From IndieWeb
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The IndieWeb Community is largely based on principles (AKA tenets) such as own your data, make what you need, use what you make, document your stuff, open source your stuff, UX design is more important than protocols, visible data for humans first and machines second, platform agnostic platforms, plurality over monoculture, longevity, and remember to have fun!

The IndieWeb community has a code-of-conduct.

Key Principles

Key principles of building on the indie web, numbered for reference, not necessarily for any kind of priority.

  1. โœŠ Own your data. Your content, your metadata, your identity.
  2. ๐Ÿ” Use & publish visible data for humans first, machines second. See also DRY.
  3. ๐Ÿ’ช Make what you need. Make tools, templates, etc. for yourself first, not for all of your friends or โ€everyoneโ€œ. If you design for some hypothetical user, they may not actually exist; if you make for yourself, you actually do exist. Make something that satisfies your needs (also known as scratch your own itch), and is compatible for others, e.g. by practicing POSSE, you benefit immediately, while staying connected to friends, without having to convince anyone. If and when others join the indieweb, you all benefit.
  4. ๐Ÿ˜‹ Use what you make! Whatever you build you should actively use. If you aren't depending on it, why should anybody else? We also use the metaphor eat what you cook for this principle. Personal use helps you see both problems and areas for improvement more quickly, and thus focus your efforts on building the indieweb around actual needs and consistently solving immediate real world problems, instead of spending lots of time solving what may be theoretical problems.
  5. ๐Ÿ““ Document your stuff. You've made a place to speak your mind, use it to document your processes, ideas, designs and code. Help others benefit from your journey, including your future self!
  6. ๐Ÿ’ž Open source your stuff! You don't have to, of course, but if you like the existence of the indie web, making your code open source means other people can get on the indie web quicker and easier.
  7. ๐Ÿ“ UX and design is more important than protocols, formats, data models, schema etc. We focus on UX first, and then as we figure that out we build/develop/subset the absolutely simplest, easiest, and most minimal protocols & formats sufficient to support that UX, and nothing more. AKA UX before plumbing.
  8. ๐ŸŒ Modularity. Build platform agnostic platforms. The more your code is modular and composed of pieces you can swap out, the less dependent you are on a particular device, UI, templating language, API, backend language, storage model, database, platform. Modularity increases the chance that at least some of it can and will be re-used, improved, which you can then reincorporate. AKA building-blocks. AKA "small pieces loosely joined".
  9. ๐Ÿ—ฟ Longevity. Build for the long web. If human society is able to preserve ancient papyrus, Victorian photographs and dinosaur bones, we should be able to build web technology that doesn't require us to destroy everything we've done every few years in the name of progress. Consider making things on the web that are designed to last.
  10. โœจ Plurality. With IndieWebCamp we've specifically chosen to encourage and embrace a diversity of approaches & implementations. This background makes the IndieWeb stronger and more resilient than any one (often monoculture) approach.
  11. ๐ŸŽ‰ Above all, Have fun. When the web took off in the 90's people began designing personal sites with tools such as GeoCities. These spaces had Java applets, garish green background and seventeen animated GIFs. It may have been ugly and badly coded but it was fun. Keep the web weird and interesting.


Why principles matter:

Posts About

Posts about IndieWeb principles:

This article was quoted nearly verbatim in WIRED in 2013

Tweets about IndieWeb principles:


Things we have had implicitly as IndieWeb principles/values but for one reason or another did not capture explicitly.

Show before tell

Long ago, in the 2010-2011 timeframe, we used to have an implicit value/principle of "show don't tell", yet somehow that never made it into the principles page.

The home page does have: "Show before tell."

This tweet expresses a direct use of this value:

"if you think some technology choice can make you way more productive, then just do it and show people the productivity, don't go on prattling about what other people should or shouldn't do."@tmcw September 11, 2022

Curious if it made it into any longer expositions, blog posts etc. I feel like "Show don't tell" made it into some early IndieWeb talks but I can't seem to find it.

Related tweet from Daniel Burka:

You'll never be good at something if you never do it.

Sounds trite, but I meet a lot of UX designers who think they'll never be good at visual design. Or designers who believe they could never be writers. You might suck when you start, but the only way up is through.


Similar or aligned

  • 2018-02-16 Blogging โ€“ And Why Itโ€™s Important To Bring It Back.

    Instagram is a public platform.
    We do not own it. We never will. We cannot control it. So we need to accept that.

    But our blogs are OURS.
    We have spent years building our brands from the ground up, and it all started with our blogs. It is our very own personal space online. We control it. We decide what content goes up. We decide if we want to make changes to our website. There are no algorithms. There is no fuckery.

See Also