With IndieWebCamp West just about to start I figured this would be a good time to write up some of my thoughts on one of the missing pieces of the IndieWeb ecosystem: Micropub Queries.
What is Micropub
The quick version is that Micropub is an open standard to allow publishing to your own website from a variety of apps or clients. It's great. I love it. But it's mostly a one way experience, publishing only.
The spec does define ways to query and update specific posts, but they are generally not implemented by very many clients - perhaps because they are more complex to design and develop or perhaps because it's not the most useful thing.
Increase in usage
Recently we've also seen a couple of large projects add Micropub support in iA Writer and Thread Reader. Which is awesome, but I think if queries become more mainstream there is the potential for much better apps and a more convincing reason for Micropub to be integrated into more existing apps.
Proposals for Micropub Queries have been around for a while without a huge amount of movement. Maybe it's a chicken and egg type scenario, if no clients add support, then why add support to your site?
I've made a couple of things that use queries myself. My chatbot can query posts (although it's not very useful) and Together has a useful view of your published posts as well, and Indigenous for Android also can show a basic list of your published posts.
But for me all those examples are fairly basic, and there is a lot of potential for more powerful and compelling experiences.
A vision of the future
There are so many possibilities for super useful experiences for Micropub Queries that I'm just going to list off a bunch of things I can think of:
- Readers could check if you have already liked, bookmarked, replied etc. to a url
- Apps like indiebookclub could query for books you have already read, or even track your reading progress
- Save drafts to your own site and then edit and publish them from a Micropub client
- Full admin UIs like the WordPress admin menu or Publii (recently mentioned in the IndieWeb chat) could support Micropub with the ability to query for drafts, trash, different post types etc.
- Find your last location by querying the last post with a location included
- Gallery posting apps that can query for already created photos like best nine
- Collection apps that can find existing posts
- Search your own posts via the API
- Create generic sites just using the Micropub Query API, eg. checkin views are hard, an app could query your site and generate a nice UI for you
There are so many more that I've thought of and forgotten or that I've not though of yet.
Although there are plenty of nice, usable apps on the Indieweb I still think we are missing a next level experience to really highlight the power and potential of Indieweb technologies, maybe Micropub Queries could help bring that about...