The next Homebrew Website Club Meeting is Wed, Feb 26, 2014!

Are you building your own website? IndieReader? Personal publishing web app? Some other digital magic-cloud proxy? If so, come on by and join a gathering of people with likeminded interests. Bring your friends that want to start a personal web site. Exchange information, swap ideas, talk shop, help work on a project, etc. What’s the “IndieWeb?” See Rise of the IndieWeb (video: 45min)

Homebrew Computer Club

See the Homebrew Website Club Newsletter Volume 1 Issue 1 for a description of the first meeting.


2014-02-26 at 18:30-19:30


  • San Francisco: TBD
  • Portland: Esri R&D Center, 920 SW 3rd Ave #400, Portland, OR



Header Photo Credit: Bob Lash – Memoir of a Homebrew Computer Club Member.

IndieReader: Subscribe to People From Your Own Site

Last night at Portland’s Homebrew Website Club Aaron Parecki modified the Selfoss reader to be able to parse Microformats instead of just RSS feeds. The result? A much asked for ability: the ability to subscribe to IndieWeb sites through a reader!

Selfoss reader hosted on parsing

IndieReader people list hosted on

IndieReader works because IndieWeb sites use Microformats, and if you have a reader that can parse them you can subscribe to the community without the messy XML of RSS feeds!

Have an IndieReader installed on your own domain? Take a look at the IndieReader subscription list file.

If you run your own IndieReader you can import this list into it and it will save you the time of adding each person individually.

Below is an example of how an article is rendered on your own site in the reader. I’ve been enjoying reading Ben Werd‘s posts from this reader the most since seeing them rendered in a totally new way.

Selfoss reader article view IndieReader

You can take a look at the Selfoss form here, download it and host it on your own site. It would be fantastic if we can get Microformat support incorporated into the original version of selfoss! Have issues to report?

Wonder what the IndieWeb is and why I keep talking about it so much? Join #indiewebcamp on IRC or check out!

Homebrew Website Club Newsletter Volume 2 Issue 3 – Portland Edition

This evening Aaron Parecki and I hosted a Homebrew Website Club at Esri R&D Center Portland! Here’s a write-up of the event.

Homebrew Website Club Portland Edition


  • 13 people at Portland at Esri’s R&D Center
  • 12 at San Francisco’s Mozilla office location.


Aaron Parecki Has been doing IndieAuth and Micropub (Micropub a way to create Microformats-based content). Allows you to post short notes and content to your site vs. a social network first. working on backend and authorization part of that. also been improving the UI of my site thanks to the work Ryan Barrett pulling in content from Twitter and Facebook and people reply to it on twitter, my likes show up or comments show up on my site from those networks thanks to

Eric Drexel Static site generated using HARP hosted on S3. Haven’t posted to it for couple months because I’ve been working on another project – an app. collaborative writing app called pillowfork running on couchdb. lets you collaboratively create a story with differnet outcomes. meant to explore using content addressable storage objects.

Benjamin Chait. Literature background. interested in how publishing looks on the web, throwing cryptography into it. as we store everything online, running WordPress on my own site.

Amber Case Running p3k. Doing a lot of talks about IndieWeb lately. Been obsessed with owning my own data since running various blogs since 1998, and running a WordPress blog on my own server 2003 or 2004. Talk links:

Bret Comnes Moved to PDX couple years ago. PSU physics. Went to IndieWebCamp 2013 in Portland. before that he started getting into basic web development stuff for fun. “I don’t want to post on Facebook anymore I want to post on my own stuff. I started a Jekyll site, had been pushing the basic IndieWeb features into that. Getting tired of designing around those limitations, have been looking at Node.js. right now hung up with school.

