Textile Photos Release Version 0.5.0

We’ve upgraded just about every aspect of Textile Photos, from the way you add photos, to the very network they live on…

We’re thrilled to announce the latest release of our Textile Photos app! With this release (Version 0.5.0) comes a number of major updates and fixes. From new UI features like improved layouts on a number of screens, better in-app feedback, and more intuitive labels and names, to a major overhaul to how the app works ‘under-the- hood’, like new and improved encryption tools, to better offline message handling, and even moving data storage to the public IPFS DHT! Before we move on, grab it from the App Store or Play Store and start upgrading now.

With this post, we thought it would be fun to highlight a few of the major upgrades you can expect to see with this new release. While we’re at it, we’ll link to some other recent posts that you should explore if you want to start ‘hacking’ on Textile Photos and interacting with Textile data outside the core mobile app(s).

Up front

On the front end, we’ve spent a lot of time soliciting user-feedback, exploring new group- and photo-based screen-flows, and just generally tweaking the user experience. Overall, usage of the app should require fewer screen taps, and should reduce the time from photo capture to sharing considerably. Additionally, we’ve added more feedback to the interface, so you know exactly what’s happening when you join a group, add a photo, or invite a contact/peer. We’ve merged over 75 pull-requests since our last public release, so its pretty tough to go over all the little tweaks and changes. But we encourage you to take a look at some of the improvements we’ve made along the way.

Some other things you might notice if you start playing around with Textile Photos: 1) no more email/passwords! We’ve done away with all of that in an effort to increase user-privacy, and better emphasize the decentralized nature of the Textile wallet. 2) user interface flow. The main UI has changed, with more of a focus on your timeline and contacts, which have also received an upgrade. Over the coming months, we’ll be exploring better ways to connect with existing and new Textile contacts, and hopefully making the whole on-boarding experience that much smoother.

Behind the scenes

While the average user won’t likely notice many of the changes we’ve added ‘under-the-hood’, this is where a big part of the Textile Photos improvements from this release went. We’ve mentioned some of these general upgrades in our December Update, but those ‘behind-the-scenes’ changes rarely get the recognition they deserve, but hopefully we can highlight a few key upgrades that will get those more tech-focused readers excited.

There has been a recent storm of textile-go releases, which include things like major updates to threads (groups in the app), encryption, and sharing. Also big changes to Textile Cafes (which provide offline messaging and photo backup) and the services they provide. Wallets and accounts are much more explicit in the new tooling, and of course, our big focus has been getting ready to support backup and recovery. We now have all the tools in place to enable users to login to Textile Photos from any mobile device, so stay tuned for an upcoming release where we enable this in-app! For those interested in learning more about the new textile-go features in general, please check out our wiki, which is being updated almost daily.

Specific framework updates that our tech/dev community members might be excited to hear about include moving to the public IPFS DHT. Previously, we were running our own custom fork of the libp2p DHT, but with this release, we have moved all our users over to mainline IPFS. This has the benefit of making Textile Photos data more interoperable with other tools and peers, and makes way for building new tools and apps on top of your Textile data… which is a very exciting prospect for increased user data control, and something we’ll be talking a lot more about in the near future.

Speaking of the near future, our team has also started working on better contacts support, including the ability to search for, and discover, your contacts. The latest textile-go work has really laid the ground work for these types of improvements (and other niceties), so we can finally say goodby to those pesky external invites!

Hacking with Textile

Now that our mobile app has been updated to our latest textile-go framework, this opens up the opportunity to interact with your data more outside the primary mobile interface. For those interested in developing Textile Photos integrations, we have tooling for that. Want to extract and backup your photos directly to your laptop? Sure we’ve got you covered. How about running your own Textile Cafe so you can better control backup and recovery as we roll out those features moving forward? We encourage it! There are a ton of new and exciting ways to start interacting with Textile and Textile Photos from command-line, web, desktop, and yes, mobile clients. Get in touch if you want to learn more, plus stay tuned for next week’s post where we’ll cover importing your #deletefacebook photos into Textile Photos!

Final thoughts

We’re proud of the improvements we’ve made with this release. And now that we’ve upgraded just about everything to do with Textile Photos, you can expect more frequent updates moving forward as we continue to experiment with new features and user experiences.

Not already using Textile Photos? Why not sign up for our Textile Photos waitlist to get early access to our next release! While you’re at it, feel free check out some of our other stories, to see what we’re building. You can also always drop us a line and tell us what cool distributed web projects you’re working on — we’d love to hear about it!

Carson Farmer

Carson Farmer