a post by Greg McVerryGreg McVerry (Quick Thoughts)
@jackyalcine Agree, video tough. If openly licensed can use @internetarchive. Also been thinking about peertube.

I’ve been thinking about video lately too. For very short clips (<2 minutes) I think I would self-host, despite WordPress making it awkward as heck in my experience. Anything longer than that and it’s more of a conundrum.

Could small, “collective” PeerTube instances in the vein of runyourown.social be viable? Needs buy-in from interested parties — or a benefactor — but it’s a way to spread the hosting costs around while offering an alternative to a community. /cc Jacky.

I mentioned last week I had setup iOS Shortcuts to post Likes, Reposts, and Bookmarks to my website, and automatically syndicate those posts to Twitter. This solved a particular pain point in my “workflow,” where I’d share something to my website with Indigenous, but then have to go in to the WordPress editor through a browser to get the post to share back to Twitter. This was enough of a pain I avoided it where possible. With the new shortcuts I don’t have to worry about that. A couple of taps, and everything “Just Works”(tm).

This post is an attempt to document how I have my shortcuts setup, so you can make some of your own. I’ve tried to keep things as jargon free as possible, but the instructions do assume the following:

  • you have a website of your own,
  • that website has a Micropub-compatible endpoint, such as self-hosted WordPress with the Micropub plugin,
  • your iPhone or iPad is running iOS 12 or above,
  • optionally, your website can syndicate to other sites through Micropub syndication target. WordPress users can use the Syndication Links plugin.

My own setup uses WordPress with all of the IndieWeb plugin pack, so that is what this guide has been tested with, but everything here should be universal to any Micropub server. To get started, you will first need to install a pre-requisite shortcut.

Install the IndieAuth Shortcut.

This is the foundation for the other shortcuts. With out this, your shortcuts cant authenticate with your site. It can be found here, with some more notes found on this IndieWeb wiki page about Shortcuts. While installing it, you can configure it with the URL of your site and run through the authentication process to get a token, or enter a pre-existing token. Alternatively, if you already have a valid token from somewhere, you can enter that into the shortcut for it to use.

Note for WordPress users.

I ran into an issue with the IndieAuth shortcut, where WordPress didn’t interpret the authentication scopes properly, meaning the generated token wouldn’t work. I didn’t spend much time debugging this, so I don’t know if the issue is in the plugin or how Shortcuts sends the request. Thankfully, there’s a workaround. Go to your WordPress admin area > Users > Manage Tokens. At the bottom of the screen will be a form where you can generate an appropriate token. You’ll want to select at least the “create” scope. Do this, then copy and paste the token code in to the text field at the top of the shortcut, like this:

With our authentication mechanism setup, it’s time to build the shortcut proper.

Building the Shortcut.

Initial Setup.

In the Shortcuts app, create a new shortcut. The first thing we need is a “Get URLs from Input” block, then a “Set Variable” block. Name the variable something memorable, as we’ll be using it in a couple of places. I called mine “repost” in my Retweet shortcut.

Next, add a “Run Shortcut” block, and another “Set Variable” block after it. The shortcut block should be set to run your IndieAuth shortcut, and you can turn off “Show While Running”. Set the variable name to “token.” Once done, you should have something like this:

Posting to Your Site.

This is “where the magic happens.” In broad terms, the next few blocks will:

  1. Be configured with the Micropub endpoint of your site,
  2. Craft a POST request to your endpoint, with the following pieces of information:
    1. Your authentication token
    2. The type of Micropub post we’re creating (“entry”)
    3. The URL we’re sharing, as a “repost-of”, “like-of”, or whatever
    4. Set a syndication target.

With these steps in mind, onward we go!

Add a URL block to your site. Enter the URL of your Micropub endpoint. If you’re not sure exactly what this is, check the source of your site. Look for a link tag with rel=“micropub”. Alternatively, I’ve written another shortcut which will try to detect an endpoint for a given domain. You can find it here. Note that I’ve not tested this shortcut on any device but my own, so there may be bugs. The Get Endpoint shortcut will check if the endpoint variable is set, and if not, ask for a domain to parse for the endpoint. Once parsed, the endpoint URL will be copied to the device clipboard for pasting elsewhere, and return a URL.

Back in the sharing shortcut, add a “Get Contents of URL” block. Tap on “Advanced,” then set the Method to POST. Tap on “Headers.” Add a header called “authorization” (note the US spelling, if you’re using a UK keyboard or similar). Set the value of this header to “Bearer ” – with the space at the end – then insert the token variable created earlier.

Next, in the Request Body section, set it to Form. If you’re replicating my setup, add three new fields: h, repost-of (or like-of, etc.), and mp-syndicate-to. Set the value of h to entry. Set repost-of to the variable you created from your input URL, right back at the start.

Finally, set mp-syndicate-to to the UID of the syndication target you want to share to. In my WordPress setup, this is twitter-bridgy. Your system may vary, if you’re not using WordPress + the Syndication Links plugin. If you’re not sure what your UID might be, you can try running another shortcut I’ve created, which will query your site to find all the places you can syndicate to. The shortcut requires the “Get Endpoint” shortcut linked above, and will return text listing all UIDs configured for your site. As an example, the output for me looks like this:

{"name":"XYZ IndieWeb","uid":"xyz-indieweb"}
{"name":"XYZ Linking","uid":"xyz-linking"}
{"name":"IndieNews En","uid":"indienews-en"}
{"name":"XYZ Books","uid":"xyz-books"}
{"name":"Twitter via Bridgy","uid":"twitter-bridgy"}
{"name":"Github via Bridgy","uid":"github-bridgy"}

If you don’t want to syndicate your post, remove the mp-syndicate-to field entirely – don’t just leave it blank, or you might run into issues.

