Want to try Filecoin? Textile is building tools to make it as easy as 123

developers Jan 23, 2020

From the earliest announcements of Filecoin, it's been evident that it could have a significant impact on the way we develop applications. Today, we are excited to announce that we are committed to helping make that impact come as fast as possible.

We've been excited about Filecoin since the beginning of Textile. Filecoin has allowed us to imagine new ways for developers to launch, distribute, and scale applications. With the work we are announcing today, we hope to make it quick and easy for developers to start benefiting from Filecoin right away. We also want to talk to more developers and projects that are already interested in using Filecoin (see more below).

The goals of this project are:

  1. Let’s make it simple for developers to adopt Filecoin and leverage the network in their daily development.
  2. Let's build bridges from Filecoin to IPFS and to the rest of the web.
  3. Let’s help developers bring the value and benefits of decentralized protocols like Filecoin to end-users.

A Filecoin primer

Filecoin is a decentralized, blockchain-based network for storing digital data. For those new to the concept, there are some great introductions out there to get you up to speed quickly (see this and this to start, and visit the Filecoin FAQ). We see Filecoin as having the potential to host an open market of miners and clients wanting to work together to secure, scale, and disintermediate data storage.

Filecoin hasn't launched a mainnet for production use yet, but the testnet is being heavily used and rapidly updated every day. Development on Filecoin is leading the way to new forms of consensus, new applications of cryptography, and a host of other innovations. The technology behind Filecoin has come a long way in a pretty short amount of time, we are excited to join the party.

If any of the below is interesting to you, jump on our slack channel, join our mailing list, or follow our twitter to be sure you don’t miss an update.

Sneak peek: A Filecoin toolkit

We are designing a suite of tools to augment your existing developer workflows by adding cheap, reliable, decentralized storage. The project will bring modular components that hopefully other projects can adopt when building on Filecoin, and will lead to several products that we think developers can start using on mainnet right on day one.

Public Indices and Shared Data Resources

if you have to say it twice, write it down

Our work has already begun, and in our early experiments, we learned that there is a ton of information generated by the network that won't be very easy for new developers or projects to utilize right away. As we develop our tools, we'll be working to capture information in new data feeds that other projects can consume. For example, we'll be releasing searchable, subscribable indices of miner metrics, network metrics, and chain snapshots.

Nightly chain snapshot feed: https://lotus-archives.textile.io/


Simple File Storage Flow and Deal Management

To store new data on Filecoin, a user needs to go through a handful of steps that span creation, confirmation, and finalization of storage. Additionally, the developer needs to have easy ways to monitor failed deals and simple ways to create new deals before old ones expire. The Textile toolkit for Filecoin includes some simple deal helpers that will take reusable parameters and provide simple pipelines for deal management.

Preview of deal module: https://github.com/textileio/fil-tools


Team Collaboration on Filecoin

Whether using multi-sig wallets or leveraging secondary data sharing protocols, most projects have multiple developers that will need to store assets or application data collaboratively. We are going to simplify the process of multi-developer collaboration over IPFS and Filecoin. What does that look like? Shared storage resources, dynamic data, authenticated mobile and web app APIs, Threads integration and more. If your team wants access to our tool for collaboratively managing your decentralized data resources, please get in touch before February 1st.

Filecoin puts the F in our Fast API

We are looking at two areas to bring speed and interoperability to Filecoin for use in production applications. In the first, we plan to extend Threads (our IPFS-based database) so developers or users can optionally store full data snapshots from Threads to Filecoin, and then recover that data in the future. In the second, we plan to build an enhanced Filecoin retrieval system that more seamlessly exposes data over IPFS or gateways in a pattern familiar to developers. We believe this work will allow developers to transition to Filecoin backed systems with minimal changes to their working applications.  

Building bridges not silos

Our project is to help developers bridge the gap between their existing applications and the Filecoin network when it launches later this Spring. We believe that by developing modular, open-source components that a lot of this work will be absorbed into other projects or future Filecoin markets themselves. Until then, we hope to make it easier for more projects to start using Filecoin as soon as possible.

We are still learning which solutions are most useful for new developers. We’d love your help prioritizing things based on what you need for your projects. If you hope to use Filecoin and can lend us 15-20 minutes of you time, just grab any open time on our calendar, or feel free to email us. We look forward to hearing from you!

Learn more about Filecoin development the core team as well as Textile and other community projects on the Filecoin Slack group and community forums.