Textile Update | February 2019

Better late than never… here’s your February update, in March

Photo by Ethan Hu / Unsplash

It has been an exciting month for Textile and our growing community of developers and early adopters. Riding on the high of last month’s Wired article mention, we have added tons of under-the-hood improvements to our underlying libraries, traveled exotic Denver for an Ethereum hackathon, and even released a few new libraries along the way. Whether you’re a developer looking for some fun projects to tackle, or a Textile Photos beta user wondering about the next big release, this past month has lead to some big improvements and updates that we think you’ll love.

Outreach

Last month we launched a ‘bounty’ program based on Gitcoin for funding small, community-focused Textile-based projects. We’ve already added several bounties and CFPs to the repository, and this month, we’ve actually had one or two projects already completed! In fact, one such project helped create the initial work for a new Textile project (see Technology section below). This is all part of a large effort by the Textile team to increase developer engagement, and explore how the technologies we’re developing for our own work can help other developers building the next big decentralized technologies.

An that brings us to several new outreach activities for the month of February. The biggest one — Ethereum Denver — was the Textile team’s first real foray into the exciting world of Ethereum development. Andrew and Carson were there for the week (minus some snow delays!), and met and interacted with a ton of really great projects. Some highlights for the team included teaming up with Pinata to run an IPFS help-desk, and the creation of Airsecure (a decentralized 2-factor authentication app built on Textile & IPFS) with Cody Hatfield. Cody brought the idea of AirSecure to EthDenver, where he helped build it over a day with Andrew and Carson. You can read all about it in this guest post by Cody!

IPFS help-desk team

The other new outreach activity the team has started, is semi-weekly team demos. The first demo, where Andrew presented our new Textile React Native SDK and associated demonstrator app, is available now on our YouTube channel. The whole idea behind these demos is to a) make sure our whole team is up-to-date with the fun (sometimes side-) projects that each of us are working on, and b) to make sure our early adopters and developer community are aware of what is coming down the pipe. Here’s the first demo for your viewing pleasure.

Technology

As always, there has been a ton of updates and under-the-hood improvements to the Textile suite of tools. Some highlights include contact search on mobile, increasing use of Protobufs to more clearly define our inter-module APIs, plus a bunch of Textile features that haven’t even made it into the Photos app yet, like account synch, Thread backup APIs, new photos/files ‘feed’ modes, access control for Cafes, and much more. The Photos app has also received several updates and improvements, including some fixes for various Android bugs (to be released this week), Groups screen updates, and of course, better contact search.

But perhaps the most significant news of all, is our switch from textile-go to go-textile. While we’re sure this change will spark mass debate and discussion among our devoted early adopters/developers, we feel that the move to language prefixes across our various repos will save us some confusion and 1000s of hours of developer time in the long-term. So we will slowly be rolling out repo changes over the next few weeks as we make these important changes. We appreciate your patience during this process 😜.

But seriously folks, as we find more and more developers starting to poke under the hood of Textile tooling, we have started to devote some more time to improving our documentation. For an early look, check out the Textile Wiki on the go-textile repository. We have also started to document some of our underlying APIs (for example, see the desktop peer’s REST API docs here, which are generated via swaggo), and various client libraries.

Speaking of client libraries, thanks to some awesome initial work by Robby Shaw as part of a Textile Developer Bounty project, the Textile team released a preliminary Javascript client library for interacting with the Textile REST API. The library — js-http-client— mimics the command-line API to some degree, with additional functionality relevant for web-app development. We’ll be releasing a specific post about the new library soon, so stay tuned for additional details there, but suffice to say, it should drastically increase the easy of building new apps on top of Textile.

Textile is hiring

In other news, Textile is starting to look at new hires. If you’re interested in the future of the web and decentralized mobile systems, get in touch. Seriously, do it, we’d love to hear from you. We’re just starting the hiring process, so the full positions have yet to be fully scoped out, but you can bet we’re looking for dweb enthusiasts with experience in the tools and technologies that Textile produces and writes about regularly. Join us on our Slack channel if you have questions!

Consider yourself updated

If you’re excited about Textile — or just want to learn more about our apps, ideas, and vision for the future — feel free to reach out on Slack, or share your thoughts on Twitter. If you’re a fellow decentralized web developer, let us know what cool distributed web projects you’re working on — we’d love to hear about it, and maybe discuss your employment future! In the mean time, sign up for our wait-list to get earlier access to Textile Photos, or our mailing list to get updates about new features and progress.

Carson Farmer

Carson Farmer