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Building blocks are key design-patterns, technologies, and methods for building and improving your independent website.

See also: IndieMark, a way of measuring "how indieweb" is your website, and a good step-by-step guide to what feature(s) you should consider implementing next.


The act of having a personal website immediately creates an online identity which can be better established with:


Posts and variants are perhaps the building block of an indieweb site:

Stuff in/of posts:


in addition to permalinks, the following building blocks help with citing posts in constrained destinations such as limited character count POSSE destinations, or print:


syndication, the ability to post content on your own site and push it out to 3rd party silos.

Reverse Syndication

Reverse syndication (AKA backfeed) refers to pulling silo activity around your syndicated posts (e.g. silo likes, reposts or replies) back to your personal site.


The ability for one webpage to let another know the first has linked to the second is a vital indieweb building block.

The key mention technology for the indieweb is:


The ability to use your online identity (domain) to authenticate yourself on the web.


Web Actions

A web action is the interface and user experience of taking a specific discrete action, across the web, from one site to another site or application.

Link Preview

A link preview is what posts show about one or more embedded links, e.g. a headline, image, summary from the link destination.

Reply Context

A reply context similar to a link preview, except is the information that a reply post shows about the original post that it is in reply to. E.g. original post author (name, photo, link), original post content (or abbreviated summary).


  • SWAT0 originally from the 2010 Federated Social Web Summit.


There are numerous historical building blocks which are no longer necessary (and in many cases, even supported) on the indieweb. They are listed here both as history, and to clearly communicate that each has been considered, and either rejected (e.g. Salmon), or iterated/improved upon (e.g. Pingback became Webmention).

Historical Mentions

Mention technologies:

  • pingback & trackback - origins of webmention (which is also the replacement)
  • salmon - was too complex/difficult for any more than a couple of implementations, unclear how much if any cross-implementation interoperability there ever was.

Historical Logins

  • OpenID - too difficult to consume. overly complex libraries often larger than the entirety of the rest of an indieweb implementation. too high a barrier for independent implementations.[1]
    • Historical significance:
      • OpenID was the first even remotely practical federated URL-based identity protocol that gained adoption, and thus it helped explore a lot of URL-based-identity issues (UX and otherwise). Much of that experience informed the design of web-sign-in.
      • OpenID was the URL-based-sign-in system used for this wiki and IndieWebCamp in 2011.[2]
    • Replacement: web-sign-in / indieauth, which have demonstrated better usability than OpenID[3].

See also