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Christopher James Willcock

Enjoy Kaizen

Tag: IndieWeb

Testing micropub via Quill.

Pancakes!

Time to make a new theme for cjwillcock.ca.

I forked my Psymantic theme and made a new theme, Pancakes. I’ll install it here, then make it less ugly. It’s going to break things, but not for long I expect.

Pancakes is also free software, because software wants to be free! Enjoy.

Lastly, a screenshot of what once was, for posterity. Shout out and kudos to David Shanske, the provider of the twentysixteen-indieweb theme I have used until now.

Tab Quantizer Chrome Extension Beta

I authored and personally use this Tab Quantizer Chrome extension & companion server script, to record my browsing history from Chrome onto my own server. I publish some of the information I gather with this, to my Now page (near the bottom).

  • Keeps a running tab of active Chrome browser tabs across multiple devices and multiple windows.
  • Records a complete history of pageviews with time and URL
  • Records ‘walks’ – the series of pages viewed in a given tab, from the time it first opens, through each pageview until it closes

To make this work you need your own server for the script that records the data. Given that this extension is not coming from the built-in Play store (or whatever it is for Chrome) you’ll need to enable developer mode and load the unpacked extension manually. A consequence of this is after each Chrome update, the extension needs to be manually enabled.

I have been thinking of publishing this to the Play store (or whatever it is for Chrome). I haven’t done that before, so I have much to learn there.

I think all the bugs have been worked out. It works for me. This is my first Chrome extension work. It was made fast and cheap, so there is plenty of room for improvement as far as the code and user-experience goes.

Also there is no documentation whatsoever about using the collected data for some purpose. For now that remains an exercise for the reader.

Enjoy the Beta. Discussion in #indieweb-dev on irc.freenode.net.

an abstract expression in sepia on white

Psymantic – Open Source Theme Precursor for WordPress – First Release

I authored a WordPress theme for my blog. It’s not in use here because it isn’t meant for direct use. It’s over on my wp-theme-dev sub-domain with the WordPress theme test data in there (plus some random junk).

Wait – that looks gross!

— basically everyone

Weird huh? The precursor theme, Psymantic, is concentrated on producing plain old semantic HTML, POSH, and nothing else.

a screen-capture of a brutally simple WordPress blog
It’s brutally simple. Almost no styling at all. WP required stuff and a couple of clearing fixes.

I’m working through a resilient web design approach with this new-theme-for-me. Note the screen-reader-text, which is typically hidden, is used for headings of various sections. Many sections don’t need need a label like that, unless you consider, for example, how you interpret this web page with your eyes closed for the entire duration of your visit. These headings are normally presented only to those who use assistive technologies while browsing the web. I can hide them all in one shot with the WordPress recommended screen-reader-text CSS rules.

It’s going to be difficult to understand why I have something worth sharing here, if you aren’t directly involved with your own website coding, nor in the business of online publishing in a technical role.

If we were making pancakes instead of WordPress themes, Psymantic would be a box of pancake mix. I still need to make the pancakes to actually eat them (ie: need to mix and cook a theme for my blog). I have a few more goals to cover before I get there, but this is a nice start.

More things to include (maybe in μF Psymantic and Indie Psymantic):

Early testers and constructive dialog/criticism is welcome! Please use GitHub for issues, #indieweb-wordpress on irc.freenode.net for chat.

What Am I Doing Now?

I made a little page that describes what I am doing now. It’s not what I am working on lately but is what I am doing at this moment, right now. See for yourself.

I decided not to reveal my precise location for privacy reasons. Instead, I show which watershed I am in. When away from home, this will also highlight my nearest community. It’s limited to my home Province of PEI for the moment.

Flush Rewrite Rules · Issue #2 · indieweb/wordpress-mf2-feed (GitHub)
When I activated the plugin, I had to manually flush the rewrite rules to get it to work.

I installed and activated the plugin from my WP Dashboard. After, I found my /feed/mf2/ urls are 404s. I flushed the rewrite rules (Dashboard -> Settings -> Permalinks -> Save Changes).

Works now.

Rachel Willcock by rmw rmw (rachel.willcock.ca)
Eating ice cream and making my first post on my first website my husband set up for me.

Welcome to the IndieWeb Rachel!

Daniel Willcock by Daniel WillcockDaniel Willcock (daniel.willcock.ca)
Me and my Dad just made my new website!

Good luck with your first website buddy! Remember that I will help you figure out anything you want to do with it. Ask me questions about it anytime you want!

I updated my user page on the IndieWeb.org wiki and added an about me page here on my blog.

Ex Lacuna or Bust

When I started writing online here again in early June ’18 I had no intention of using WordPress. Some conversation led to me using WordPress to help others that also use WordPress. I raced to the blogging that some others enjoy most and skipped the reading and implementing technical specifications that I enjoy most.

I have been hesitant to write about the details of the coding I do and about the decisions I make while developing software. I feel that very few people I know would enjoy reading that sort of content and therefore I hesitate to spend the time writing it. Instead I simply focus on the coding itself as time allows. Expanding the group of people I know and connecting with those that find these topics interesting was a primary motivator for me in coming back to blogging. Maybe ensuing conversations will make me a better developer and enable me to accomplish more. I like this possibility very much. However, in adopting the perspective of a non-developer using WordPress, I somehow fell into blogging from this perspective too.

Clearly, it’s not that WordPress is affecting me this way and I do not mean to say anything for or against this particular project or any individual that I have been chatting with on this. Rather, I see that by foregoing a journey of self-determination, making and using my own tools, I have rapidly arrived to a completely functional and reasonably well-appointed place which I was not in a hurry to be in. The journey continues to be the interesting thing for me.

I often encounter this mantra: don’t reinvent the wheel. I don’t like that there is no ‘depends on the situation’ disclaimer included there. Yes, in business, the rapidity of reaching the goal is a key quality to consider. I am not so constrained, 24×7.

Consider a farmer. The land is cleared, plowed, and planted. The crop is sown, nurtured, harvested, stored and brought to market. I expect there is more to it as well. I am not a farmer, but I expect a farmer to know these details. Consider now one who sells farm produce. I expect a produce vendor to not have detailed knowledge of farming. A junior produce vendor may hear from the senior vendors, “don’t reinvent the farm.” Makes sense if you are indeed pursuing a career in produce vending. A bit sad if the young person has the soul of a farmer, and stands at a fork in the path, where seeing clearly the farming and vending aspects coalesces to new and synergistic innovation in vendor-farmer systems.

It’s been my good fortune to secure a career which aligns with my lifelong pursuit and passion for systematization in computer programming. At work, I practice a disciplined approach to avoid costs: don’t reinvent the wheel. Outside of work, I pursue the goal of self-empowerment; of complete details as minimum viability. I study minor aspects of complex systems so that I might take personal responsibility for what I may recommend others to use, as components and dependencies. This naturally improves my day-to-day effectiveness. It is time consuming to do so, on my time, as desired!

In all the world of people in vocational specializations, when we go seeking the construction details of some modern, useful artifact, we must eventually find someone who speaks with authority, and does reference clear evidence when the question is asked: what is a wheel? I choose this vocation, software development. I think it reasonable for you to expect me to know the details.

This little funk I’m working through is all too similar to an earlier time, and to an important lesson I learned then – not to attempt to paint a picture of myself, based on what I think other people want to see of me, but instead to be genuine. It’s much easier.

Now back, back, back to knitting my own washcloth.