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State of the Suite (of Protocols) was a session at IndieWeb Summit 2019.

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

IndieWeb Summit 2019
Session: State of the Suite (of Protocols)
When: 2019-06-29 15:15



  • Mime: has been doing indieweb work for a long time. Currently working on sort of the javascript version of bridgy/granary (social-butterfly) https://www.npmjs.com/package/social-butterfly (Btw, we should use Hackpad! https://github.com/dropbox/hackpad (Mime worked on this, fork of Etherpad, so I'm biased :) )
  • Marty: doing indieweb for the past few years. Slowly accreting new work. Previously did a weekly podcast, summarizing this week in indieweb into a 10 minute podcast. https://martymcgui.re/tag/this-week-indieweb-podcast/
  • Nabil: last indiewebcamp was 2012, been doing it for a while. blogging for 17 years, still got all that content. experimented with lots of software and CMSes. wants to get a sense of where things are now. https://nadreck.me/
  • Don: general developer, backend-ish, very into protocols. site has IndieAuth (showed off this morning). interested in ActivityPub. working on a Fediverse Reader, currently targeting reading Mastodon feeds.https://donpark.org/
  • Katie: Excited about a lot of the new decentralized web technologies and standards. Have been involved but more on the design side, excited to learn more about the nuts and bolts and capabilities are.


General agreement is that, deep tech background or not, it is hard to get started. What protocols exist? What problems do they solve? Which should we use?

Should we come up with a "How to get started in IndieWeb?" IndieWeb suggests starting with the simplest/most useful thing (publish human-readable content on a public website) and combine smaller building blocks to get complex behavior.

Mastodon has become a "standard" but ActivityPub leaves a lot unanswered as far as implementation is concerned.

Finding ways to fill the gaps caused by loose interpretations of a spec vs. actual implementation is hard, but improving.

There's also some non-web decentralized work (IPFS and similar).

Mime: Feel like there's a critical mass building up around the "fediverse" To scope this talk about protocols: we're not talking about auth protocols like indieauth and such, only talking about protocols related to passing activity/information between sites.

One question is around broader adoption of protocols outside of indieweb folx, broader adoption.

Don: Maslow's "hierarchy of protocols": HTML, microformats, webmentions.

Bifurcation of the indieweb/fediverse: IndieWeb "vs." ActivityPub. i.e. HTML/Microformats/Webmention vs. ActivityPub

Challenge: there is lossiness in federating to Pixelfed/Mastodon/other sites b/c of "formats" that they are trying to conform to.



  • ActivityPub: Seems to be active and high interest. (v1: still used in the wild somewhere?, v2: the current standard)
  • WebMention: still experimental with larger sites, maybe confined to IndieWeb?
  • MicroFormats: definitely used still, supported by Mastodon for interoperability with IndieWeb.
  • RSS/Atom: standard for feeds
  • LRDD ("host-meta"): standard, not necessarily required by ActivityPub
  • WebFinger: standard, but not required for ActivityPub... kinda. Mastodon uses it so you do need it though.
  • WebSub (née PubSubHubBub): can be replaced by ActivityPub which has its own push mechanism WebSub is a simple protocol that basically says "let me know when bob does something new"
  • XFN: rel="me"

Up and coming

  • JSON Feeds: up and coming? used in some places. not too widely supported yet
  • Microsub: fetching feeds, decoupling feeds and try to normalize them.
  • Micropub: posting side client -> server
  • LitePub: Alternative to ActivityPub used by Pleroma, https://litepub.social/litepub/


  • Salmon: Dead protocol, not really being supported by anyone these days.
  • FOAF: dead; maybe replaced by "so-and-so follows these people" features, like on mastodon; indieweb has /following pages, for example.


  • OStatus: complicated and it's not entirely clear how to implement (Mastodon implemented some of it, which means some pure ActivityPub tools stumble because they're missing ostatus for account discovery)


  • oEmbed/Open Graph: find rich object for embedding in posts.

(A recurring theme is that some protocols aren't "officially" dead, but aren't really being used or maintained.)


Models and Tools

List of libraries

Test suites

There's a .rocks suite of protocol domains for exposing what these protocols show.

See Also