As an ocassional geocacher and geohasher, I’m encouraged to post logs describing my adventures, and each major provider wants me to post my logs into their silo (see e.g. my logs on geocaching.com, on opencache.uk, and on the geohashing wiki). But as a believer in the ideals behind the IndieWeb (since long before anybody said “IndieWeb”), I’m opposed to keeping the only copy of content that I produce in an environment controlled by somebody else (why?).
How do I reconcile this?
What I’d prefer would be to be able to write my logs here, on my own blog, and for my content to by syndicated via some process into the logging systems of the various silo sites I prefer. This approach is called POSSE – Publish on Own Site, Syndicate Elsewhere. In addition to the widely-described benefits of this syndication strategy, such a system would also make it possible for me to:
- write single posts amalgamating multiple locations (e.g. a geohashing expedition that included geocache finds) or,
- write single posts that represent the same location published on multiple silos (e.g. a visit to a geocache published on two different listing sites [e.g. 1, 2])
Applying such an tool would require some work as different silos have different acceptable content rules (geocaching.com, for example, effectively forbids mention of the existence of other geocache listing sites), but that’d theoretically be workable.
Unfortunately, content rules aren’t the only factor making PESOS – writing content into each silo and then copying it to my blog – preferable to POSSE. There’s also:
- Not all of the silos offer suitable (published) APIs, and where they do, the APIs are all distinctly different.
- Geocaching.com specifically forbids the use of unapproved automated robots to access the site (and almost certainly wouldn’t approve the kind of tool that would be ideal).
- The siloed services are well-supported by official and third-party apps with medium-specific logic which make them the best existing way to produce logs.
Needless to say: as much as I’d have loved to POSSE my geo* logs, PESOS will do.
The second part of the plugin takes this data and creates a new draft post. My plugin is pretty opinionated on this part because it’s geared strongly towards my use-case, so if you want to use it yourself you’ll probably want to tweak the code a little (e.g. it applies specific tags and names metadata fields a particular way).
It’s not fully-automated and it’s not POSSE,but it’s “good enough” and it’s enabled me to synchronise all of my cache logs to my blog. I’ve plans to extend it to support other GPS game services to streamline my de-siloisation even further.
And of course, I’ve open-sourced the whole thing. If it’s any use to you (probably in an adapted form), it’s all yours.