Naomi Rubin – recently became a domain name reseller through Tucows, have access to .in, indian national domains. got my full name as a domain. do a lot of front end work, illustrations, make comics, WordPress customization for comics online. also written some widget things for displaying images. interested in image-like boxes, how to make tools that are very responsive for images. lately i’ve been hung up on the idea of having something to collect a lot of images together in one place for inspiration. I have yet to find a way of storing these images that is like something i can access on all platforms without it being tied to a specific user experience, server

Anne Marie (no personal domain) – 2 days ago had the idea of a project. Has a background in musicology. Wants to try a rebranding self as a really great personal social experiment to try to find out what’s next. my new brand is going to be “not musicology”. Who am I that’s not musicology. that’s going to be my contribution. and i don’t have a personal domain name but i’m going to set one up.

Nate Goldman – Jekyll blog, haven’t updated it in a year. i want to update it and indiewebify it. i’m interested in exploring the indieweb stuff. have a big project started 3 days ago. code for portland. a civic hacking organization that doesn’t exist yet but has lots of following. i want to make a site for it that’s indieweb friendly. i’ve been toying around on the web a couple decades. i can help with node.js. and if anyone wants to put somethong on a virtual private server like digital ocean i cjust figured out how to do that.

Emma Kuo (no personal site right now) – Heavily involved in livejournal in the past. i was also creating some personal software. Trying to factor out concepts common to a lot of social media sites and develop them into their own software someone could run on their own site. pressures of school forced me to abandon that project. i found this meetup on in portland.

Crystal Beasley – Runs a Jekyll version of a WordPress site that keeps getting hacked. doing an apparel company and an art project finishing 2 years of working on personal for mozilla. looking forward to some new the browser more about people and less about silos. one way would be to keep track of your shared link stream. other project i’m pitching is an ephemeral group chat, which is similar to irc in a bit more of an interface people are used to. mobile first, work on desktop as well. a buffer of 25 messages and then if the message is over 30 days that and the room disappear. We have private spaces, like email, and public spaces, like Facebook, even though it was intended to be a personal space. Chatrooms are underserved as a place to have a conversation that can disappear.

Anselm Hook – Wants to revise the site a bit. It’s made part of all of these little data objects stored in itself. i’d like to that that whole soup of objects in that system, and extend it beyond my own site. Get it all together a whole stream of my friends. I think Facebook is very self centric, I would want this to be more group experience. I want it to be made of little tiny pieces of code that are very granular
I would like to have an indie version of Facebook that’s more group centered. i guess i would start it with an aggregator.
I made a list of features Facebook has “if i were to escape from here are the things I need”. the two things i really need from Facebook are events and feedback (replies). I just want to know when people are doing cool things

Perry Wagle – Inherited photos from years ago from both sides of family. Need to scan them. Once scanned it and would like to keep those scans around for another 100 years, beyond the span of a human lifetime. Just trying to figure out what the mechanics are there. Becomes an issue of copying it to new media every so often. Not sure the people who have the media will know what to do with it in the future. Trying to hurry up and scan the darn things in, which is going to take me quite a number of hours

Andy Sylvester – Mentioned feeling older than a lot of people in the room. Aerospace engineer who has done software engineering for much of his career. lockheed martin, etc. In Wilsonville makes HUDs for aircraft for the military. rockwell collins. His dad bought a commodore pit. it was before the Commodore 64. played with computers a lot , both at work and a home .built different things, different sites. last year i noticed this thing IndieWebCamp. now has a little more time. Month or two ago I decided I wanted to do this. jumped onto the wiki, got a little stuck, had help from people on the irc channel, made a video on WebMention on my site using WordPress, which is what i’m running.
like to understand them and help people understand these things too. the thing i’m really interested in having a conversation with IndieWeb on my own site. subscribing to other sites (following) and finally curating the web. Try to keep up with it, and make list of it. Saw Aaron Parecki’s bookmarks running on his own site.

Meetup Notes

Aaron Parecki: Looks like the Mozilla Meetup is deep in it in SF. I’d like to mention the state of what people have working on their site at this point.

Basically everyone here is trying to use their own site to actually post the data they would on Facebook or Twitter on their own site and actually have a conversation with people from those sites.

We know that these sites go away, you can see the site-deaths on the wiki. the idea is to use your own website to post these notes. The important thing that the content lives on your domain, not what software we use. Twitter shows us that it’s fun to communicate and reply to one another and have a conversation on the web.

