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A note is a post that is typically short, plain text, and written/posted quickly.

Displaying an individual note (tweet/status update) on its own permalink page is a common pattern.

Documented Examples

  • Barnaby Walters has a collection of annotated screenshots here, including examples from:
    • Facebook (Web UI)
    • Twitter (Web, Mac App)

Common Aspects

There are certain UI elements which are common to most implementations. These include:

  • Profile photo (often with rounded corners)
  • Full Name (often emboldened)
  • Auto–linked URLs, usernames and #tags
  • Dates (sometimes relative, almost always the option to see real date)

Autolinking and embedding

Various sites/solutions auto-link and/or auto-embed URLs and other linkable things in notes.


  • auto-link URLs directly
    • even better: if the URL is to a known person, use their name as the link text and perhaps include a small icon of their face before their name.
  • auto-link @-names to Twitter profiles
    • even better: auto-link @-names to individual's indieweb sites and show their full name instead of Twitter handle. Obviously keep @-names in note content when POSSEing to Twitter.
  • auto-embed GIF/JPG/PNG URLs with <img src>, hyperlinked to the original
  • auto-embed MOV/OGV URLs with <video src>, hyperlinked to the original
  • auto-embed Youtube URLs with the equivalent Youtube <iframe src> embed (algorithmically convertible)

You can use the CASSIS auto_link function to do all the above (except the "even better" enhancements) automatically to a piece of plain text.


  • auto-linking URLs through URLs shorteners (please don't break the web)
  • cluttering image/video embeds with extra text (e.g. name/title from destination)

Compare for example:

Less Common Aspects

  • username/nickname - as well as the full name, there’s often a silo-specific nickname/alias
  • URL to their indieweb home page
  • posting application/tool
  • posting location - aka geo


Location (AKA Geo) of notes is somewhat rare and not very well done. Nonetheless, there are questions, use-cases, and examples.

IndieWeb Thoughts


  • What's the point of posting a note/tweet with location information? (one that's not a checkin)
    • What does it do for me (as the user posting it)?
    • And what does it do for people reading my notes/tweets?
    • Why is it interesting/useful to anyone?

Related but different: checkins, events, photos with location.

Use-cases for posting geo / post location information with notes:

  • location specific service provider help
  • meetup in non-home city - specifically expressing being in the same (non-home) city
  • explicit I'm not home - indication of being in a non-home city
  • "help!" if you're in trouble - geolocating it would be useful
    • uncommon but urgent use-case.
    • though in a "help" situation it's faster to simply *type* where you are etc. than wait for geo location information to come-up, confirm, etc.
      • because geo information is so often "invisible" - it requires extra UI steps to make it work = extra time = not going to do it in an emergency
      • worse - devices get geo information wrong all the time - and having it be wrong in an emergency would be particularly bad
    • basically, lack of trust for device geo = not going to use it in a help situation
  • if you don't know where you are and need help, then some (even possibly error-prone) geo information may be better than nothing
    • but now we're talking quite a bit of an edge case.
Twitter tweet with location

Live example:


Past Example when Twitter used to show a map on tweet permalinks of the location:

White space

Typical silo notes implementations display most whitespace written in their posting interfaces. E.g.


Facebook status updates are notes (no post title) that preserve sequential space characters and line breaks.


Google+ posts are similarly just notes (no post title) that also preserve sequential space characters and line breaks.


Twitter now has multiple implementations that preserve white space characters in presentation:

  • (as of ~2013-03-13)[1][2][3][4][5]
    • e.g.
    • based on a test ( Tantek 18:13, 15 April 2013 (PDT) ), when posting to, Twitter's server
      • preserves simple linebreaks
      • preserves multiple spaces between words
      • preserves spaces at the start of a line
      • but collapses multiple linebreaks into a maximum of one blank line between lines.
  • Twitter iOS client (previously: Tweetie)

Encoding - analysis of the above tweet:

  • View Source: The linebreaks are encoded as &#10; character entitites, without any visible line breaks in the code.
  • View Selection Source (FF) and Inspect Element (FF, Safari): The linebreaks appear to be simple "carriage return" characters (\r, ASCII 13), showing visible line breaks in the code.
  • In either case, the visual presentation of the whitespace characters is achieved using CSS:
    .js-tweet-text { white-space: pre-wrap; }

Indieweb thinking

Due to the expectations set by dominant silo implementations, any note authoring/composing UI should preserve line-breaks, blank lines, and multiple space characters when writing/authoring, displaying/presenting, and ideally, when syndicating (POSSE).

