Initially designed as a blogging tool, WordPress, often known as WP or WordPress.org, has since evolved to support the publishing of diverse web content, including traditional websites, mailing lists, Internet forums, media galleries, membership platforms, online stores, and learning management systems. Being free (like in free beer) and open-source software, by October 2021, WordPress was powering 42.8% of the top 10 million websites, making it one of the most sought-after content management systems. Central to WordPress are features such as a plugin structure and a template system, commonly called “Themes” within the platform. For it to operate, WordPress must be hosted on a web server, either through an Internet hosting provider or on a PC with the WordPress software.
WordPress is FLOSS. Is that Enough?
While it’s fantastic that WordPress stands as a shining example of free libre open source platforms platforms that have achieved mainstream success, there’s a need for more such amazing projects. A robust ecosystem featuring teams that provide hassle-free managed hosting for open source platforms, can foster trust in FLOSS software and facilitate its everyday, smooth usage. However, with dominant social media channels and proprietary website tools building walls and gardens that prevent the user generated content from travelling to different platforms, open-source software offers a counter-solution. Aome of the FLOSS software can seamlessly link user content across different platforms. But how is this done in practice?
WordPress Ventures into the Fediverse with ActivityPub Support: A Major Leap!
We were mega-excited when we learned that WordPress has incorporated ActivityPub and joined the Fediverse. In practical terms, WordPress sites can now disseminate their posts throughout the fediverse. For instance, a Mastodon user (a social media platform in the fediverse that backs ActivityPub) can directly subscribe to your blog via the Mastodon app, eliminating the need for a WordPress account. Furthermore, responses from these platforms to your posts are auto-converted into comments on your WordPress blog, enriching the dialogue around your content. Here’s to seamless integration!
Read the official announcement: wordpress.com/blog/2023/10/11/activitypub
It’s noteworthy that the organization overseeing WordPress mentions that upon joining the fediverse, only new articles will appear on federated platforms, and a wait of up to 15 minutes post-publishing may be required.
What Exactly is ActivityPub?
Picture the fediverse as a constellation of federated platforms like Mastodon. These are independent websites or servers communicating reciprocally but functioning individually. Drawing a parallel with emails, even if users are on different services such as Gmail or Yahoo, they can still interact without a hitch. Similarly, federated platforms allow users to follow, engage with, and share content across diverse services within a unified network.
Diagram explaining how ActivityPub works. Source and credits: activitypub.rocks
Seeing a significant open-source entity like WordPress tap into the fediverse is exciting, to say the least. This not only empowers blogs and websites to potentially connect with a broader audience but also facilitates this audience in effortlessly subscribing to and interacting with posts (more functinalities to come). Alongside WordPress, Instagram’s Threads app has hinted at supporting the fediverse, though its release date remains under wraps.
The future is painted with hues of the fediverse and open-source software! 🌐
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