Implementing webmentions is a pain

I just finished implementing Webmentions on this blog! At least, I think it's done. It may not be perfect, but I'll refine it as I go.

I've read lots of posts about people implementing it. Many of them talk about how it's actually very easy. That wasn't my experience implementing it.

If you want to see what it took, check out the commits in the repo. First, I added necessary microformats and set up sending of Webmentions. Then, I added a domain author card. After that, I made the site receive Webmentions and fetch incoming webmentions. The last step was displaying the Webmentions. I could have done this in fewer commits, but that's not really the way I do things. 😅

I worked as a web developer for almost 10 years. Admittedly, I was never a spectacular one, but I was good enough to get paid for it for the better part of a decade. Even so, this was a tricky implementation. I'm glad I had some help from better developers than me:

I'm not whining for the sake of whining, but knowing how difficult it is to implement, I'm concerned that it's not going to be very useful since I doubt many other people have gone to the trouble. That seems like a problem.

We lost the web to Facebook, Twitter, and the rest because making things on the web was hard and they came in giving people an easy on-ramp. Now here we are in 2024 trying to take it back, and our answer is that, if you want to interact with other web sites, just complete these 13 simple steps, sign up for multiple services, integrate with APIs, build a UI… what are we doing here?

But now I have it and, as long as neither of the services I used in my implementation close up shop or make breaking changes, I have it. I own my implementation. It's a lot of trouble, but I think it's worth it. Now, we just need to make it achievable for people who want their identities but can't overcome the barriers on their own.


  1. Nelson Chu Pavlosky's avatar