About the Author

Chris Shiflett

Hi, I’m Chris: web craftsman, community leader, husband, father, and partner at Fictive Kin.

All posts for 2015

PHP Community

I read a nice post about the PHP Community project over the weekend. I think Ben has done a really good job of documenting a lot of what has happened over the years.

I remember being very active on the PHP General mailing list back then, and the small bits of personality that shine through when answering questions gave that list a real sense of community. All a community needs is a common thread, and we had PHP. What we lacked was a village green.

The overwhelming response to my post was both the reason the site never materialized as I envisioned and the reason the project still feels like a huge success. The now-defunct wiki (does anyone have a backup?) had several hundred profiles within a few days, and that was just the people wanting to help. People wanted this. I just happened to be the first person to ask.

It’s a nice reminder that we should seek out the opportunities for success that are presented to us instead of always sticking to the plan. Being able to adapt is often more important than being able to predict.

If you’d enjoy a walk down memory lane, read Ben’s post.

Indie Web Movement and IndieAuth

At last year's Brooklyn Beta, Tantek gave me the lowdown on the Indie Web movement. To say it sounded right up my alley would be an understatement.

One of the first things I read about was IndieAuth. Tantek recommended this as a first step, so that I could log in and add myself to the list of IRC people.

If you use IRC, join #indiewebcamp on Freenode. There's also a handy wiki page on IRC if you want more information.

I added a few rel="me" links to my site:

<!-- Indie Web -->
<link rel="me" href="https://twitter.com/shiflett" />
<link rel="me" href="https://github.com/shiflett" />
<link rel="me" href="https://www.flickr.com/people/shiflett" />

I should point out that this isn't Tantek's preferred approach:

<shiflett> tantek: Is there a hidden way to add rel="me" stuff, like <link rel="me" href="..." />?

<tantek> Yes, that works, too. However, we prefer re-using existing visible links, as they tend to be more reliable.

These links provide some assurance that the owner of shiflett.org is the same person as @shiflett on Twitter, etc. With this in place, I eagerly clicked log in with your domain to see what would happen.

I have to provide the domain I want to use as my identity. Once I do, my site is scanned for rel="me" links to see which providers I can authenticate with.

Of course, I wanted to test the "ensure your profiles link back to your home page" requirement, so I changed the URL on my Twitter profile and tried again.

So, that works. :-)

Authenticating with a provider is no different with or without IndieAuth. The only difference is that now when I prove I'm @shiflett on Twitter, I'm also proving I'm shiflett.org. One of the things I quickly noticed about the Indie Web movement is that it's not trying to reinvent existing solutions. Instead, it aims to help me (and you) use existing solutions without having to give up ownership of our identity, data, etc.

Sounds pretty great, doesn't it? I look forward to sharing more as I go.

Thanks for reading.

Social Sharing Links

Since the redesign of this blog in 2007, I’ve had a few social sharing links at the bottom of each post. Last night, as I was fixing a few old bugs, I noticed these links were a bit outdated. Delicious instead of Pinboard, for example.

Here’s the new list I settled on and the basic format for each:

Designer News
Hacker News

The most notable newcomer to my list is Designer News. Choosing where I want to encourage you to share my posts is not an easy task. I only want to include a few. Of course, you can share anywhere you like, but if my choices can shape user behavior, it makes sense to choose carefully.

Now, I just need to write something worth sharing. :-)

Thanks for reading.

2014 Highlights

2014 was a year of change. As I write this, I'm in Boulder, Colorado, my new home. After a dozen years in Brooklyn, my wife and I decided it was time for a change. We miss Brooklyn terribly, but we're excited about life in Boulder.

Over the course of the year, Fictive Kin finished our transition to a client services company with some really big, ambitious projects on the books. We had retreats in Portland and Montréal. I even wrote something for the FK blog called Breakfast in the Sunshine in order to share a simple analogy I've used for years:

Don’t ask for a window in the kitchen if what you ultimately want is to eat breakfast in the sunshine.

A few other highlights of the year, in chronological order:

  • In May, I got to see my friend Nat Torkington for the first time in years. He used to live in Fort Collins, so we talked a lot about life in Colorado. Of course, we also talked a lot about old times, like when he ran OSCON (one of my favorite conferences ever) for a decade.
  • The World Cup. I'm really proud of us for making it out of a group that included Ghana (who eliminated us in 2010), Germany, and Portugal. This was the first World Cup my kids got to watch. My daughter Tegan was disappointed that she missed watching it in 2010.
  • In July, we spent two weeks in Boulder as a family to get a feel for what life here would be like. We visited Chautauqua, Rocky Mountain National Park, Mount Sanitas, and Pearl Street Mall. We rode bicycles. We grilled. We watched fireworks. We ate at great restaurants. We played in parks. We tried to imagine what life here would be like. Would we like living here?
  • From Boulder, my wife took the kids to visit family in Tennessee, and I flew to Montana to spend a week in the wilderness. It was my first time backpacking in a decade. I loved every minute. Thanks again to Josh and Rogie.
  • Watched the US Open (live) for probably the last time. Got to see Federer play and got to see Michael Jordan in the stands.
  • Made an offer on a house in Boulder. We were the highest offer, but we didn't get the house. Made the decision to go ahead and start the process of selling our apartment.
  • October was the last Brooklyn Beta. We went with the same format as the year before, with two traditional days in the Invisible Dog and one big day at the Duggal Greenhouse. The last day was pretty emotional. It always is, but I knew this would be my last time on stage talking to the wonderful people who come to Brooklyn every October. I had other stuff going on, too. I saved images, blog posts, and quotes from Brooklyn Beta in a Gimme Bar collection over the years. (I only missed the first year.) It's chock-full of memories. Check out how young Cameron and I used to be, and that was the second year. :-) I will miss Brooklyn Beta and all the people that made it so special. Removing it from my Twitter bio felt strange, as if I was losing part of my identity.
  • In November, I announced that my family and I were moving to Boulder. It finally felt official, because we made an offer on a house (our third offer), and it was accepted. Sadly, it wasn't meant to be. (We're currently living in a rental, hoping to find a home of our own soon.)
  • We watched the Orion launch. I can't tell you how much more exciting it was to watch it through the eyes of my kids. The countdown was epic.
  • Lots of lasts. Last game. Last flat tire. Last dinner as a family. Last visit to Prospect Park. Last Friday.
  • Packing. Lots of boxes. My wife and kids heading to the airport while I stayed behind to finish. Movers. Empty apartment. Sleeping in my sleeping bag on the floor of my apartment for my last night in Brooklyn.
  • On December 15, I left Brooklyn. As the plane sped down the runway, a wave of emotion hit me. All I could think to say was waving from Brooklyn, something my friend Tina often says when signing an email. So many memories. I'll probably never forget the first few minutes of flight, watching New York disappear.

Facing forward. Onwards and upwards.