• The Macro Report: February, 2019

    With February there has been a chance for everybody on Micro.blog to take a deep breath, ruminate upon the big updates of the previous month, and enjoy the smaller yet still significant changes sprinkled throughout this month.

    Let’s take a look at what’s been happening lately on Micro.blog.

    In the past month…

    Category Expansion

    Categories can now be used on iOS. You need to first create the categories on the web – where you can also delete them – and will then find them available via the gear icon in the New Post screen.

    You can also use categories via IndieWeb publishing apps, such as OwnYourGram wherein Instagram hashtags are automatically converted into categories.

    Further Development Tools and Support

    There is a brand new API available for photos, with which developers can get recent photos for a user. This works for both Hosted and non-Hosted accounts.

    Meanwhile, a new page has been added to Help covering IndieAuth for developers of both desktop and web apps.

    Integrated archiving, new video support, and more!

    You can now choose to save new posts to the Internet Archive automatically, using a setting in the Posts tab on the web. Also, you can find help with themes on the first video of the new Micro.blog YouTube channel, a screencast tutorial.

    The official accounts and blogs were reorganised to better provide support and info, whilst Jean released the 50th episode of the Micro Monday podcast; her guest was Jonathan LaCour, developer of the Micro Memories and Microgram extensions.

    Elsewhere

    Not only is it encouraging to still see this much development in what was ostensibly a quiet month, there has been continued activity in the general subject area of breaking free from the silos of the corporate web and getting back to blogging. Between posts, conversations, podcasts (new and old!), and steady progress across a variety of indie alternative projects it’s fair to say that the web at-large is fighting back against what we now know to be the corrupted parts of itself.

    The end of the month saw the Micro Monday podcast hit 50 episodes whilst Manton hosted IndieWebCamp Austin. Micro.blog is part of a much greater idea than the platform alone, as represented by both of these events. It’ll be fun to see further progression of such things as the year passes, whether recurring or brand new; however, first, let’s see what March will bring us.

    Enjoy your weekend!

    – Simon

  • The Macro Report: January, 2019

    The beginning of 2019 for Micro.blog has indicated a year of momentous change, with the promise of improvements and exciting yet reasonable developments across the platform, whether that’s from the team or third-party developers.

    There has already been lots for everybody to get their hands on and it is fair to say the community is becoming ever more passionate about exploring the possibilities of the web as the social platform; Brent Simmons said it best. With that in mind…

    Let’s take a look at what’s been happening lately on Micro.blog!

    In the past month…

    Themes

    The month ended with a bang; custom themes are now possible, at least to a much larger extent than before. Existing themes have been rebuilt, as part of a switch from Jekyll to Hugo, and it is now possible to extend the core for much greater customisation.

    There is now also a new theme, based on Arabica, whilst the option to share your custom theme has been built in. All of the rebuilt themes are also available on GitHub, along with Arabica.

    The Mac

    In a fruitful month for the Mac app, two significant updates were released. In the first, the alt tag feature was implemented, making it much easier to making your images more accessible, whilst full-screen photos were made available via clicking an image.

    In the second update the app went dark with Dark Mode available on Mojave, whilst the auto-complete username feature was implemented when making a new post. Other improvements and fixes were also made.

    Help redesign, categories, Snippets, and more!

    There was a significant update across the entire Help site, with a redesign that included an update to the home page index and a new search tool. Meanwhile, categories finally arrived to Hosted blogs along with an auto-filter feature for photos and feed functionality for individual categories, all of which are linked at the top of your archive page. Support for categories has also been added to the Micro.blog API.

    Jonathan Hays has developed a Swift-based framework for the Micro.blog API and it has been released on GitHub as Snippets, which ought to make it easier to develop apps for iOS, Mac OS, and TV OS. It is now also possible to remove the default Archive and About pages from the menu of your Hosted site; you can instead remake the pages using the redirect page feature and link to them from another part of your site. Lastly, Dialog has been added to the apps list on the New Post page along with new icons.

