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IndieWebCamp Berlin 2019

IndieWebCamp was back in Berlin again this month for a weekend of talks, discussion and making, along with a meeting for IndieWeb organisers the day before.


The focus of IndieWebCamps is, as always, a volunteer-run event with no attendance fee, aimed at bringing together people to discuss, share and create to advance the independent web. As a volunteer I took the opportunity to look at ways we could improve the future planning and facilitation of IndieWebCamps including better information about the accessibility of events and overall facilitation.

Day 1 - discussions

On the discussions day we started as usual with intros and demos from all the attendees as well as a keynote by Yulia on her past experience as a first-time attendee and organiser. We then moved on to session planning: inviting everyone to propose a session, if they wanted to, and add it to the session grid.

Yulia presenting at IndieWebCamp inside Mozilla Berlin offices

Before commencing sessions everyone was invited to split into small discussion groups and head out to different places for lunch. I decided to join the group going to helloGoodPie, where we had a discussion on creating a social network for the IndieWeb.

Attendees doing session planning for IndieWebCamp inside Mozilla Berlin offices

Suitably warmed-up and fuelled with opening discussion and food, we returned for the first sessions of the afternoon. I went to One Click IndieWeb Setup for Wordpress, facilitated by David Shanske, who demonstrated the range of IndieWeb features and plugins that can be set up in WordPress with relative simplicity.

David presenting at IndieWebCamp inside Mozilla Berlin offices about WordPress plugins for IndieWeb

Next up I attended the session All Things Auth where we discussed IndieAuth and all matters related to authenticating yourself on the web. IndieAuth is an extension to find authorization endpoints in a website layered on top of OAuth.

After that I went to All Things Pictures where we discussed and shared our approaches to publishing images on our websites. There are many variations in approaches depending on what kind of CMS or framework people have for their website. Syndicating posts out to platforms like Twitter or pulling them in from Instagram with single or multiple images can pose different challenges due to unpredictable API changes.

Leading on from that I went to the Storing + Sharing Bookmarks session. Again, as with pictures, there are many variations in approaches to bookmarking dependent on what setup people have. Whilst some people store bookmarks with third-party services, like Delicious or Pinboard, others have self-built solutions for not only storing but publicly sharing and endorsing bookmarks between each other.

In the final session for the day I went to Ian Forrester's session titled How can the Indieweb help the public service internet?!. Ian's background in working with BBC Research & Development gave us some helpful perspective on how using OpenWeb authentication could be applied to the internet-based services provided by public service broadcasters, like the BBC, rather than just copying approaches by the commercial providers.

Happy participants of the 2019 Berlin IndieWebCamp 2019 Day 1

Day 2 - making

Back for the second day some of us, but not everyone, made it along for the making day in which attendees work together or independently to get things working on their websites. I had a couple of things to check off my list of improvements and tweaks. First something that I needed to do was add an extra field for alternative image descriptions to my hand-rolled CMS and templates.

I caught up with Chanel whom I'd met briefly the last time I was in Berlin. It was her first time at an IndieWebCamp so I gave her a few pointers on where to get started.

Having spent a couple of hours tweaking my CMS I then proceeded to make changes to how I display my events page. This includes associated materials like presentations and conferences I've attended or will be attending. To do all of this was a big task which I didn't manage to finish though I did learn more about implementing the Leaflet Js library in order to display a map of my events coverage. I managed to retrieve my archived Lanyrd profile so as to give me some ideas for content and overall design.

Furthermore I relaunched a documentation project, IndieWebGuides, I've been working on for the past couple of years using Eleventy to build it. It's still very much a work in progress without a lot of content but I'm happier with the new content architecture I've built and designed for it. I hope over time to encourage others to contribute to it through GitHub and provide prominence to well written articles about the IndieWeb elsewhere.

Happy participants of the 2019 Berlin IndieWebCamp 2019 Day 2

Final thoughts

All in all I'm pleased I was able to attend IndieWebCamp Berlin once more and get the opportunity to see past and new attendees all with different perspectives and experiences to contribute to the IndieWeb. It's great to see plenty of future IndieWebCamps planned here in Europe both continuing in previous locations and a couple of new ones in the Netherlands and UK for 2019!

Reference + reading