An add-on to bridge Web Browsers and the Decentralized Web
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Important Stuff About Patchfox OC
March 2022 update
February 2022 update
Patchfox is a WebExtension for Mozilla Firefox that works as a client for the Secure Scuttlebutt platform.
Where money will be spent?
- Development time from contractors and core contributors.
- Potential infrastructure.
- Outreach towards other dweb communities, web developers and events.
- Producing content to help onboard new users and developers.
- Add support for:
- Private messages
- Start testing under Opera Browser and Brave Browser
- Improve pull-stream handling for posts/avatars/names/votes
Motivation behind the project
At the moment, there are two main ways of interacting with scuttlebutt: running an electron based app or running some form of server and opening a local webapp. In the first case, your scuttlebutt experience is decoupled from your web experience which is at the same time good and bad. In the second case, even if you’re using scuttlebutt from a tab in your browser of choice, it doesn’t interact with the remaining web experience you have while using the browser. Patchfox make possible new experiences and features that are not easily done with the above mentioned ways of running Secure Scuttlebutt. I’d like to summarize some reasons why I believe this is a good idea:
Richer interaction with the browser
Using an add-on allows us to tap into APIs that are not available to normal webapps. It opens possibilities for contextual menus, browser buttons, sidebars, and other UX experiences. For example, a compose message window on a sidebar allows you to change your active tab while still composing the message, thus making it a lot easier to compose entries that carry content from multiple sources and to fact-check stuff while you’re posting.
Allows us to run one less web engine
There are too many electron based apps in our daily usage. Many of us (me included) are running an editor such as Visual Studio Code or Atom, Slack, Spotify, Patchwork, Trello app, and each of those apps is one more chrome-based engine running. Chrome is not known for being a diet browser, if we could run one less instance of chrome, that would help our machine.
Find new usage patterns
As this deeper integration opens up new possibilities of usage (mostly by reducing friction), new forms of interaction between the current web and the decentralized web will surface. Having decentralized technology inside a major browser will probably lead to new usage patterns beyond what we have seen so far.
Pave the way for more decentralized features inside major web browsers
Once completed and working, the method of adding ssb features to Firefox will make it easier to add features from other dweb solutions such as dat and ipfs, which could lead to larger and more frictionless adoption of those technologies as well.
WebExtensions work in many browsers
The new add-on API called WebExtensions is basically an standard. The API is shared between Firefox, Chrome, Opera and even Edge and Vivaldi. Each browser has some APIs that are not present in the others but it is a lot easier to port between browsers than it was when each used their own API. This work could later be used in porting the add-ons to other browsers.