OpenAppJS Technical Update
The biggest news in technical land is that Paul Frazee and others have hacked up phoenix a distributed social network built on top of Dominic Tarr’s secure scuttlebutt. A usable version is now ready! This is important for OpenApp because:
- This is the same system we planned to use for federating instances of openApp groups. We will likely just use phoenix/secure scuttlebutt as a ‘base layer’ for supplying federation functionality to OpenApp.
- These developers will continue to work on some of the harder technical problems (like local cacheing with distributed databases) that were raised in earlier technical discussions here.
- They’re also using mercury for the frontend UI like the OpenAppJS team which raises the possibility of closer collaboration between these teams.
- This is dovetailing nicely with a strategy of ‘open source at scale’ - part of this is to just build on top of the best of the ‘emerging web’, rather than try and reinvent all the things.
To recap, secure scuttlebutt implements a ‘secure gossip protocol’ - peers (in OpenApp a large group like Enspiral) share secure data, i.e. ‘gossip’ with other instances they trust, who in turn ‘gossip’ with others. Data propagates through system without a centralised server. The idea is that OpenApp groups would have access to the public data of other groups without all of the security problems and economics of being centrally hosted.
I’ll be setting up my own local instance this weekend to try it out.
For OpenAppJS team specifically:
Mikey has been working cobudget which is now being tested internally in Enspiral for this month’s budget round!
I’ve been hacking on Person-UI the main component behind craftodex. Initially, I found this a bit frustrating as I spent a lot of time getting used to mercury. Perhaps it was because I would hack on this in the evenings when I have low brain function, or because mercury restricts you a bit to make it easier and more performant in the long run. I only started to ‘get’ mercury a month ago and now I’ve come round to it.
The API is starting to stabilise and I’m looking forward to doing more radical things like adding other entities, and viewing groups ‘as a network’ or ‘as holons’. I’ll comment on some of the more interesting technical details that are going on, in the comments here or in the forthcoming design update.