Changed our business email hosting provider over the weekend. A fairly straightforward process other than changing the MX records. Used the live chat support to find out what they need to be changed to. It took nearly an hour for them to do it.

Maybe there was a genuine reason for why it took so long but anyway. Got it sorted eventually. And the new system is a lot easier to manage.

Been getting into using Drafts a lot more of late. Scripting is beyond me at the moment but I am making a lot of basic actions to automate stuff I do.

Like drafting a post for this blog. One action emails the draft to WordPress, saves a copy to Dropbox and opens Safari on my WordPress login so that I can open the post and do any final edits before publishing.

Think this will be one subscription app that really earns its keep.

Post Kinds Plugin for WordPress by Chris AldrichChris Aldrich

Post Types
Within the broader social media world there are a huge variety of types of posts. These range from common articles to status updates to likes or favorites to more varied post types like photos, bookmarks, RSVPs, checkins, videos, reviews, jams, reads, audio, exercise, food, recipes, and e…

As an IndieWeb newbie I am very much still getting to grips with many aspects of applying the principles to my WordPress blog. I had been struggling with how to implement reply-contexts until I came across this article by Chris Aldrich where he explains very clearly how to use the Post Kinds plugin. I hadn’t discovered the Response Properties box available in the post editor up until this point, but now I have I can show neat looking links, excerpts and author details for anything that I am replying to or commenting on. This post being a case in point.

Having moved my blog to WordPress, the first task was to choose an IndieWeb-friendly theme. Over at IndieWeb.org there is advice aplenty on what themes work well – I won’t pretend to understand it all yet. I have used Autonomie by Matthias Pfefferle. I like it’s minimalist look – no doubt some tinkering will occur.

The second task was to find a way to easily post to the blog without involving the ghastly WordPress app. To this end I dug into Drafts 5, which I haven’t used in an age. Initially I edited the Post to WordPress template that is available to download from the Action Directory. This was easy to set up but I quickly spotted a problem. For some reason that is beyond me, when I posted to WordPress using this action comments would be closed, overriding the default that I have set. I tried to rectify this but no joy.

Another option is to email a post to WordPress via Jetpack. I set up an Action in drafts which emails my text. Relevant tags are typed in the first line. The second line is a duplicate of the first few words of the blog post minus any markdown formatting – the reason for this will become obvious. The rest is the body of the post. Using this method seems not to interfere with the ‘comments on’ setting.

One slight hitch I discovered when emailing a post was that WordPress automatically created a post title – not something I use as a rule – using the current date. This is where that second duplicate line comes in. By inserting a title shortcode in the Drafts action which calls this line, WordPress uses this as a title instead of the date. While I don’t generally display the titles on the blog it should look better in RSS feeds than a date would. Probably not the most elegant solution but this does all mean I can type a post with tags and send it to WordPress in one click. And I’m all for fewer clicks.

For the past few months my blog has been hosted on Micro.blog. I really like the frictionless nature of using it. I mentioned this in a post in which I also said that I was done with WordPress. So why have I been fiddling around with a self-hosted WordPress site for my blog for the last week?

Firstly, when I said I was done with WordPress I was referring to WordPress.com. While there is a fair amount of customisation that can be done, access to plugins (and the subsequent tinkering that can be done) is limited unless you pay for a top-tier plan. If plug-ins are your thing, from a cost perspective alone it then makes sense to use a self-hosted site. And I like the idea of fiddling with plug-ins.

Secondly, I have become intrigued by the IndieWeb movement. I like the ethos of owning your own content and communicating with other web users without having to use social media. Micro.blog is IndieWeb compatible, and while it is accessible it does have one or two limitations. One drawback is that in order to comment on someone’s post you have to be a member, which means that you won’t have comments on your own posts from people outside of the Micro.blog community. Another drawback is when it comes to customising the website templates that are used – I am not that great at it. Admittedly, this is largely down to my own lack of coding knowledge, but I am more familiar with using WordPress. Additionally, there are several plugins available for WordPress that support the IndieWeb and I want to experiment with these and get my head around webmentions, endpoints and the like.

I suspect my logic here is somewhat skewed and someone with much better knowledge of both platforms could point out good reasons for me to stick with Micro.blog. I will continue to take part in the community there and I may yet go back to using Micro.blog to host my blog, but for now this is a particular itch I have to scratch.

Before using Micro.blog I had a blog on WordPress.com. In fact, I’ve had more than one – all started with good intentions, but each has run aground. One reason is WordPress itself. It is so feature rich that it would get in the way of what blogging is about – writing. And I’m not talking about being distracted by features.

I found using both the WordPress app and website at best slow and clunky, at worst prone to freezing and crashing. Simply getting a post published was a tedious process. And with recent updates (blocks!) the experience only got worse.

And this is where I like Micro.blog. A nigh on frictionless experience. I can write and post, and within seconds my blog is updated.

 

Welcome to my blog. I have started various blogs over the years, most of which have fizzled out for one reason or another. I like the discipline of writing – I think it is good for my brain.

Probably the main reason that I have not managed to keep blogging in the past is because most of the ones I have started are on a single topic. Because I tend to dabble in one thing, move on to something else, and then come back, I often found I lost momentum.

With this blog my aim is to cover any topic that interests me and therefore keep it up to date, I hope. We will see!