And through Microformats we can actually do that. there are a lot of people doing this now, having conversations with each other on their site.
there are a lot of people still on silos that do this, because those 3rd party sites are great for distribution and a wider audience. People who would not have otherwise gone to your site to see it.

The way to talk from site to site is called WebMention, where I write something on my own site and mention your site or your post. The post on my site links to the post on your site. The servers can know that the conversation took place and post it on each other’s site.

A lot of this stuff is written up on the IndieWebCamp Wiki so you can see the html involved. That’s just the beginning. There are lots of interesting things you can do with it once you have the building blocks. The HTML is just the foundation. For example, one thing we’re doing with this is looking at how we can use this to do better events, looking at Facebook to see what’s being doing right.

What else are people working on? There’s also a group looking at doing private posts. What if you don’t want to post public? It’s not always easy. There’s some work being done there with authentication and access control. While it’s not currently a huge priority it seems on people’s minds, it’s expected that there will be more interest there next year.

Bret Comnes: There’s been a large emphasis not on building one project.

Aaron Parecki: Yes, and this is an important note: we’re not trying to build a single code base. What are you trying to do on your own site. We don’t imagine a perfect system that works for everyone. Lots of us are documenting our work on our own website.

Caseorganic: Modularity and interoperability are key. That’s why is such an important project. It’s a Lego block that helps out the entire IndieWeb. When you post a note on your own site, then syndicate a copy of that note to Twitter, you wouldn’t be able to get replies posted back to your site. takes those replies or likes on Twitter or Facebook and allows you to post a copy of them on your site. Suddenly you can post on your own site and syndicate elsewhere (POSSE) as well as receive all of those replies normally lost on your site! Example:

Anselm Hook: What about spam?

Aaron Parecki: That’s a problem we haven’t hit yet. is the thing that’s helping this to become a problem now we’re getting twitter spam bots post tweets on my site. The idea is to get the basic pieces of IndieWeb working first.

Caseorganic: For a while you could edit my personal wiki only if I was following you on Twitter. That solved the spam issue.

Aaron Parecki: One thing you could do is only display things that are form people in your social graph or allow people to comment that are in the social graph. But spam? This might not be something solvable. If that’s something you’re interested in tackling, feel free to do so on your site and show it.

Bret Comnes: What about private data?

Aaron Parecki: As more and more stuff becomes less public we might have to be careful. For instance, not show responses from private Twitter accounts on your site

Caseorganic: Shall we split up into groups now? I know that some people want replies implemented on their site, etc., and I know that Andy Sylvester came here on a mission.

Aaron Parecki: Great, so we have one cluster about people getting set up with something on their site.

Bret Comnes: I could go through – It’s a way to get started on IndieWeb.

Small Group Breakout

  • Aaron Parecki – aggregators discussion and debugging the wordpress webmention plugin.
  • Bret Comnes – []
  • Caseorganic and Benjamin Chait – discussion notes below

Benjamin Chait: The concept of IndieWeb is interesting to me. I spent 5 years at Apple teaching people how to use technology, whether it was a Mac or a phone or an iPad. Sometimes it was as simple as “how do you login to something like Facebook or Twitter. I find with the IndieWeb, it’s a little bit of a tension between something that it’s great to talk about, better to implement and showcase it, but I think that’s a much hioher level of entry. So that’s the paradox that I see vs. something everyone can use (Facebook).

Caseorganic: I agree with you, but I think there’s a middle ground. Take WordPress for example. You can participate both as a user and a developer in the system. As a user you can do configurable stuff that makes like something function different or look different without touching any code, simply from a configuration screen or switching a theme. WordPress doesn’t develop one thing in as much as it’s an ecosystem with a giant library of themes, plugins and projects under development. Everyone making their products, as a WordPress user, you can choose how deep want to go. Either one install, theme, post. or write a plugin. That spectrum allows for adoption and a flexibility of creativity that you wouldn’t get with a system that’s like completely built as a monolithic thing.

Benjamin Chait: On the other hand a a company like FB is wildly successful (largest event site, photo site). How much of that comes form being standardized and something my mom and dad can use?