Especially now that even Twitter has set consistent expectations from its posting UI, there's a strong case that a user switching from Twitter to an indieweb note posting UI would expect whitespace and linebreaks to "just work".

Obviously indieweb implementations would have to preserve white-space in posting UI to storage to display round-trips. Then in the presentation they could either:

  • a. <br/> substitutions - Indieweb implementations could (are any already?) automatically insert <br> tags for linebreak whitespaces (similarly to auto-linking URLs in notes). But this wouldn't handle multiple sequential space characters.
  • b. white-space:pre-wrap - Alternatively (preferably) indieweb implementations should use white-space:pre-wrap similar to how Twitter does.

Thus b. white-space:pre-wrap seems to be the logical choice for indieweb implementations.

Indieweb implementations

Use Cases

There are some interesting use cases to preserving white space, in particular line breaks.

Besides the obvious use-cases of poetry, paragraphs, and lists, there is for example, chess games (and moves!)

This leads us to the use case of indieweb spectator correspondence chess. That is, two players could play a chess game just by posting moves on their own indieweb sites as replies to each others' moves.

Perhaps chess moves (and resulting board state) could be posted as a special kind of note post type (a game-move or game-turn?) and then POSSE'd to Twitter with whitespace intact.

If the move is response to a move on another indiewebsite, then in addition to using webmention for move completion notification, the POSSE'd response move could also indicate with Twitter's in-reply-to-status-id the POSSE'd tweet of the previous move. See how to POSSE a comment/in-reply-to/rel-syndication for details of how to do this.

Such public posting of moves would also allow for anyone to jump in and attempt to play a next move by posting a reply move. The player of the previous move would then receive multiple webmentions and could decided which move (or both) to reply to in turn.


Since notes are such a ubiquitous content posting type (Thanks to Twitter), it's no surprise that subtypes of notes are evolving for representing additional structure or types of information. Let's document them as they emerge.

Health Fitness Tracking

Tags: fitbit, pedometer, physical activity


Step Tracking

Syntax: number-of-steps #steps anything-extra


BMI Tracking

Syntax: number #bmi



picoformats are the broader effort to briefly and readably structure information in pure/plain text form.

Note Display

When displaying a note, it is customary to just display the note content and no explicit note title.

While this is fairly straightforward for a site itself (which often has its own post type information, perhaps even as an additional class name on the h-entry like h-as-note), for sites that display h-entrys from elsewhere it helps to have an algorithm to determining when is a note a note and should thus be displayed as such.

Note Type Algorithm

Summary: if the name of the h-entry is essentially the content of the entry, it's a note, just display the content (and no explicit name/title).

Algorithm for a parsed h-entry

  • set the tname to trim(name)
  • set the tcontent to trim(content)
  • if the tname == tcontent, then it's a note, return.
  • if the tname ends with an ellipsis ("..." or "…") then
    • drop the ellipsis character
    • if the tname is a prefix of tcontent, then it's a note, return
  • otherwise it's not a note

Related Patterns


Questions about notes, implementing them, publishing them.

markdown or plain text

Q: As an implementer of notes on my own website, should I store markdown or just plain text and autolink/autoembed everything?

A: Typical implementations store plain text for notes and use an autolinker/embedder to create links and embedded images. E.g.:

  • Tantek on uses Falcon which stores all notes as plain text entry-content inside an h-entry in a flat file.
  • ... add your implementation example here.

See also: storage.

how long should notes be

Q: As an implementer, what's the maximum size I should allow for notes?

A: Up to you and your own site needs! Typical implementations do not have note length limitations.

  • Tantek on uses Falcon which has no explicit lenght limitation on notes, however as part of the publishing UI shows what will be POSSEd to Twitter and how many characters are remaining to do so without having to elide the text.
  • ... add your implementation example here.

how to display in a list

Q: When displaying a list of h-entry notes, e.g. in comments-presentation on a post, or in an indie reader, when should the name, or name+content, or just content be displayed?

A: See notes display for how to determine when to use a name or name+content and what to display accordingly.

See Also