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Goodbye comments, welcome Webmentions 🙋🏼‍♂️

✍️

What are Webmentions? Find out here what they are and how the Webmentions protocol works. With code examples.

20 Sep, 2020 · 3 min read

Finally, I made the switch to Webmentions. Not because I hated comments, but they didn't serve the platform.

You might be wondering, what are Webmentions?

Let me explain in some more detail.

Webmentions example with Twitter likes, retweets, and replies

What are Webmentions?

Webmentions are an open standard for a protocol to notify a webpage about links, likes, or comments. It's currently in W3C recommendation status.

So when you add a link to a website, you can send a Webmention as a notification to the linked page. It's like a reference for the author about your reaction.

So authors can get notified when they receive a linkback, comment, or reply.

You can almost compare it to pingbacks! You know, from back in the day.

But Webmentions are way more remarkable since they can contain data!

For instance, the data in a Webmention can be likes, re-posts, comments, or other stuff.

How do Webmentions work?

Webmentions work like this:

  1. I write about Webmentions on this site.
  2. Then John will write about Webmentions on his site but adds a link to my article.
  3. John's publishing software will send a Webmention notification to my website.
  4. My software verifies if the link has been placed and includes John's Webmention on my website.

In my case, you will see a lot of Webmentions from Twitter if you tweet and include a link to one of my articles.

How to implement Webmentions on my site?

Of course, this is the million-dollar question, and there are a couple of steps:

  1. Host a Webmention endpoint or use a third-party service webmention.io

Webmention.io is a free service made by the fabulous Indieweb member Aaron Parecki. Check him out!

  1. Sign up on Webmention.io using their IndieAuth process

  2. You will now get two links you need to include in your HEAD tag.

<link rel="pingback" href="https://webmention.io/daily-dev-tips.com/xmlrpc" />
<link
  rel="webmention"
  href="https://webmention.io/daily-dev-tips.com/webmention"
/>
  1. Find a service that connects these Webmentions. Bridgy is a fantastic service that turns your social mentions into Webmentions!

  2. Bridgy will now analyze tweets, and if it finds any tweet that includes our URL, it will send a notification to our Webmentions endpoint.

The notification data will look like this:

{
  "type": "entry",
  "author": {
    "type": "card",
    "name": "Ido Shamun",
    "photo": "https://webmention.io/avatar/pbs.twimg.com/d3cd0af823ba866fc0438b06151ace371d762e07bc61536fe895e7f4aca6520d.jpg",
    "url": "https://twitter.com/idoshamun"
  },
  "url": "https://twitter.com/idoshamun/status/1305098804597854213",
  "published": "2020-09-13T10:59:37+00:00",
  "wm-received": "2020-09-14T07:00:42Z",
  "wm-id": 851613,
  "wm-source": "https://brid-gy.appspot.com/comment/twitter/DailyDevTips1/1305027118166937600/1305098804597854213",
  "wm-target": "https://daily-dev-tips.com/posts/top-10-chrome-extensions-for-developers/",
  "content": {
    "html": "Thank you! 🤩\n<a class=\"u-mention\" href=\"https://daily-dev-tips.com/\"></a>\n<a class=\"u-mention\" href=\"https://twitter.com/DailyDevTips1\"></a>",
    "text": "Thank you! 🤩"
  },
  "in-reply-to": "https://daily-dev-tips.com/posts/top-10-chrome-extensions-for-developers/",
  "wm-property": "in-reply-to",
  "wm-private": false
}

Ok, cool, now what?

So yes, we now have Webmentions and our sites accept them, but how do we show them?

Well, webmention.io comes with a fantastic API we can leverage.

Request all Webmentions for a domain

We can run the following query to get all Webmentions for our domain:

curl --location --request GET 'https://webmention.io/api/mentions.jf2?domain={DOMAIN}&token={TOKEN}'

The domain will be: daily-dev-tips.com, for instance. And the token you can get from webmention.io.

Get Webmentions for a specific URL

We can also use the public endpoint to get all Webmentions for one specific URL.

curl --location --request GET 'https://webmention.io/api/mentions.jf2?target=https://daily-dev-tips.com/posts/getting-started-with-the-html-canvas/'

as swyx points out, the ending slash is significant!

We can then use JavaScript to show them on our website.

I wrote another article on implementing Webmentions in an Eleventy blog.

Feel free to try them out and tweet about this article

Thank you for reading, and let's connect!

Thank you for reading my blog. Feel free to subscribe to my email newsletter and connect on Facebook or Twitter

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