Mastodon in RapidWeaver

As I hinted on Twitter the other night, I have been working on a secret new stack that lets you embed a Mastodon social media timeline directly within RapidWeaver. We are using AJAX / JSON and the Mastodon API. This means the content is embedded as an actual part of your webpage, rather than just an iFrame.

Mastodon does not have a huge following currently. Which is actually kind of nice!

Of all the Twitter-alternatives that have come and gone (example, App.net) Mastodon has proven the most popular and successful so far. Because it has a very open ethos and has been setup in such a way that anybody can install instances of the software on a web server.

What’s nice about Mastodon is that it presents a TweetDeck style user interface of multiple columns, a chronological timeline of ‘toots’, no advertising or promoted content, no nasty tracking and mostly a higher user intellect. Each ‘toot’ can be up-to 500 characters long, scheduled posting is supported and toots can include basic content like images, video clips and links - potentially making this platform appealing to micro bloggers. Mobile apps exist too.

If you are already on Mastodon and interested in trying this stack out, I have put together a quick Dropbox download exclusively for rw4all forum members here:

It’s top secret laboratory stuff - nobody else outside of the rw4all forum knowns about this yet!

There is a ‘readme’ file in the download, with some basic setup instructions. I have also included a sample RW8 project file and a screenshot of what the finished thing looks like.

There is currently no download or documentation for this stack elsewhere. So consider it a Beta release. It’s a bit of a hobby project. I had a few hours spare while watching TV and simply wanted to see if Mastodon inside RapidWeaver was feasible to do - and I found it is!

I signed up for a Mastodon account last Autumn but have not used it much yet. I hope to use it much more over the coming weeks.

If this stack proves of use or interest, then we’ll push it further towards making it a general release. I plan to keep it as a free stack.

-Will.

5 Likes

Thank you very much Will! This is pretty cool!

1 Like

Had never heard of Mastodon, but lately so totally un-enamored of Twitter, checked it out. Problem for me, a kind of white on white BauHaus-y kind of girl, is the dark color scheme. Wondering if anyone knows if all the “instances” are like that, or there is flexibility in creating one’s own color scheme.

Also, anyone here with an account? What are your experiences?

1 Like

@IvoryBlack I just checked this for you. If you go into Preferences > Web you can change the Site Theme from the select menu:

‘Mastodon’ is the default theme. I also saw ‘High Contrast’ and ‘Mastodon Light’ listed there. This is what the ‘Mastodon Light’ theme looks like:

I think every instance has the same settings. I agree, light looks much nicer on the eyes. I am glad to have found this setting now!

On the Tooton mobile app, you can toggle between day and night modes:

Day is the default, so is lighter.

And of course, in the MastoStack, you can change the colour scheme to anything you like. I’ve added several colour pickers for the background, borders, links, status text and other things to make it “look your own”. Set the stack background opacity to 0% if you want your webpage background showing through from behind.

I honestly have not used Mastodon much, other than some experiments last autumn with some weather stuff. But I really do want to get back into using it again, because I think it could be quite a cool and useful platform in a business context. It would be nice to have some more RapidWeaver users on there. Currently it’s only me, Isaiah Carew (YourHead) and Charlie Lockhart (Blueball Design) on there, from RapidWeaver land.

For me personally, Facebook has become a ‘pit of depression’ and Twitter is one gigantic political civil war every day. The fun in using these platforms seems to have drained away. Perhaps it’s just me getting older and less tolerant of other people!

But the tone on Mastondon seems more pleasent and discussions are of a higher quality. Like any platform, there certainly are darker places you don’t want to go! But overall, it seems a quieter and more friendly and happier place to be.

This is my Mastodon handle: https://mastodon.social/@willwood

Thanks so much for your reply.

I agree about the current state of social media. I never joined Facebook. Terminal aesthete that I am, it was too ugly. And now, years later, it is revealed not only how visually unpalatable it is, but morally unconscionable as well. Then there’s Twitter. Talk about black holes. “Political civil war”, as you describe it, is an understatement. Cesspool might be closer to the truth.

Anyway. MastoStack? Would it function the same way the old Tumblr stacks worked, to port content over automatically? Could it replace CMS for the purpose of blogging?

Just wondering whether anybody here has had a chance to experiment with the stack yet or have any feedback?

I have done some more testing of it, and I’m very pleased with how it stands currently.

I’m thinking of adding it to the Stacks4Stacks website tomorrow and also posting an announcement on the main RapidWeaver forums.

If you want to follow me on Mastodon, this is my handle:

It would be great to get some more RapidWeaver folks on there.

1 Like

And… We’re officially live!

https://stacks4stacks.com/mastostack/

Thank you everyone who sent feedback about the stack. I’ll be posting the same info to the main RW forums shortly.

2 Likes

I missed this first time round Will, but good find and nice work. I’d say this is defo a replacement for Microblog, which stopped working for me ages ago as I host in the UK now.

Quick question: Do you know if the colour scheme can be changed, so as to make the embedded content match the site it’s added too?

Just downloaded and tested, I see you’ve already cover my question!

Thanks!

Mastoden is certainly an interesting concept. Took me a while to work out how it operates, for those not aware (as I understand it)…

Mastoden isn’t like Twitter and most other social networks, in that there isn’t one central repository for posts/tweets/whatever. Instead, individuals install the Mastoden software on their own servers and in many cases make these installs (or “instances” as they call them) available to others to sign up to.

