Categories
Computers

IndieWeb

As the tech giants attempt to consolidate control of everything from logins, services and the way we communicate, small pockets of resistance have emerged. Tools like WordPress, Jekyll and other blogging platforms have long been the mainstay of online publishing. Allowing the common man to get a presence online. Now the task before us is to expand this pocket of freedom. Enter: IndieWeb.

IndieWeb is a series of tools and concepts designed to allow for the creative expansion, promotion and even the authentication of user content. These components allow you to build an ever growing spider’s web of content that all links together. This web provides ways for other users to see what you’ve posted, follow you in different locations and generally “authenticate” your work by providing links to and from it back to other content you control.

IndieWeb Authentication

Another method of controlling your stuff is signing in through your own identity provider. IDP is not a new concept. Services and protocols like OpenID, Kerberos, Shibboleth, LDAP, and Oauth have been around for a while. Many of these tools are either defunct, hard to setup and maintain, or are not really suited for web-based Single Sign On (sso). Enter IndieAuth.

IndieAuth allows for you to setup your own Oauth (kind of) setup that authenticates you against your own domain. For instance, if you use the WordPress IndieAuth plugin, you can use the built-in login tools in WordPress to log into other sites. You’ve probably already seen this in action with “Login with Google/Facebook/Github/Twitter/Microsoft/iCloud/etc”. The concept is the same, but now you control it.

Microformats

In part, all of this functionality works by implementing Microformats. These bits of information, invisibly embedded in the HTML of your site, provide extra information to other tools. Some of these tools will parse out your contact information, if provided. Others will parse out article information on your blog, or parse out connections to where the content has been posted elsewhere, like on LinkedIn or whatnot.

Like IndieAuth, Microformats are from days past. While they’ve evolved into a much more rich framework of properties, I was implementing them in the early 2000’s on Florida Coastal School of Law’s website.

Why I Don’t Use It

Excuse me? I’ve just gone on, gushing about how good the IndieWeb is and how we’re taking back the power from the man. What gives?

Simply put: I don’t need it. Most of my posts on social media are just short thoughts that don’t deserve blog level exposition. I don’t access any services that allow for IndieAuth logins, and honestly tearing apart twentytwenty to implement proper Microformats is enough to make me want to do actual productive work on something else.

I personally endorse the IndieWeb. It needs more people, more eyeballs and more implementations to succeed. The tools it has are well done, but could use some polish. Microformats, Semantic Linkbacks and other features are awesome and, if you’re up to it, not hard to simply add to your site (YMMV). If I were setting up a static site with one of those newfangled generators, I’d totally implement as much as I could. It’s easy. The problem for me is that I’m lazy, old and too pragmatic to break something that isn’t broken.

Categories
News

Flickr now requiring users to pair with yahoo account

I have to say.  I’m really unhappy with this decision.  Mind you, I have no say in the matter.  Their corporate masters demand this of them, and they’d be stupid to refuse.

However, I’m really kind of sad to see that Yahoo is requiring such a level of integration with Flickr.  It’s not like they’re actually using them in any capacity other than a separate site.  They still have their photos service that is fully integrated with the rest of their services.

I just don’t see the point to making us have a Yahoo account other than aggregate data and to boast: “Look at how many users we have… after we forced everyone on Flickr to become a member!”.  I mean, how long is it before I have to join my Del.icio.us account to my new Yahoo account?  They’re in the same boat as the Flickr guys.

Single sign-in is great, but there is something about this move that I don’t like.  Perhaps I’m just burned by the inconvenience of having to actually do it (2 minute process…).

We shall see, I suppose… we shall see.

Edit: From the comments (my own):

Well, the only thing that bothers me at all about it is that I have to have a Yahoo! account that I don’t really want. Other than that, I guess it’s fine. I think we all need to have faith in the Flickr guys, they’ve done a tremedous job with the service and have promised to continue to do so. Though that’s what the guys at Nullsoft said too…

I guess it was initial shock.  Nothing more to see here people, move along…