Friday, February 14, 2020

Thoughts on (mostly and scrappily) enabling Webmentions

Out of procrastination, I'm finally playing with hooking up webmentions to a couple of blogs. If you've not heard of them before, then they're sort of a re-invented pingback that automatically alerts someone (in various ways) when their blogpost/page/tweet/whatever is linked to. That's about as much as I know, but the indieweb webmention page is the best resource I've found so far, although I'm following James' lead here really.

I'm using webmention.io's remote service for now, just to get something up and running - links to replies come into my RSS reader in a fairly basic way, but don't tie in with blog comments or anything. I haven't played with hacking around in blogger.com in ages. (I found Keith J Grant's posts a good starting point for the basics of hacking together the required parts.)

The funny thing about webmentions, as I start getting into them, is that you don't quite know if someone will get mentioned or not - "you never know who's listening...". Sounds creepy, but I'm more tickled by this slightly chaotic notion than unnerved by it. (eg. I guess some of the links here will fire off alerts. But the one to James above may not, if his Wordpress setup doesn't support webmentions on homepages.)

[Edit: See, I'm mixed up already - I had assumed I was sending mentions, but I think this blog is just listening, so far...]

I don't know how long I'll continue to post via blogger.com - it's all fairly legacy, I prefer self-hosting (even if my backups fail), and I'm not sure webmention works very well with Blogger's auto-country-URL-switching; I've found webmentions only work if you use the .com version of this blog, not .co.uk or anything else. So reliability may depend on the location of the linker. And then there's the reliability of Google as a service provider anyway.

However, the re-invented work notes blog over at https://6work.exmosis.net/ runs on Wordpress, which is much easier to add webmentions to via the handily-named Webmentions plugin. (Consider this a notification test for myself.)

Longer term, I want a self-hosted, really simple site which does basic formatting and images, and I'm not convinced I need the overhead of PHP for that.

Some next steps I want to play with over the next few weeks (alongside everything else in life):

  • Look into brid.gy for bridging between various services, which looks like fun
  • Try out an IMAP account for posting via email to Wordpress. I do like the convenience of WP and have a decent setup for auto-updates and backups now. Better posting via email would be a holy grail, probably.
  • Read up more about indieweb stuff, like micropub and microsub, following a brief conversation on Twitter.

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