Caseorganic: Remember when you could arrange your profile page on Facebook page?

Benjamin Chait: Yes! That changed over time, and then came timeline. I really love (Facebook) timeline’s design, but it standardizes the experience in a different way.

Caseorganic: Useful to note at this point that 19 percent of the web runs on WordPress (cited on

Benjamin Chait: I am not sure how to put this considering you’re taking copious notes right now, but I wonder if a product like Facebook’s Paper App–created by a year of work and some interesting UX and UI design—is something that can be produced form the Open Source Community (in terms of design). Not saying it’s perfect, but i find it to be a very compelling example of what can be produced today by a large organization.

Caseorganic: You have to realize now that Facebook is a large organization. The signs up on the wall in this office from Facebook “move fast and break things” are no longer valid in an organization that size. Moving fast is not possible with an app with so much traction.

It is very clever of Facebook to break off a piece of the development work into a demo project, develop it on the side, then release it, take what works, and then integrate it into the core. Paper is more than a project, it is an internal demo for Facebook for a way to experiment without the overhead of a larger entity or stakes. Moving fast and breaking things at scale involves actually breaking things into smaller pieces.

This is why I think it is exciting that the IndieWeb inherently follows this method. Work small, demo, integrate into the whole what works, and you get this emergent structure out of that that’s resilient, with things evolving at the edges out of people exploring new projects.

And because of that, I have no fear that open source can have great design. One of the cores of the IndieWeb movement is UX. We have to do UX at the level or better than that of the silos to make tools that people can use. We have to make interfaces for ourselves that we use, and we’re used to good interfaces. It’s just an evolution of design. The early web was pretty ugly. We evolved. Software engineers evolved.

When you think about it, it’s not only many UX designers (the blurring between front and back end web development) but many of the people who worked on standards in the past, still are working on them today, and have made their own formats to deal with where the web was lacking – Microformats! For example Tantek mentioned in this talk on Microformats. At Technorati they started to index HTML vs. RSS entirely because RSS feeds were not being updated when the HTML of a site was updated. People were focused on the human readable part of the site, but not the machine-readable (RSS and XML). One of the reasons Tantek Celik and Kevin Marks started Microformats was to solve the problem they were finding in these feeds. Just having the markup in the HTML solves the problem of having to maintain an XML feed and your site!

Benjamin Chait: Interesting you mention Microformats. I was super excited about Microformats in 2006. My perception was that it didn’t die but it never took off. The IndieWeb is actually beginning to use those relationship tags. I think alsoGoogle is also using relationship tags to tie google+ content to profile. I’m now seeing it used in a number of different ways, which is cool. But I still haven’t seen how my site’s Microformats will work with yours. Maybe that’s what it’s going to take to convince me.

  • Caseorganic takes out a laptop and shows h-entry, h-card on on a note, and also on replies to that note that have come from

Benjamin Chait: But what happens if goes away ? Isn’t using shifting dependence to a different service?

Caseorganic: Technically you need to host this service on your domain too. Let’s ask Tantek.

  • Caseorganic posts in IRC channel #indiewebcamp on

Caseorganic: Tantek: Question by benjaminchait: What happens if goes away ? Isn’t that shifting dependence to a different service?

20:07 tantek: caseorganic – bridgy is also opensource – you can run it completely on your own server as well

20:08 tantek: think of the service as just bootstrapping for getting the UI working on your own site for comments, mentions, favorites etc. from silo backfeeds

20:08 tantek: and then when you have all that UI/UX working

20:08 tantek: you can switch to running the bridgy backend on your own site

Benjamin Chait: I’ve used IFTTT to post content on my own site. so i have my replies, i know what people said. i want an elegant solution
otherwise i’m going to become a digital hoarder, which terrifies me, although i should mention i already am.

Caseorganic: (grins) The difference between a hoarder and not is presentation and elegance of the items (think of a rich person with a library – (technically a hoarder, but organized).

Ben had to go at this point. Caseorganic joined Bret Comnes group on

Bret was giving a demo on a monitor about how to get started with the IndieWeb.

