Wow, that was some rabbit hole I went down last night.

Background:  About a week or so ago I tried to join the Indie Web Ring.  But I just got error messages.  Nothing explaining why my site caused errors, just the error message.  This caused some frustration on my part since I had nearly the entire suite of Indieweb plugins installed, I was sending and receiving webmentions, was it WordPress, plugins, SemPress or something on the web ring’s end?  (Thanks here to Greg McVerry for offering to help diagnose problem.)

I decided to procrastinate.  In the meantime I found a validator and was getting mixed signals: my webmentions were good but maybe problems with identity but no solid diagnosis.

Then the IndieAuthor plugin updated several times and I suspected that maybe my identity problems might get better.  Worth a try.

Now: So last night I tried to join the Indie Web Ring again.  It worked!  I was informed I was in, given a code.  Plus I got cool emoji identifiers:  I had to squint but I was pretty sure it was a castle and a – something.  I finally figured out I could highlight emoji, rightclick, search and Duckduckgo told me what they were: a castle (yes!) and an 8 pointed asterisk (cool, not a snowflake).

Right. Now to paste said code into a widget.  WARNING: Either WordPress or SemPress theme, really, really, does not like emoji.  I locked up that widget tighter than a drum.  I couldn’t even delete the emoji laden ring code.  Bad Things were happening.  I deleted the widget.

Found alternative code using hexadecimal equivalents for WordPress.  Decided to stay away from widgets.  Found header/footer plugin. Install on WP.  Hex code, does not crash. Won’t validate on webring site because I have to customize it to identify my site.  Search for hexadecimal code for castle and 8 pointed asterisk (not snowflake). There are forty bazillion emoji. Can find Unicode but no Hex.  Find Unicode to Hex converter. No clue how to use it.  Help for the converter sends me to Github.  Sigh.  Not sure of syntax to put two emoji Hex codes together even if I had found them.

Now I have a choice: I’m in a footer NOT a goddamn widget, do I try the original emoji laden ring code, that crashed the widget, in the footer and risk locking up the entire WP install if WP does not like it or do something else?  Computer starts pinging: battery critical.  “Pull up! Pull up.”  That’s it, it A Sign.  There’s a time to attack and a time to retreat.  Beaten by WordPress it was time to retreat and rebuild.  The whole blog is not worth risking for a webring.

Affair over, torn apart by mutual incompatibility.  But I’ll always remember, last night, the neat castle and the eight pointed asterisk (not snowflake.)

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4 thoughts on “My Brief and Sloppy Affair with Indiewebring

  1. @bradenslen 1. If you’re on a Mac, I highly reccommend UnicodeChecker to do conversions and such.
    2. Non-ASCII characters in URL paths are supposed to be percent-encoded (aka url-encoded), so you’ll need to do that for the next/previous links.
    3. Some time ago, WordPress had a problem (like truncating posts!) where certain database encodings didn’t like characters outside the Basic Multilingual Plane (BMP), which describes most emoji. That problem should have been fixed some time ago, but the fix depended on the PHP and MySQL versions available on a blog’s host and may not have run if you upgraded to the new WP version and your PHP/MySQL combo was too old…. But it’s also possible that if that was fixed, the widget maybe was expecting only BMP Unicode characters and didn’t know how to handle non-BMP characters and went haywire…. You probably need a real WordPress guru to help you figure out what went wrong, especially if it recurs when using the footer plugin 🙁

    via micro.blog

    • Hi Smokey, I suspect it may just be a limitation of the widget. But I was unwilling to take the risk in the footer. I was just amazed at how what should have been a 5 minute copy/paste job turned into hours of trying to jump through hoops! LOL. It’s not the first time it’s happened to me and I’m sure it won’t be the last.

      (I’m still amazed that a comment on Micro.blog appears on my blog. It’s like Elven magic. This ability to communicate across domains and platforms is so neat it still boggles my mind.)

      Many thanks for commenting!

    • Hi John, Thanks for taking the time to post the link to that encoder/decoder! Heh, if I had found that we might not be having this conversation. Based on my experience, I’m not convinced about the use of emoji from a usability standpoint. However the marketing side of my brain says they are cool, minimalist, different and eye catching which makes them great for the Indiewebring from a marketing perspective.

      Anyway, it was a good learning experience.

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