Evergreen Diary #9: On IndieWeb
When IndieWeb started, some years back, the first thing I noticed was that they appeared to be against the idea of feeds — or, at least, what they called side feeds: RSS and similar.
Their idea was that the data a reader might collect should be encoded in the page itself, using microformats. The argument (I think; I hope I’m not misrepresenting anyone) was that microformats are simpler than mantaining a separate file.
I don’t know which thought occurred to me first:
I took it personally, since I’d spent much of my career working with feeds, and I took this as a suggestion that my career was all wrong and they wouldn’t be interested in someone like me, someone who would be an ally in their committment to the open web.
I objected on practical grounds, too. Feeds have been and remain tremendously successful — see podcasting, for one thing — and the way forward is to build on that success. And, while I understand the elegance of microformats, side feeds have critical advantages that microformat-feeds don’t.
So I decided to ignore IndieWeb.
Here’s the thing, though: that was me being a total jerk.
(I’m telling you about this so you can learn from my mistake.)
But Manton also works with IndieWeb, and has mentioned any number of good ideas they have that I should look into.
It took me a while, but I realized that I was acting like a Clinton or Sanders supporter still arguing with the other side about the 2016 primaries — after losing the general election to a monster, after the point where those small differences matter at all.
And then I started to get excited about IndieWeb. I may have a difference of opinion when it comes to feeds, but who the hell cares when there’s so much good stuff to do? (They’re not holding my opinion against me; why should I hold theirs against them?)
And so I decided to support the h-feed format in Evergreen (hopefully in 1.0). That’s just for starters: I also decided to look into everything else and see what makes sense to support.
My default position now is: if a format or API or syncing service makes sense for a feed reader, then I’ll (at least try to) support it.