fed and with the way that webmention microformats are supposed to work in the first place, per a conversation in which I learned that I wasn’t actually using reply types correctly. (You may have noticed a bunch more micro-posts on the chatter section as a result of me fixing this as well. I also need to finally implement a thing so I can properly filter that stuff out of the little "latest posts” box on the main page!)
The sample templates repository has been updated, accordingly.
As always, thanks to the various IndieWeb folks, especially Ryan and Kevin for setting me straight on this issue.
Edit: It didn’t take me very long to implement the Publ feature change. I went ahead and cleaned up a bunch of query generator code while I was at it.
Also I think I found a bug in PonyORM. Nope, I think I was just being hopelessly optimistic about a thing.
You can now use IndieAuth to login to this site
I’ve released a new version of Authl that has direct login support for IndieAuth. Also as of v0.1.6 it supports discovery via WebFinger, which should at least have Ryan a lot happier.
If you don’t know what any of the above means, this update probably doesn’t matter to you. 🙃
Over on IndieWeb Chat, Kevin Marks linked to this wonderful essay about social media that is absolutely worth reading, and examines a part of the “personal social networking” thing I’ve been on a kick about lately but didn’t quite have the words for.
For me, a big part of the problem with social media as it stands today is that everything’s about fast, immediate, in-the-moment dissemination of Hot Takes and viral propagation and so on, and that’s a design that so many of the other indie-focused social networks are trying to replicate. I’m not much a fan of microblogging or protocols which exist to make it the norm (which is why I’m still not particularly interested in supporting ActivityPub natively in Publ!) and I like being able to take some time to expand on my thoughts and not have to chunk things up into 280-to-500-character chunks and worry about fixing my spelling and grammar and phrasing right then and there.
I like being able to sit on things for a few days, and add addendums without it being a whole new post, and I like having feedback come slowly and measured. Yes, I get quick replies and a variety of favorites-like reactions via Webmention and other things, and I do appreciate that in this little nichey corner of the web this is a way that people can interact with me, but I’m not really writing for an audience so much as writing for me and my friends, and hoping that the things I write also maybe resonate with folks who happen to read it.
I still use Twitter and Tumblr and Mastodon quite a lot (much more than I’d like, really) but that’s not how I prefer to interact with folks. I don’t even try to read everything that people post there, and I have no idea how anyone can think of timeline-oriented streams-of-updates services as a place where you’re going to be able to. I just occasionally glance at them to see what’s going on and maybe interact with others in the moment, and spend much more time wondering why the hell I even bother trying to communicate in that way beyond “it’s how everyone else communicates today.”
My big concern about my blogging habits here is that I’m mostly talking about the platform itself. Blogging about blogging is so dreary. Hopefully soon the new-toy shininess will wear off and I’ll get back to using this as a means of talking to my friends about other stuff. I certainly have a lot of other stuff coming down the pike, at least. Hopefully some of it turns out well.
I guess it’s mostly just that what I have to write about is what I’m working on, and this is (mostly) what I’m working on. If I were working on other things they’d be getting posted to other parts of my site.
Not-unrelatedly, I really want to get back into making comics.