Webmention is glue

Loved this post by my NYC IndieWeb colleague Marty McGuire about how Webmention is glue, and yet “webmention” is often used conversationally around the IndieWeb to instead mean the results it enables. Marty sees a subtle threat of definition-erosion there.

It feels natural to say that a page that uses, say, Webmention-based RSVPs is “powered by Webmention” — but if that same page displays comments received through the same technology, one calls those comments “webmentions”. That should be as strange as calling web pages “HTTPs” or something.

The RSVPs, the comments, the pages — all are complex end-results made possible by many underlying technologies braiding their work together. The communication protocols that enable them in every case show off just one possible application of themselves. Just as HTTP has grown to power countless purposes beyond sending HTML documents to browsers, Webmention wants a future where it empowers all sorts of inter-domain communication not even imagined yet.

Marty’s critique on JavaScript-dependent display systems is on the money, too, and gives me a dose of humility about how Whim’s own display-engine works — and inspiration to improve it.

Fluffy’s response to the same article is great, too.

2020-07-20


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