The core principle of the IndieWeb is to own your data by creating content on your own domain with permalinks you control, rather than creating content in silos.
This post is snapshot of the progress I have made towards this goal in 2014.
I started the year having already been posting articles, notes and replies to my site for several years. When I want to post something to Facebook or Twitter, I first make a post on my site, and syndicate a copy of it to other locations. Similarly when I reply to someone on Twitter, I actually have been writing a reply on my site and copying it to Twitter. This is a key part of being on the IndieWeb.
What's New in 2014?
Starting at IndieWebCamp SF in March of 2014, I began to post photos to my website instead of posting them only on Instagram.
I still use the Instagram app to post photos because it offers easy-to-use image adjustment tools like tweaking the brightness/contrast and sharpness of images. Whenever I post a photo on Instagram, OwnYourGram posts it immediately to my website as well.
You can use OwnYourGram if your website can create photo posts using Micropub.
- my first photo post
- my photo post announcement
- documentation about OwnYourGram
Biking / Running / Driving
In July, I started posting bike rides, runs and car2go trips on my website.
I use the Runkeeper app to log my bike rides and runs, and my website imports the data every 5 minutes. The full GPS data is downloaded and I render my own map for the ride which is what you see on my website.
Until November, the car2go API did not provide access to your rental history. Currently I have been scraping the HTML page that shows my trip history to get the data. As of version 2.1 of the API, it looks like I can get my rental history via official methods, so I will update that soon.
The car2go API returns only the start and end location of the trip, but not the actual route. In order to fill in the data with the route I actually drove, I query my GPS Logs for the start/end range and fill in the post with the route that is returned from the logs. The result is that you see the exact route I drove in the car2go.
For logs prior to 2014, I imported my biking and running history from Runkeeper and Strava.
In September I added support for video posts to p3k, the software that powers my website.
Thanks to browser support for
<video> tags, this was actually surprisingly easy. I host the video files on my server and add a
<video> tag just like I would an
In December I updated OwnYourGram to also post videos, so now all my Instagram videos will end up on my site as well.
In September I added support for bookmarks into p3k, which finally let me move off of Wordpress.
Until then, I had been using a Wordpress custom post type for bookmarks since 2010 when there were rumors that Delicious.com would be shutting down.
Now, bookmarks are a native post type of p3k, and I can create them using a bookmarklet and UI which I built as part of Quill. I imported all my bookmarks from my Wordpress site, and set up redirects from the old URLs to the new p3k URLs.
Food / Drink
In October I started publishing everything I eat and drink.
I had already been tracking what I eat and drink since August 2013, but was simply recording it in the "Notes" app on my phone. I imported all the previous logs into my website, and built Teacup which is what I use to post food now.
Teacup has a web interface which also works great as a home screen app, as well as a companion Pebble app that can be used to quickly post entries from a predefined list.
Reposts & Favorites
In November I added support for reposts, so that I can repost other peoples' content into my notes stream. In December, I committed to start owning my "likes", along with many other people making similar commitments for the new year.
Along with adding support for likes in p3k, I added a bookmarklet to Quill so that I have a button in my browser I can use to like the current page I'm reading. You can use it to post likes to your site if your site supports Micropub!
- 2015-01-01 commitment post
- announcement post
- other IndieWebCamp 2015-01-01 commitments
- Quill documentation
At the beginning of November, I adopted a kitty named Dora. Naturally she needed her own website, so I set her up with p3k and got a domain for her, indiewebcat.com.
She posts mostly photos on her site, but occasionally stomps on the keyboard and posts a note.
So what is in store for owning my data in 2015?
I still check in on Foursquare everywhere I go, so it's definitely time to start publishing these checkins on my website. This will also make my metrics feed have a nearly complete picture of my day.
I stopped using an RSS reader ages ago, even before Google Reader shut down. I'm not sure exactly why, probably a combination of being overwhelmed by the number of long blog posts that always queued up, coupled with Twitter taking over as a quicker way to keep up with people.
Having an "indie reader" will be a huge step in replacing my use of Twitter and Facebook. It's certainly achievable, as many other people have demonstrated, it just hasn't been a priority of mine until now. Now that I'm owning my likes, my current workflow of needing to visit the page in my browser that I'm liking, or copying the permalink to my posting interface, is getting in the way of liking things as much as I previously did on the various silos. Being able to read content within my own reader will mean I will have one-click likes and inline replies that post directly to my site.
My plan is to re-use a lot of the existing code of p3k which renders external content such as reposts and likes. I will also need to come up with a way to be able to add search feeds from silos, since I follow several hashtags on Twitter.
I haven't yet figured out what style of interface I want to use for my reader. I haven't been super happy with the multiple-column style like Tweetdeck in the past, but also don't want just a single stream of content like Facebook and Twitter. My current reading habits mostly revolve around Twitter searches streaming to several IRC channels, some public and some private. My first step in building a reader is designing the interface and interaction methods.
You can follow along with the development of this reader by following my #monocle tag.
It is unlikely this will make it into my 2015 accomplishments, but I'll list it here anyway. While I have been posting photos on my website since March 2014, I haven't yet replaced my use of Flickr. The photos I post on my site are more things I would have posted to Instagram, a curated select few of the many photos I take.
I use Flickr to post large batches of photos, often organized into sets based on events or topics.
I have previously made a website that can mirror a Flickr account in real time, called Flickr Archiver, so I will at least re-use a lot of the design decisions from that. I haven't yet decided if my photo archive is going to be built into aaronparecki.com or whether it will be a separate "app" the way Quill and Teacup are. I also have too many photos to store on my VPS that hosts my website, so I'll need to have a better solution for actually storing the photos, probably using Amazon S3.
Happy new year, and happy indiewebbing in 2015!