    Elsewhere

    • • •

    This was a fantastic start to the new year, with the core of the platform getting a variety of significant improvements and no sign of letting up from the focused, careful approach from the team. It’s fair to say that for a lot of people Micro.blog is now a more attractive social network to join and a much more robust option for hosting your blog. Meanwhile, Manton and Jean have already both spoken about their plans to further highlight the most important part of it all; people, specifically within the context of the community-driven aspect of Micro.blog

    Elsewhere a variety of third-party development efforts have borne fruit and continue to extend the platform and make it much friendlier to more people. Best of all, the vast majority of this development is transparent and often seen via real people blogging as they work. With this kind of ecosystem developing there is little doubt 2019 will be at least as exciting as the previous year.

    Enjoy your weekend!

    – Simon

  • The Macro Report: December, 2018

    The end of 2018 saw events across Micro.blog strike a nice balance between exciting updates and efforts to make the platform friendlier overall. The spirit of these efforts has been further emphasised by both a broad collection of personal end-of-year posts from across the community and the team’s comments about the work they were getting done for the new year.

    With January now upon us and an exciting year ahead, it’s fair to say that now is a great time to join Micro.blog. With that in mind…

    Let’s take a look at what’s been happening lately on Micro.blog!

    In the past month…

    iOS 1.4

    The app was updated with a few features, most prominent of which was autofill for usernames which can be used when making a new post and typing an @-mention; it’s great to see this and we’ll all hopefully see it improve and spread to the other parts of the platform. Another big improvement was the function for more easily adding the alt tag to an image which can be done when adding an image to a post.

    Between those updates, other image-based improvements, and some feature parity with the web app it’s fair to say this was a big update. It was especially encouraging to see multiple accessibility improvements between this and the 1.4.1 release that came soon after.

    Official News

    You can now get news from a single official source. The new blog will present information from various sources of updates covering changes and features. This is a big addition to the existing set of official blogs, making it easier for anybody to find the most relevant news regarding Micro.blog from a single source.

    12 Days of Microblogging and more!

    Throughout the month Manton posted a series; 12 days of microblogging. In these posts he covers 12 different aspects of the platform, highlighting the breadth and depth of the platform such as features, the community, and more. An accompanying Help document was also posted.

    Near the end of the month a special giveaway was launched, wherein existing members could invite people to the platform and those newcomers would receive 3 months of free hosting. This option was available for two weeks over the seasonal holiday period.

    Elsewhere, external blogs were given performance improvements and troubleshooting for RSS and connection errors was updated to include visible reporting on the web. Finally, the Micro Monday podcast saw out the year with a New Year’s Eve Retrospective in which Jean took a look back at 2018 and specifically the first 10 episodes of the podcast itself.

    Elsewhere

    • Icro got a nice, steady update to continue the momentum Martin Hartl has maintained since its launch. As well as an updated appearance the app now has discovery categories in Discover and pagination. Meanwhile, Martin has spoken about working on a Mac app and previewed the next update for iOS, 1.3, which will include new themes.
    • Gluon had a fairly dramatic month, with no accessible updates but changes to its development. First it looked like Vincent Ritter was going to have to drop the Android version of the app but then later he turned that decision around to instead continue with renewed focus. This is great news for Android users, who will now have two third-party options from which to choose.
    • The Tagmoji Directory was updated.
    • Micro.threads now includes the Favorite function in the thread discovery section.

    • • •

    The momentum from autumn continued into December, especially when considering the general downturn in activity that often comes with the holiday season. It was great to see the 12 days of microblogging and more than a little encouraging to see so many people blogging about their end of the year.

    With the new year now into full swing it’s also been fun to see both Manton and Jean talk about upcoming updates and further developments, as well as exciting ideas coming to fruition throughout the community. The first year of life for Micro.blog in the public was full of all kinds of interesting and significant activity, and there is every reason to think we’ll be seeing even more of that in 2019.

    Enjoy the rest of your week!

    – Simon

  • The Macro Report: November, 2018

    After a hectic month it’s fair to say this report won’t cover everything, however that is increasingly the case with Micro.blog in general; the platform continues to grow, and the community with it. For all of those people who have joined or rediscovered Micro.blog in November, I’d like to give you a full welcome to the community. I hope you enjoy yourselves and find enough reason to stay and get involved. :)

    November certainly saw some big hits, both from the Micro.blog team and from the community in the form of third party development. With that in mind…

    Let’s take a look at what’s been happening lately on Micro.blog!

