From IndieWeb

IndieWeb Tech Critical Appraisal was a session at IndieWebCamp SF 2019.

Notes archived from: https://etherpad.indieweb.org/indietech (with some additions/clarification from Johannes Ernst based on the whiteboard photo)

IndieWebCamp SF 2019
Session: IndieWeb Tech Critical Appraisal
When: 2019-12-07 13:40



Main question: If we were to rebuild this all over again from the start, what would we do?


  • ease of use
  • reduce harm
  • easy to adopt

Basic Choices Made


Everyone has a DNS resolvable domain name

  • Alternative: (public key pairs -- but we don't know for how to make it work)
    • Pro: avoid DNS
    • Con: reach (doesn't work in standard browser)
  • Alternative: Tor
    • Pro: avoid DNS, location independence:
    • Con: reach (doesn't work in standard browser)

How does Secure Scuttlebut do this? (there was some discussion about this in a session earlier this morning)


  • Alternatives: IPFS, Dat and the like
    • Pro: availability, immutability
    • Con: reach, access control/sniffability/security, performance/speed
  • Alternatives: NNTP, Gopher etc


  • Alternatives: Markdown, JSON, RSS/Atom/Jsonfeed
    • Pro: Easier to parse, but only if a single format is required (otherwise all have to implemented)
    • Con: none are as expressive as HTML
    • Con: JSON - poor internationalization support, (a11y), also poor it8n

What should the user see versus what does the computer see?

Adactio has noted and uptake of RSS recently

Is anything more expressive than HTML?

A website representing you/your identity


  • Alternatives: vcard, RDFa, JSON-LD, RSS, ActivitiyStream, etc
    • Pro: More strict
    • Con: fallback?

Issues with multiple formats in the same HTML page

Own all the parsers! ;)

DRY violations?


  • Outdated but still useful. What can we use instead of Webmention?
  • Find something to flag abuse . We could use a tool to moderate content at a prototocol level.
  • Let's explore solutions to replace Webmention and reduce harassment online
  • Someone mentioned economics this morning, so could one need to earn some sort of value store and then spend it as time goes by to post, like, webmentions, etc.?

Rel-me and rel-me auth

  • Alternative: OpenID
  • Alternative: single key pair with public keys published on multiple sites
    • Pro: Reduces exposure of semi-private sites into the public sites (Have a site with a limited amount of user access plus have a public site with a broader user base)
    • Con: needs challenge scheme



  • Micropub is for publishing
  • Alternative:s XML-RPC (still used by Micro.blog, WordPress)
    • Pro: there are client tools, Post what you want to your server, easy to post
  • Con: Security: Pre O-AUTH, forces users to give their usernames and passwords to untrusted applications
  • Could we bend old chat protocols to work for this use case?
  • Someone proposed Markdown as a global solution inside of Micropub
  • Difficult to use for newbies. Want to make it easier to use.
  • Extensible vocabulary



  • Microsub allows one to read and subscribe
  • Not Required
    • javascript

What if we had decided differently?

  • How would using alternatives allow better security, privacy, reduction of abuse, safety, mitigating harms?
  • Pick one you would have done differently?
    • Could it still work/dovetail with what already exists?

See Also