Chris Roos by Chris Roos

The first London IndieWeb Homebrew Website Club

We hosted the first London IndieWeb Homebrew Website Club at GFR HQ last night. We had a good turnout of around 14 people, including two remote participants. Thanks to everyone who came!

I wasn’t really sure what to expect so was really pleased that Tom Morris, Barry Frost and Glenn Jones (an extra thanks to Glenn for trekking up from Brighton) all took the time to demonstrate the projects they were working on.

Tom M demonstrated the software that powers his website, and particularly the geolocation work he’s been doing recently. You can see an example of Tom checking in to GFR HQ last night.

Barry’s written a few notes about last night and linked to the great presentation he gave about Baker, his own publishing software.

Glenn demonstrated transmat.io, his personal data store which he uses to provide the content for his personal site at glennjones.net.

Both James Adam and Kevin Marks participated remotely using talky.io. talky.io was recommended in the IWC IRC channel and it seemed to work really well - I’d definitely recommend having a play with it for remote audio/video participation.

Aside from the presentations, the two main areas of discussion that stick in my mind were around getting started with the indieweb, and a distributed version of something like GitHub.

Someone asked whether everyone was working on their own projects, or whether there were efforts to help people re-use what’s there. Tom M mentioned the wordpress indieweb plugin and I’m fairly sure that more than one person is using Idno (written by Ben Werdmuller, who previously co-founded Elgg). We also talked about indiewebify.me as a service that helps you test your own sites compliance with the indieweb principles.

Tom Stuart asked how a distributed GitHub might work, specifically how the forking/pull request process might work across repositories hosted on different servers. In the end, we realised that it should be fairly simple to build an interface to allow you to clone a repository to your own git server and then use webmentions to notify the source when you’ve made some changes. I know Tom’s already spent some time investigating this overnight so it’ll be interesting to see what comes of it.

Having discussed the idea of the next HWC (we talked about three or five weeks from now to bring us into line with the other HWCs), we wrapped everything up in the office and headed to the Old King’s Head to continue the discussion.

While I was really pleased with the turnout and the evening, there were a couple of things I’d like to change/improve next time.

I’d like a way for any remote participants to be able to see what’s being shown on the projector. We think this might be possible to do with talky.io but it looked non-trivial to set-up so we skipped it last night.

I’d like to avoid tying up my laptop hosting talky.io. We have an old Windows laptop we usually use for audio/video conferencing but that wasn’t quite up to the job of talky.io. I wonder if a cheap Chromebook would do the trick?

I’d like to think about alternative projector/seating arrangements. The position of the projector gave us a bit of a dead space that we couldn’t use and we ended up a little spread out. I wonder whether we might be able to mount the projector to allow us to make better use of the space.

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