    In the past month…

    Micro.blog + Mastodon

    You can now use your Micro.blog account to interact with Mastodon. This can be done by cross-posting over to Mastodon or enabling ActivityPub integration so that people on Mastodon can find you and reply to your posts. You can also reply to people on Mastodon as their posts appear throughout Micro.blog.

    This has been explained by Manton in different ways to better cover the variety of approaches one can take with these new features, from the original announcement through to a follow-up post covering ActivityPub exclusively.

    Username Expansion

    Usernames in Micro.blog now have 3 forms; Micro.blog account, the username you have by registering for an account; Mastodon, the username you create when activating ActivityPub integration; and IndieWeb, the username people can use if they don’t have a Micro.blog account but do run a site with an IndieWeb-friendly custom domain.

    Help Redesign

    The Home page for the Help section of Micro.blog has been revamped and is now built around an index list, with documents sorted by type and relevance for use. This is another step for improving transparency with Micro.blog as a platform, as well as upgrading navigation for direct use.

    Upload improvements and more!

    You can now upload a greater variety of file types to your hosted account, using the web. Photos functionality was also upgraded for hosted sites, all of which now have a JSON feed for photos.

    Elsewhere, Manton made his second Q & A appearance on Micro Monday covering a number of issues in detail. The beta for Sunlit was also opened for anyone to join, using TestFlight.

    Elsewhere

    • • •

    November quickly became an even busier month than October, with both the community and platform showing no signs of slowing down whatsoever. Not mentioned here are the increasing number of posts of different kinds, fixes deployed across both official and third-party efforts, and the variety of new projects launched using Micro.blog!

    As well as that we are also very close to the first anniversary of the public launch, which happened in December of last year. It’ll be interesting to see what people have to say about the different facets of Micro.blog a year on, as well as what different members of the community might have planned for the end of the year.

    If you catch an error in the post or have any sort of feedback, please let me know! You can contact me via the details listed on the TIL About page.

    Enjoy your weekend!

    – Simon

  • The Macro Report: October, 2018

    This is the first issue of The Macro Report, a look back at the most recent period of activity across Micro.blog. This is an opportunity to catch up on the most significant updates and the like from the past month, and will focus on both the efforts of the Micro.blog team and third-party developers.

    October was full of a mixture of interesting and exciting updates, amidst the annual season for quite a few big tech product releases. With that in mind…

    Let’s take a look at what’s been happening lately on Micro.blog!

    In the past month…

    Search & Discovery

    On the web you can now access the various tagmoji filters in Discover with greater ease, thanks to the addition of a context menu at the top of the page. On top of that you can also use the search icon to look for people and Discover-featured posts.

    Meanwhile, hosted accounts now include the ability to search through your own posts. This can be accessed in the Posts tab, using the search bar.

    Welcome to Micro.blog

    A two-minute introduction video was published to the Help site, in which Manton narrates an overview for getting started. This is a good summary of how best to approach the platform, from a general perspective that ought to suit the average web user.

    Markdown Preview, Gift Subscriptions, and more!

    When posting from the web with your hosted account you can now see a preview of your post, presented below the post editor, to get an idea of how the post will look when published. This can be especially useful for correcting mistakes before hitting ‘post’.

    Amongst a batch of updates, there is now the option to gift Micro.blog to somebody else. When inviting somebody you can choose to pay for an annual subscription for hosting, at the cost of $50. To access this select the Plans context menu on the web.

    Other changes include improvements to user moderation, and posts fetching on the web.

    Sunlit was also updated with a stability-focused release that included a feature in the form of a menu you can use when adding photos from the timeline.

    Elsewhere

    • • •

    It’s been a busy month across Micro.blog development, with a variety of updates. Meanwhile, November has seen a continuation of that pace and it’ll be exciting to see what is to come.

    From now on this series will be released at the very beginning of each month so the next issue will be released in about three weeks. If you catch an error in the post or have any sort of feedback, please let me know! You can contact me via the details listed on the TIL About page.

    Enjoy your weekend!

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An unofficial resource for Micro.blog, by Simon Woods.