The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

A rabbit hole of webmentions


How hard could it be?

It's relatively straightforward, or so I thought until I started going down this particular rabbit hole yesterday. The first stumbling block is sending a webmention. The protocol itself isn't that tough—just send a POST to an endpoint with the URL of my post, and the URL of the post I mentioned and that's pretty much it. But the issue I have is that I tend to link freely. This one paragraph post has six links in it! When I exclude links back to my own blog, there are still three external links. Do I check each one? There are plenty of posts (like this one) where sending a webmention isn't something I want to do. So I'm having a bit of analysis paralysis on how exactly I want to handle this. For now, it's a manual process.

The second issue is one of handling incoming webmentions. I get the incoming request, I make a bunch of checks, then I have to actually fetch a web page and therein lies the hook—HTTP is rather involved these days, what with three separate and largely incompatible versions and TLS to contend with and … well, I have some stuff I need to update before I can do all that. So for now, my webmention endpoint will just accept requests and email me the information. Maybe if I see just how much this is used in the wild will inform me of how much work would be involved. I don't know.

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