Once all fields in your Like/Repost shortcut have been filled in, you should have something like this:

You can leave things here, if you want, or you can add something like a Notification block to show you the returned response from your site, for debugging purposes. Unfortunately, the current limitations of Shortcuts mean we can’t get the URL to our new post from the results. Maybe that will change in iOS 13.

Set your new shortcut with an appropriate name and icon. Turn on the option “Show in Share Sheet,” and optionally set the “Accepted Types” to “URLs.” Tap Done a couple of times, and your shortcut should be complete! The best bit is, you can duplicate the shortcut, change repost-of to like-of (or viceversa), and you’ll have a working Like shortcut too 😃

Now, you can use the iOS share sheet for any URL to run your shortcut. Tap the share icon, tap Shortcuts, then tap the relevant shortcut from the list:

As a bonus, here’s a couple of short clips of the Like shortcut in action:

If you run into any issues getting the shortcut created, please do let me know through a comment or Webmention, and I’ll try to help where I can.

I’m mostly done writing the first draft of my iOS Shortcuts guide. Just got some screenshots to add, mostly. It’s sitting at ~750 words, although I’ve tried to keep it fairly technical-term free. Hopefully I’ll get it published tonight or tomorrow.

I’d hoped to write up some loose documentation on the iOS Shortcuts I have setup, but diagnosing all manner of WordPress plugin issues has taken up my night. I’ll try again tomorrow.

I’ve been up since 5:30am, so I’ve been taking the time while everyone is still in bed to catch up on the keynotes. Great job by all involved! I’d love to listen to expanded versions of each of the presentations sometime 👍

This is really cool, and could be a great Discovery tool. I’ve had an idea kicking around my head for something similar; a directory of sorts, where sites opt-in via webmention. Any p-category tags in the webmention post would be used to classify the listing in the directory, allowing people to find sites by groupings. Add in some sort of Technorati-style search for an extra layer of power.

I’m teaching myself Laravel at the moment… this would make a good first project to prototype, I think.

Dear IndieWeb, it may be time to start considering the user, not just the technical spec. by Eli MellenEli Mellen
I’ve been working on a series of walkthrough posts that outline how to IndieWebify a Wordpress site. I presumed the initial setup would be fairly straightforward because a) I have a vague idea of what I’m doing, and b) a suite of plugins already exists. Boy-howdy, was I wrong. (ಥ﹏ಥ) I’ve...

I definitely agree with you, Eli! I was wondering out loud with a half-baked thought just yesterday about how we could help ease newer “generations” into the IndieWeb. Where you are coming from the technical side of things, I was thinking more about the on-boarding process and not expecting people to read swathes of documentation to get started. Having read your post I realise both need to be worked on (in tandem?)

I couldn’t hand over even a working WordPress + IndieWeb installation to my partner and expect her to have a good time using it. I’m trying to bring her round to the idea of moving to her own site, because she’s so frustrated with the social media giants, but the tools just aren’t accessible to her level yet.

What has been built so far in the IndieWeb is amazing. I’ve not been this enthused about having my own website – or what it’s capable of – in years. But I’ve been building on the web for 20+ years; I’m impressed by the technology because of my understanding of it, and I’m the sort of user who can work past the rough edges when I need to — in fact, part of me enjoys the tinkering aspect. On reflection, I might be the worst person to be evaluating how this stuff can be made more usable and accessible for someone who wants it to “just work” as smoothly as the existing options 😅

So I guess the question then becomes – who is best placed to help with this, and how do we bring them on board (if they’re not already)?

Social Reading User Interface for Discovery by Chris AldrichChris Aldrich
I read quite a bit of material online. I save “bookmarks” of all of it on my personal website, sometimes with some additional notes and sometimes even with more explicit annotations. One of the things I feel like I’m missing from my browser, browser extensions, and/or social feed reader is a social layer overlay that could indicate that people in my social network(s) have read or interacted directly with that page (presuming they make that data openly available.)

For some bizarre reason, syndication targets have suddenly stopped working on my site in the last few hours…?  The WordPress editor doesn’t list any available, Micropub clients don’t see any, and the default targets given by the Syndication Links plugin have disappeared from the settings UI. The custom targets I set up still show in settings, but don’t appear anywhere else.

How odd. One to dig into tomorrow 🤔

a post by Jeannie McGeehanJeannie McGeehan (Jeannie in Digital)
In my effort to become more involved in the IndieWed community I created indieweb.life and indieweb.social.  A lot of the information out there is either out-of-date or is written so far above the head of the complete novice.  A lot of it is geared towards developers and webmasters.  I wanted ...
a post
That’s exactly what the Indiewebcamps are about. I’m thinking of trying to set one up in Düsseldorf – outside of the regular yearly one organized before Beyond Tellerrand – Nobody said there can only be one bootcamp a year. At these events we’ll get together and focus on solving our Indieweb adaptation issues and gathering feedback on how to make the experience easier for non-tech folk.

I did think while I was writing that there was likely some overlap between what I was thinking about, and the (mostly) offline activities like IndieWebCamp and Homebrew Website Club. However, I’m talking about reaching people who are unlikely to ever attend such a meet-up. To use the IndieWeb Generations definition, I’m thinking about the 3s and maybe 4s in my network. And they might be people I only have a connection with online. I guess where I was going with it was more about seeking a way to engage and coach these particular users into their first steps, rather than relying on them to work through a guide or documentation. (There is still very much a place for more documentation!)

Admittedly it’s still only a half-baked thought, and I’m sure smarter people than me have already thought this through 😃