Tagged: indiewebcamp

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What I learnt today: travelling

Today I had to leave Brighton to fly back to Germany. My flight was leaving at 15:30, so I had plenty of time and spent this morning strolling around the city and getting some writing done.

After using the excellent train connection to London Gatwick, I still had some time left until my flight departed. I started refactoring the templates for my website until it was time to board. The flight was ridiculously short and after another hour of driving I was finally home.

Although I didn’t really do anything today apart from walking, sitting and waiting, I’m really knackered. I guess travelling is really exhausting, no matter how long your trip is. At least, that’s what I learnt today.

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Indie Web Camp Brighton 2015

When I booked the flights for Indie Web Camp in Brighton, I couldn’t wait for it to happen. After attending my first Indie Web Camp in Düsseldorf, I was curious what to expect this time.

It has been such an inspiring weekend. There were lots of interesting discussions like sharing location data and checkins, security issues concerning webmentions and how to make publishing on the web easier for people that are just starting out – a subject that I’m particularly interested in.

But what struck me most this time was the beauty of simplicity that the basic building blocks of the indie web are built upon. Instead of reinventing the wheel, things like microformats and webmentions use already existing tools and techniques like classes in HTML and HTTP requests to enhance the functionality of our websites. As a result, these things are really easy to implement and in my opinion it’s that pure simplicity which makes these things so powerful.

Being in a room with people who also care about this stuff for two days is both encouraging and inspiring. Getting people interested and helping each other out is key to move the indie web forward. Jeremy and Charlotte were even thinking about some kind of regular meetup in the spirit of the Homebrew Website Club.

I’ve also been inspired to have similar regular meetups in Germany and maybe someday even an Indie Web Camp in Heidelberg. I’m leaving Brighton this afternoon, full of ideas and things to do.

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What I learnt today: setting up webmentions

Today was hack/build/create day at Indie Web Camp in Brighton. I already had a very basic version of a webmention endpoint running and today I wanted to implement it properly in Processwire.

After a bit of planning and defining which data I would be storing when receiving webmentions, I got down to work and wrote a basic module for Processwire. It currently only receives webmentions, but I’m planning to add the sending functionality very soon. At the moment I’m using it with to get all the responses to my tweets into my database.

So far it works really well. When I started to work on it this morning, I wasn’t really sure if I could get it up and running in just one day. But once I was clear on how I would manage and store the incoming data, it was pretty straight forward from there. And that’s what I learnt today.

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What I learnt today: simplicity can be powerful

Today was the first day of Indie Web Camp in Brighton. The schedule is similar to the first Indie Web Camp I attended in Düsseldorf. On the first day, there are barcamp like sessions, and on the second day, everyone gets down to build something.

Although I already have marked up my posts with microformats, I attended a session about this topic. I’m really intrigued by this very pragmatic approach to enrich what’s already there with useful information. Today, Glenn referred to this as “building an API for your site by just adding a few classes” because when microformats markup is parsed, it contains a lot of information which could be used in any way we want to.

I hadn’t really thought about it that way but I realised that it’s entirely true. I’m fascinated by the fact that something very powerful can be achieved by such easy measures. And that’s what I learnt today.

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What I learnt today: taking things easy

Today I travelled to Brighton because I’m attending Indie Web Camp this weekend. I flew in today (on Friday) and I’m leaving on Monday. So if I count the days of arrival and departure that would be four days, two of which I’m out of office and not able to do any client work.

I used to beat me up over this a lot. Up until recently I couldn’t really enjoy travelling because I always thought I should be working instead.

But today I realised that there’s nothing wrong with taking the time to travel, especially if it is for the purpose of learning new things. And the client world didn’t go down either. Sure, I had to deal with some email but nothing so serious that it couldn’t be dealt with when I’m back. I guess I need to take things easy once in a while. That’s what I learnt today.

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Scratching my own itch

I recently implemented a notes section on this website which accompanies the regular articles. There are currently three different types of notes: short text notes, photos and tweets. All of these notes are either published using the Processwire backend interface or syndicated via micropub endpoint. Each note then becomes a page in Processwire and therefore has it’s own URL.

I wanted to make adding these notes as easy as possible for me. One thing I had to consider was the fact that Processwire won’t let you create pages without a title. The title is also automatically translated into the URL for that page.

I didn’t want to enter a title each time I posted a note. I also wanted to create a consistent URL scheme that represented the date of the note’s creation. So I wrote a module that prefills the title field of a page with a configurable date string when the page is created.

The code is available on Github. It’s currently tailored to my needs, but I think it’s easily adaptable to other scenarios as well.

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IndieWebCamp in Düsseldorf

The last two days have been packed with interesting discussions and ideas on how to own the stuff you put online. But I guess what intrigued me most are the things that can be done by people who really care about something.

I’ve seen and learned so much about the building blocks of the indie web. I managed to implement a micropub endpoint in Processwire thanks to Jeremy’s code. Using IndieAuth, I can now use any micropub interface (e.g Quill) to post to my own website. I use OwnYourGram to post photos to my Processwire installation via the Instagram app and finally—and with tons of help from Tabea—I am able to post from Processwire to Twitter now.

I was pretty impressed by how much people got done. At the final demo session, everyone had something he or she had done to update their website – although I’m pretty sure that the end of this event will not be the end of their efforts to try and own their stuff online.

If you would like to read more, Bastian and Jeremy wrote a very good summary on the IndieWebCamp.