Open Collective
Open Collective
August 2021 update
Published on August 5, 2021 by Andre Staltz

Dear backers,

I'm very excited about Manyverse! Even though it's been 3 years, I feel like we are only now entering its golden phase. Although we are far from an ideal situation, several aspects are doing really well: app feature coverage, user experience and performance, funding, team, and community.

I want to emphasize that your role as a donor is super important. I started this project as a hobby project on my free time, while conferences and workshops were my income streams. Since then, life and work has changed significantly, working on SSB via donations and grants are my primary source of income. I love working on this and want to keep focusing on it, and you're the ones who make that possible. You're also preparing the way for other paid contributors, such as Jacob Karlsson, to work on this project.

This month we have an exciting new feature: full-text search. Not only is this catching up with other SSB apps, I believe the new search functionality in Manyverse is now the best search mechanism you can find in any SSB app. I'll explain why, below.

First, the changelog for version 0.2108.2 at a glance:
  • 🎉 Feature: full-text search screen
  • ✅ Bug fix: portrait on Biography screen can resize
  • ✅ Bug fix: show images in landscape Welcome and Backup
  • ✅ Fix minor styling issues in ActivityTab
  • 🔷 Improve Biography screen's portrait size
  • 🔷 Improve firewall rules for stranger connections
  • 🔷 Improve Hungarian translation

This week we made a new release that contains a new screen dedicated for searching public posts based on a text query. On the Public posts tab, on the top-right corner, you can press a button that opens this Search screen.

Built on ssb-db2, the core logic is powered by ssb-search2, a plugin I made that is analogous to ssb-search (used by Patchbay, Oasis, and others). Building on top of ssb-db2 means that performance of ssb-search2 is faster than ssb-search, and index sizes in ssb-search2 are 3x smaller than in ssb-search (93 MB compared to 284 MB).

But there's more: we also support searching for words in Unicode, so searching for "trädgården" is possible, as well as searching short Chinese words. While ssb-search ignores words shorter than 3 characters, ssb-search2 indexes those when they are upper-cased acronyms, making searching for "EU" or "VR" possible.

In Manyverse, we display the search results in short summaries, with the query word in bold, making it easy to glance through. Previously, Manyverse was only for browsing recent posts, but now with search, we open up a new realm of old but gold content, relevant to your interests.

As a bonus, if you paste a cypherlink into the search bar, then Manyverse automatically detects those and opens up the corresponding Thread screen!

Building the desktop app

Jacob and I have done good progress on porting Manyverse to desktop. In fact, I built the search feature desktop-first, and then easily ported it back to Android and iOS. The desktop project is easy to develop for, so that's what I used to make Search, and it means that this feature is ready for desktop, we won't have to port it in the future.

Otherwise, the desktop app is gradually coming alive. There's a ton of fixes to make and we're going through them one by one. Here's a list of things we have gotten done in the desktop project in the past month:

  • Enabled the Compose post screen
  • Enabled all dialogs (using Material-UI)
  • Enabled the Paste Invite screen
  • Enabled the Biography screen
  • Enabled copy to clipboard functionality

This time we also had a contributor pass by and leave a bunch of great contributions that cheered us up! Thanks to Konstantin Zudov, the Biography screen received some fixes, was enabled on desktop, and we got contributor documentation in place. So, in case you are a programmer and also feel like trying to develop Manyverse desktop, there are now docs to guide you how to get started.

Big thanks to everyone, and let's stay in touch!

Kind regards,
— @andrestaltz