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Building Blocks (with WordPress) was a session at IndieWebCamp Utrecht 2019.

Notes archived from: https://etherpad.indieweb.org/buildingblocks

IndieWebCamp Utrecht 2019
Session: Building Blocks and IndieWeb WordPress
When: 2019-05-18 12:20




  • own your own identity, don't let others decide what you can and can't put online


  • microformats.io
  • microformats is nearly at 15th birthday
  • you want to put info about yourself online - you want it to be also machine readable
  • many ways to do machine readability - schema.org, json-ld, microformats
  • add class names in to existing html, to allow parsing of class names
  • parsers available for lots of different languages on top of this spec
  • e.g. h-card - html version of v-card
  • php.microformats.io as a way of parsing microformats and seeing how it looks in json
  • rel=me as a way of connecting to other services e.g. github


  • marked up with microformats again
  • specifications grown up by convention
  • if you're using a reader that understands these properties, they can figure out how to display them
  • posts can include citations - you would then send them a mention

(question about getting microformats in wordpress - use a specifically designed theme, or can try mf2 plugin)


  • first interaction building block
  • related to pingbacks, linkbacks, a way of interacting on early web
  • webmentions is a w3c spec
  • a way of figuring out that there is a webmention endpoint as somewhere to interacting with them
  • when you've been webmentioned, your site may then go and figure out what is the content of the post that mentions you - and pull it to your site

(question: how does in build on ping/linkbacks?)

  • in pingbacks you sent all the content of the interaction
  • led to a lot of spam
  • webmention only sends the ur
  • is it more resilient for spam? we hope!
  • it implicitly adds more hurdles for a spammer to spam via webmention
  • spec includes sections on how to verify if a webmention is real
  • Vouch is an extension that is currently being worked out
  • using a network of trust - Frank knows Ton, Frank mentions Martijn - Frank could then choose to trust Martijn
  • it might not be only means of spam, but could be an extra part of a heuristic
  • puts more work on the sender
  • you can choose to whitelist certain domains (or not, if you prefer)

login and IndieAuth

  • can use your own site as your authn provider
  • you could also make use of rel=me and then choose to use e.g. github as your authn provider
  • always starts with 'enter your web address'

Web Actions

  • allow a way to choose what like, reply buttons do when you click on them on someone else's site
  • it can call through to configuration on your own site to find out what action to invoke
  • some people are replacing this kind of interaction within readers instead, but this was an early attempt at this


  • what should an API look like if every blog had the same API?
  • allows everyone to use the same writing applications for different websites
  • e.g. quill
  • 3rd party tools may also make use of micropub - e.g. instagram syncing tool like ownyourgram


  • an alternative to RSS readers, with extra goodies
  • e.g. Indigenous
  • channels - analogous to folders
  • special channel called Notifications - for receiving mentions from across various services
  • microsub clients usually allow interactions within the reader (via micropub!)

(also showing overland to pick up the weather of the current location when creating post!)

Wordpress for setting up the IndieWeb building blocks

  • completely fresh WordPress install
  • start with IndieWeb plugin
  • installing a theme to begin - SemPress is a good one to start with - has all the microformats needed built in
  • there's a fork of 2016 theme with all microformats built in
  • IndieAuth - makes our WP site own way to log in to other indie services
  • also set up Micropub
  • now we can use Quill as a posting interface
  • quill will ask us to authenticate, then we'll allow quill to perform certain actions
  • now can use it to post!
  • note: this is CMS independent!

(things like hootsuite and buffer do similar things - but with closed apis and charges etc)

post kinds

  • notes, photos, reading, listening, etc
  • we can configure in WP all the different kinds that we want
  • we now see these options when we create a new post
  • creating a like - paste the url in and the details of the post we're liking will be parsed

syndication links

  • we can use this to send our posts and interactions out to other sites (via brid.gy)
  • and interactions will come back too!
  • this allows you to interact with other networks that aren't indiewebifyied yet
  • from our site we're still using the usual building blocks - brid.gy does the heavy lifting of taking content from external networks and adding microformats

See Also