Social bookmarks in the Fediverse

By admin

Last week
DATE

, there was a flurry of interest in a new addition to the #Fediverse: Postmarks. It’s social bookmarking (like

Digg
ORG

, del.icio.us, or more recently,

Pinboard
ORG

), now with

ActivityPub
ORG

support. Neat!

Organising stuff, "back in

the day
DATE

"

Back in

the 2000s
DATE

I was a huge fan of a site called

del.icio.us
ORG

, and the original iteration of our

weekly
DATE

podcast – currently called

Games
WORK_OF_ART

at Work dot Biz – was named

Dogear Nation
ORG

. Back when

Michael
PERSON

and

Michael
PERSON

kicked off that show, there was a podcast called

Digg Nation
ORG

which tried to round up the interesting community links and trends from

the week
DATE

on

Digg
ORG

.

IBM
ORG

at the time had an internal version of a social bookmarking / folksonomical platform similar to del.icio.us called "

dogear
ORG

" (like, folding the page of a book to mark it), so

Dogear Nation
ORG

encouraged listeners to tag links on del.icio.us for us to discuss

each week
DATE

… del.icio.us was bought by

Yahoo
ORG

! in

2005
DATE

, and eventually, went away.

Fast forward

15 years
DATE

to our current podcast, and we still love it when listeners share links for us to discuss, but there’s less of an organised way to do it!

Join the Federation

Unlike the centralised "Web 2.0"-based, largely corporate-owned sites that dominate the current web, the

Fediverse
PERSON

is a set of related services that share some common protocols (

ActivityPub
ORG

is one, but there are others involved) and are loosely-connected. As well as each service usually having some form of "flagship" instance, it is is also very common to encourage diversity by location and interests, and often self-hosting, so it won’t be possible for an unsavoury billionaire to buy the things you use, or misuse and steal the data that you’ve put into them. Your network and your data are your own.

I’m very active across a range of sites and services that are analogous to those you might be familiar with. On

Mastodon
GPE

, for instance, I currently do some work with

Mastodon gGmbH
ORG

, the non-profit behind the project and host of

two
CARDINAL

of the larger service instances; and although my original account was on

one
CARDINAL

of those instances, at

the end of last year
DATE

I moved my account (taking the related network of connections with me) to a much smaller server run by a former coworker, mostly populated by other former coworkers, but I’m still connected with users across the rest of the

Fediverse
PERSON

.

You can also find me on

PixelFed
ORG

(

Instagram
ORG

-like photo sharing), on

Lemmy
PERSON

(Reddit-like groups and communities), on PeerTube (

YouTube
ORG

-like video channels) where I live on the diode.zone instance for makers and electronics enthusiasts, on

Bookwyrm (GoodReads
ORG

-like community), and so on. Basically there are a number of "me" out there, in spaces where it makes sense. Essentially, if you’re on

Mastodon
PERSON

and you’re interested in my videos, you can follow my PeerTube account from

Mastodon
ORG

without having to sign up for PeerTube. It’s pretty cool.

I strongly believe that federated services are the best opportunity for us to maintain a free and open Web.

– me,

2023
CARDINAL

Yes!

Postmarks
ORG

is a single-user, super small and simple server for managing your own bookmarks. When I add a bookmark on my own

Postmarks
ORG

server, my

Postmarks
ORG

account effectively publishes the new entry to the rest of the

Fediverse
PERSON

as an activity. So, if you’re interested in what I’m bookmarking and you have a

Mastodon
ORG

account, you can follow @[email protected] and you’ll see the new entries as they get added. If you’re not interested, don’t follow my account, and we’re all good. Oh, and it supports

Atom
PERSON

feeds for different tags (categories), too.


Postmarks
ORG

runs on Glitch – or, anywhere else you can stand up a Node.js / Express app. Personally I love

Glitch
PERSON

, and I’ve been using it for

many years
DATE

now for hosting demos and trying out different projects – in fact, my main links page runs on Glitch. The

Postmarks
ORG

developer

Casey Kolderup
PERSON

works there, and

Casey
PERSON

has made it really straightforward to remix directly on

Glitch
PERSON

, or import from GitHub there or to another service of your choice – it has very few dependencies.

Getting involved

My usual pattern for reading and saving content is whilst mobile. There’s a bookmarklet that’s part of the project, but no easy way to add it to my system for links to end up on

Postmarks
ORG

from my phone or tablet. I turned to

Apple Shortcuts
ORG

to help out.

A screenshot of

Apple Shortcuts
ORG

on

iPadOS 17
DATE

beta, showing the sequence of steps to send a link to

Postmarks
ORG

This does not do too much – it takes a link from the share sheet or clipboard, and opens the add bookmark page popup in a browser tab. At the moment there’s no full API for

Postmarks
ORG

, so this is a bit of a stopgap or workaround. Annoyingly, it will also leave you with an empty browser tab you’ll need to close, but it works.

If you’d like to try the automation, you can get it via

RoutineHub
ORG

, which links to the Shortcut in iCloud. You’ll be prompted to add the hostname of your

Postmarks
ORG

instance, and you will already need to have signed in to that site in your web browser of choice.

Beyond that,

Glitch
PERSON

makes it easy to hack on features, because everything runs in the browser, including a code editor. So far I’ve been adding small features such as support for the

nodeinfo
ORG

endpoint used by other

Fediverse
PERSON

servers, and a slightly improved

Atom
ORG

feed. There’s lots I can think of to add, but not so much time to play – this is giving me a chance to learn a bit more about

ActivityPub
ORG

internals, as well as "scratching an itch".

I’m also playing with another single-user

ActivityPub
ORG

server,

Shuttlecraft
ORG

, but that’s a post for

another day
DATE

.