Removing IndieWeb WordPress Plugins

I am reevaluating my use of certain IndieWeb technologies. In 2018 I added a set of plugins to my website and started using a microformats 2 theme, SemPress to mark up my website so that content could be interpreted by other sites. SemPress is the only theme in the WordPress repository that is fully microformats2 compliant and can fully use all the features and extension of the IndieWeb plugins.

Webmentions and Semantic Linkbacks

My favourites of all the plugins is Webmention and Semantic Linkback. The Webmention plugin supports the webmention protocol, allowing my website to send and receive messages from other websites. For example, I can create a blog post on my website as a response to a blog post on another website. The other website will receive a webmention with my response which the website can choose to display using Semantic Linkbacks. Since my website theme, SemPress, uses microformats 2 that the Semantic Linkbacks plugin can interpret, it may add my profile picture or other parts of my page to display my post response as a full comment.

But only a few websites that I link to use IndieWeb plugins, and only a few WordPress themes have any form of microformats2 support, and only one, SemPress, that is fully microformats2 compliant. If I want my website to look a certain way, if I want to change to a professionally developed theme, I will lose microformats2 support. There is a Microformat 2 plugin which microformats2, but it has not been tested with the latest three major releases of WordPress.

Publicize, a JetPack feature that makes it easy to share my website’s posts on several social media networks automatically when I publish a new blog post, breaks the display of webmentions comments and face piles.

So let me lay it out my option as I see it:

  1. Ccontunue using SemPress
  2. Continue using IndieWeb plugins
  3. Learn CSS so that I can tweak SemPress to look the way I want my website to look

Or realising that most websites I link to can't receive or process Webmentions:

  1. Find a new theme that displays my content in a way I like
  2. Run the untested Microformat 2 plugin
  3. Continue using IndieWeb plugins

Or, and this is where my thinking is right now:

  1. Find a new theme that displays my content in a way I like
  2. Remove all IndieWeb plugins


I enabled the IndieAuth plugin, allows me to use my domain to sign in to other websites and services. However, the list of website and services where I can use this is limited, so as much at this is cool tech, the plugin is of little utility to my website.

Syndication Links

Syndicating content is more effort than I want. Syndicating to Facebook required me to relax the privacy controls on my Facebook to make everything public (no thank you!) or first manually post content to Facebook and mark it "public", then copy-paste the URL back to my blog post. Same for Instagram. Same for most of the social website I use, such as Foursquare, Untappd, Yelp, etc. I think Twitter and Flickr are the only social website that is automated for syndication links, but I hardly use either of those these days.

Syndicating my Untappd and Instagram posts require too much effort. First, check-in to the beer (image, tag brewery, location, friends, etc.) using the Untappd app. Then create a new drink post on my blog, copy-paste the UR from Untappd, fix all the text the parser got wrong, upload beer image, add post tags, publish.

Use the Instagram app to upload and tag my image. Switch back to WordPress, create a new post, upload image from my Mac, and then copy-paste the Instagram URL into the syndication link box. If you use Instagram and Untappd a lot, it gets tiring. I could use OwnYourGram to pull content from Instagram but I didn't like the way the posts were formatted and I didn't like relying on a third-party service.

I stopped doing it. Also, Webmentions and Semantic Linkbacks are not supported by Untappd so I gain nothing.

Post Kinds

I found this one useful. I like being able to drop in a link and have the parser pull an excerpt from the webpage being linked to. I think this is the one IndieWeb plugin I will keep.

WordPress Theme Creation

Every time I tell myself "I will write my WordPress theme", I start learning about what is required and ... I quit. I feel overwhelmed and demotivated by the amount of effort. I already know PHP (but my skills are rusty), and with some time and effort, I think I could learn the WordPress Codex. But ... CSS. Argh! That would take a lot of time for me to learn.

And I want this theme support microformats2. Another learning curve. So as I see it I have three learning curves to climbs:

  • WordPress Codex
  • CSS
  • microformats 2

I think the issue is one of time. Assuming I could dedicate 1-2 hours a week (between work, wife, and kid, I have little time) to learning each of those, how long would it take? Assuming a week to learn each one, it could take me years.

In reality, I have no interest in learning how to create a WordPress theme. What I want is a minimalist and elegant WordPress theme that supports microformats 2.