Once you pick an instance to sign up to you’re connected to it, by way of your login, and it seems you can only log in this particular instance. You can, however, interact with any person connected with any instance of Mastoden on any other server. But first, you need to find them.

When you first sign up to an instance you only see the feed of posts/tweets made to that instance, so tracking people down on other instances might not be that easy, although the search facility appears to be global, in that it searches all public instances.

I signed up last night, and after doing so my only advice is choose your instance wisely. I opted for one based off Tumblr, as it was open to signups and had a lot of members. It’s essentially porn though, and not particularly interesting porn either (rubber fetish anyone?).

Upon further investigation, it appears most instances of mastoden are based around a common theme, or subject. Porn figures highly, as does gaming and LGBT.

Putting this aside though, it’s certainly an interesting concept, more based around communities and like minded people than Twitter, which seems to excel only in bringing opposing views together for a bloodbath!

I wonder if @Marten or some other like-minded sole would consider an Instance for the RW community? I did have a look at how to install an Instance and it’s way above my pay grade!

And finally… I can see a great opportunity for a very simple hosted CMS service for clients using an Instance and Wills new stack: Install an Instance, add the clients, then add their feed to their site using the stack. Simples. Apart from the installing the Instance bit.

BTW- @willwood or anyone in the main Mastoden Instance: Do you know how to get an invite? I don’t think I can handle the sheer amount of rubber porn in the instance I joined, and I’m not into games, being gay or furry things. So I think I need to get into the main one!

Okay. I’ll look into it. Like you say, it’s an interesting concept. We could possibly run it on a subdomain here… and then call it RubberWeavers.

3 Likes

Love it. An absolute must.

1 Like

Twitter and Facebook are just full-on warfare every day. I don’t understand how it has got so bad, other than both platforms are impossible to police and they prefer it that way. The notion of “think before you post” is lost on a lot of users. I am now blocking users almost daily.

It is clear that Twitter and Facebook are fuelling the fires deliberately. A lot of Donald Trump’s tweets are 100% in breach of Twitter’s terms of service - targeted harassment, victimisation, libel, hatred and the rest. But he is untouchable - because he is essentially the face of Twitter and makes them staggering amounts of advertising revenue.

The fun of casually chatting with friends or sharing something informative has largely been lost. I would seriously consider shutting down my Facebook and Twitter accounts; if it wasn’t for the fact that occasionally customers and clients prefer to reach me that way for help. But I have already frozen the SeyDesign and RWExtras accounts…

Mastodon is quite a quirky and geeky setup. But I have had zero problems with any spam or posts I don’t want to be associated with. It is a much quieter space. But I hope it will grow in popularity and allow users of a higher intellect to chat more intimately and make true friendships. Exactly what social media is suppose to be about.

2 Likes

Oh yeah - and I would add that YouTube is going pretty-much the same way too.

They promote their star creators like Logan Paul. Everyone else who isn’t achieving a 100k teenage fanbase or mentions controversial words like ‘Christmas’ gets de-monetised and / or shadow banned. We’re led to believe there is no conspiracy - it is “the algorithm”.

So expect a BitChute or Brighteon stack from me soon too! I’m gradually going to dissemble each of these mainstream social media platforms and give RapidWeaver users solid alternatives.

1 Like

I took a quick look Mastodon, didn’t join because I couldn’t figure out what instance I should join.
It’s an interesting concept, and might well catch on, but a bit confusing as to where you might belong. I don’t know what happens if you pick the wrong “instance” and wasn’t clear how or if you can change.

I’m on this instance: https://mastodon.social/

I can see @steveb is following me, so have followed him back.

@isaiah is also on here too:

I think this ‘social’ instance is the main one most people sign-up to. But looking in the settings, it is possible to import / export your account into another instance, if you choose too.

1 Like

The main one now seems to need an invite, not sure how you get said invite.

Teefers, I think you can signup to as many instances as you like. They all seem to work independently of each other.

i must admit to rarely checking Mastodon. every social network seems to have its own vibe. i guess a nice way to put it is: Mastodon and i didn’t mesh well. lol.

anyway, i use twitter regularly. just heavily filtered so that it’s primarily just a few people i know. but if anyone needs to get in touch with me it’s a good way. i check it a couple times a day at least.

oh, yeah, i’m:

@isaiah mastodon.social
@isaiah on twitter
@isaiah on instagram

@willwood and anyone else: Has anyone installed and an instance of Mastodon on their own server?

I’m really liking using it to feed a site blog using Wills stack, but I don’t want to subject my clients who are interested in using it to the existing instances, as most are loaded with porn.

Thinking the way forward is my own instance, but not sure if it’s an easy install or not?

I have not tried compiling and hosting Mastodon myself yet.

Has anyone been able to get their feed to display like Will’s does in the sample?

I’ve tried everything, the furthest I can get is to a “Loading…” message.

I tried the method on this link: http://www.azet.jp/mastodon.wizard/wizard_en.html

Sent thru to step 4, and my timeline is appearing in the preview on the final page, but copying the info over to the stack results in “Record Not Found”.

If I add add a trailing / to the Instance URL instead of record not found I get the “Loading…” message, but nothing ever loads.

Trying the other methods results in the same.

The url for the instance I’m using is https://humblr.social (be warned, if you click that link it’s VERY porn heavy).

Will is using a different instance, and I’m wondering if that’s the reason the sample works but mine won’t?

EDIT: @willwood Something odd is happening with the stack. With no access token or ID in the settings and only https://mastodon.social in the url, on the published page your feed is appearing!

https://dev.ci-clientservices.com/masto/

35