Instance-qualified Mastodon URLs | InfoWorld

In Lists and people on Mastodon I showed how I added a list column to the following tab of the Mastodon browser I’m building. That was a step in the direction of easier and more powerful list management. It enables me to see whether the people I follow are assigned to lists, and to consider who should be on a list (or perhaps on a different list).

Today, as I began to use that new affordance in earnest, I discovered a new challenge. In order to assign someone to a list, or change a list assignment, I clicked the link in the account_url column to open that person’s profile in the Mastodon web app. That was fine for accounts on my home server, An account URL like Shelley Powers’ brings me to Shelley’s profile on my home server where the list manager is available.

But if I’m following someone elsewhere, like Ward Cunningham at, the account URL brings me to Ward’s profile on that server where the list manager isn’t available. In order to assign Ward to a list I had to capture his account URL, paste it into the search box in my home server’s web app, and then click the resulting link:[email protected].

That got old real fast, so I adjusted the following tab to display the latter flavor of URL which I’ll call an instance-qualified URL.

Steampipe provides a few ways to make that adjustment. As a user of the dashboard, you can use Postgres’ regular expression functions to do the transformation in the SQL query that drives the view. But you’d rather not have to. It’s much nicer if the plugin does that for you, so the SQL can just refer to a column called instance_qualified_url.

I chose the latter approach. As the author of a Steampipe plugin you want to make life as easy as possible for users of the plugin. When you’re the author of both the plugin and the dashboard, as I am in this case, you can enjoy a nice virtuous cycle. As the dashboard evolves you discover ways to improve the plugin, which leads to more use of the dashboard, which suggests further opportunities to improve the plugin. I have been greatly enjoying the coevolution of these two components!

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