I have, I think, added webmentions to posts (like this one) on this site.
Right here I really want to link to a good description of what webmentions are but beyond the Wikipedia entry’s first sentence…
Webmention is a W3C recommendation that describes a simple protocol to notify any URL when a website links to it, and for web pages to request notifications when somebody links to them.
…anything more substantive gets even more impenetrable. They’re like Trackbacks, for any bloggers old enough to remember them, and about as confusing once you start trying to implement them.
There are two broad webmention-y areas to cover when implementing them:
- Send a mention to pages that you’ve linked to, letting them know that you’ve done so.
- Provide an endpoint that accepts submissions saying “this URL on your site has been mentioned by that URL on another site”. And then add various bits of HTML around the place that make that endpoint discoverable to automated tools.
Inevitably there are further wrinkles and corners and edge cases.
Point 1 can often be handled manually. For example, if you mention a post on my site you can send it a mention by putting the URL of your page in the form that you’ll find towards the bottom of my page. That’s a replacement for having your page automatically send a webmention to my site’s endpoint.
I started off writing everything from scratch but soon realised I was copying enough code from existing solutions that this was even sillier than usual, and so I’ve ended up using django-wm. With its author, Michael Beaton, kindly adding a few tweaks I’ve managed to get it all up and running.
There are still some of those wrinkles to iron out but for a version one it seems best to put it live and see what happens.
Probably very little. This has all felt like way too much work considering the little benefit I expect to get from it. But it’s something I wanted to see working, something I want to exist. Being automatically told, “Here’s a new post linking to that thing you wrote,” feels like something that should work. It’s a shame it’s currently so fiddly to get working, as a concept.
Anyway, I will be sending whatever test Webmentions I can find to this page. Feel free to send any you like here too, should you want somewhere to send your own mentions. It can take a while for me to get round to manually approving them before they appear though.