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Looking back, I see a journey that has taken twists and turns and doubled back on itself.

Six years ago today I first considered building an integrated RSS reader after realising that this was the way to go a week or so before:

"my initial reaction was a combined feed reader/blogging environment"

It took me nearly five years to reach the point where I could actually build it.

I wanted a tool within which I could directly react to posts in my feeds but this only works properly if both sides support webmentions.

Yes, I can take actions in /reader and they will show as posts on the blog but the other person may never know. That's the big problem with relying solely on indieweb building blocks: scope and reach.

I recently built /updates which only shows me which feeds have new items so that I can follow links to see them in their native environment. I was unhappy with the homogeneity of seeing everything displayed according to my own style preferences.

This, obviously, put me right back to where I was before /reader – reading and responding as a multi-step, multi-system process. Maybe, with current restrictions, that is how it should be. I could add a fallback that sends pingbacks (where supported) if there is no webmention endpoint but is that the answer? 1 I mentioned before that using /updates means I leave more comments at the original source – surely that's a good thing.

Does every response I write need to be held on my own site? No, absolutely not. Do those who read my words need to know about everything I reply to? Again, no. If I want to keep track of specific replies and/or conversations there are other ways to do so.

The idea behind an integrated reading and writing environment is still valid, even desirable, but there isn't the technological consistency to make it truly viable. Web wide interoperability is a nice goal but is it really necessary? We have come this far without it. Would requiring that everything can talk to everything else stifle innovation?

Even if I appear to repeatedly contract myself or my previous actions I will keep doing what feels right at the time. It doesn't mean it was wrong, but it also doesn't mean the new way is right. I reserve the right to change my mind, as well all should. I can only pose questions, it will take those far wiser than I to answer them.

  1. I probably will anyway  

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