Naomiyaki posted some URLs related to the group on the IRC channel



Discussion turned to hosting and posting images on your own domain.

Naomiyaki: Is there a way to specify in a blog post that one image is there to be seen or shared or presented as the main one on in the reply on your site? Comics were mentioned.

Bret found a comic posted by Ben Werdmuller on his site.

Bret Comnes: Someone has been talking about sanitizing HTMl and using that, or doing markup.

Caseorganic: Might be interesting Microformats to make. A featured image Microformat. What’s not covered currently for this in the hMedia Microformat? Can you look at the source of that comic to see if he used hMedia? (looks at source) Looks like Ben made his own class – Idno-comics.

Bret Comnes: Ben Werdmuller wrote Idno, which is furthest along to something for others to use. he has a comic posted here (goes to the page)

Naomiyaki: Ben’s site: “Can’t wait to bug him about images and comics transcriptions!”

Caseorganic: Speaking of which there’s a page on IndieWebCamp about everyone’s personal projects and their efforts.

Bret Comnes: It’s kind of unsorted. We need a highlights page.

Caseorganic: Cool, you should make that!

Bret Comnes: I don’t know if i’m the right person to make it.

Caseorganic: Yes, you are! Anyone who says something is needed is the right person to make it.

Bret Comnes: But I just have a list of projects i’m watching in a text doc on my computer.

Caseorganic: You already have a list? Then you just make a page as a stub and put the list on the page. People will come in and clean it up later. Link to it from the existing projects page.

Anne Marie: I’d like to add something. This my first time to IndieWeb. There are a lot of concepts here. I’d like to try out an analogy. There was a time before Facebook and Twitter, where you had your own space on the web to create something with.

It makes me think about the time in which people played instruments at home, playing piano, and made their own entertainment. There was a time in music where recorded music came about. People started listening to recorded music. Now you just listen and you don’t make it.

So the IndieWeb is like being able to play your own instruments again. Oh my god, it’s like the Maker movement!

That’s one of my favorite moments in music history. The moment where people stopped playing music and started consuming it.

Naomiyaki: It’s like you can buy instant food at the grocery store. but where does it come from, and who made it?

Discussion turned again to Microformats. Why are they important? We talked a bit about recipes.

Caseorganic: Recipes were the original killer app for Microformats.

Crystal Beasley: one percent of google searches are for recipes.

Everyone: Wow!!!

Naomiyaki: Recommended for learning HTML5

Discussion turned to short notes.

Bret Comnes: Tom Morris posts notes from his blog.

Caseorganic: He just posted something incredible. A capture of a moment in time. The state of web development right now. How many software developers would it take to change a lightbulb?

Emma: What does IndieWeb run on? What about static sites?

Caseorganic: It runs on whatever you write it on, or whatever software you find is written in.

Bret Comnes: There’s a project called Poa. it takes Jekyll posts and hosts them in Node.

Nate Goldman: It’s self-hosted?

Bret Comnes: Yes.

Crystal Beasley mentioned a bunch of Intel drives that if not kept powered up are prone to failure. We discussed data longevity and storage.

Naomiyaki: We just need a CNC machine to print out everything you publish and put it in your house!

Anne Marie: if your domain is your home, every time you publish something it should become a part of your house.

Emma: (asked a question about RSS and why Microformats are important).

Aaron Parecki joined the discussion, as his group wrapped up their conversation.

Aaron Parecki: The idea of Microformas is that you should change as little as you can about your html for machines to be able to read it. Rather than have to define a brand new format for publishing data, it’s all based on html. Another key thing: there’s no invisible data. html is the thing people are reading, so machines should be able to read it as well. That’s why RSS has become irrelevant. A separate format of data. People are more interested in presenting site content to people (HTML), not in present site content to machines (XML).

Caseorganic: After google dropped google reader that was the nail in the coffin for RSS. Because people aren’t consuming their sites through feed readers, there’s no incentive to make the feeds look good.

Aaron Parecki: Microformats asks the question of, “what can you do to the html to make it more readable by machines vs. make a whole machine language?”

2014-02-12 21:00 Everyone has left but aaronpk, caseorganic, ungoldman

Location-Specific Meeting Notes (Esri R&D Center Portland)

We started in the conference room then moved to the main room. Not having a projector but smaller screens and tables worked really well for discussion. Tables on wheels made the discussions easy to move. Also having IndieMark helped break the group up into smaller groups. One group wanted to do some implementation

Overall impression: This larger group was really fun! Great mix of people with different backgrounds and perspectives. Having a mixed group was great because more experienced people get to explain things to people new to the concepts while they are still learning hem, which tests personal knowledge of the concepts themselves. We asked where extra people came from (last few meetups in Portland had 3-4 people). Some came from watching Caseorganic’s talk on the IndieWeb at New Relic. Anselm Hook and Anne Marie came from a Facebook discussion Caseorganic and Kevin Marks responded to, with Aaron Parecki and Tantek Celik joining in on IRC.

Final note: Aaron Parecki and Caseorganic forgot to eat dinner. Too exciting.

What We Built Tonight

2014-02-12 21:30 Aaron got an RSS reader to read Microformats and made an RSS reader with a web and mobile view that you can host on your own site!
IndieNews Aggregator on by Aaron Parecki

2014-02-12 23:00 Anselm made an IndieReader hosted on his own domain that aggregates the content of and
IndieNews Aggregator on by Anselm Hook

Notes from San Francisco

Notes from tonight’s San Francisco chapter of the Homebrew Website Club by Kevin Marks: #indieweb (

Miscellaneous Notes

Links from Bret’s session: from naomiyaki.

[@ungoldman] Links from @bretolius talk on the anatomy of an indieweb site: #indiewebcamp (

[pdx] caseorganic: Links from bret’s talk that were still in the browser

Come to Homebrew Website Club in Portland and San Francisco!

Are you building your own website? Indie reader? Personal publishing web app? Some other digital magic-cloud proxy? If so, come on by and join a gathering of people with likeminded interests. Bring your friends that want to start a personal web site. Exchange information, swap ideas, talk shop, help work on a project, etc.

Homebrew Computer Club

See the Homebrew Website Club Newsletter Volume 1 Issue 1 for a description of the first meeting.


2014-02-12 at 18:30-19:30


  • San Francisco: Mozilla SF, 1st floor, 2 Harrison st. (at Embarcadero), San Francisco, CA
  • Portland: Esri R&D Center, 920 SW 3rd Ave #400, Portland, OR


San Francisco:


Header Photo Credit: Bob Lash – Memoir of a Homebrew Computer Club Member.

OSCON Talk Proposal: Own your Data: An Introduction to the IndieWeb

Though I’ve been living in Portland, Oregon for the last 8 years, I’ve never actually submitted a talk topic to OSCON, O’Reilly’s Open Source Conference. I’ve attended the event, the after parties, and enjoyed visiting with all of the fantastic people who come to Portland every year for the conference. This year I broke that streak and made a talk submission on the IndieWeb. I hope it gets accepted!

Own your Data: An Introduction to the IndieWeb

Tools and Techniques

What happens when an online service you use freezes your account, loses your data, or goes out of business? Have you ever used a service by a company that suddenly went under, stranding your data? Do you own your own identity or do you sharecrop? What happened to the web in 2003?

The IndieWeb movement is a global community that is building an open set of principles and methods that empower people to take back ownership of identity and data instead of sharecropping on 3rd party websites. Homestead, don’t sharecrop! You’ll learn about ways to empower yourself to own your data, create and publish content on your own site, and only optionally syndicate to third-party silos. Along the way you’ll get a solid grounding in the history and future of Microformats, domain ownership, IndieAuth, WebMention and more.

IndieWebCamp 2014 is in Portland, Oregon!

If you’re not coming to town for OSCON, you should definitely consider coming to town for Portland’s own Open Source Conference, Open Source Bridge! Right after OSBridge is IndieWebCamp 2014! If you haven’t signed up yet, I highly encourage it. IndieWebCamp 2014 . Guest List.