Something that I’ve only just realised is the absolutely staggering leverage developers will gain by developing on Safe Network.
I had already appreciated some big gains, such as the ability to scale a website or application to any degree with zero infrastructure costs. That alone has massive implications, including turning the financial models for business upside down, and of course decentralising power and blowing the doors off innovation.
But it took me starting to build Git Portal to appreciate that this network is going to be much more than a way to scale with economics built in that people have been dreaming of for decades but has not yet materialised.
So what’s this big new realisation? Well look, here I am just one moderately skilled coder and I’m attempting to build an alternative to GitHub, had a proof of concept running in less than a month and all but complete in two. How is this possible?
It’s possible because Safe provides me with not just a ready made scalable platform, but the option of avoiding all the complicated bits that have put me off attempting this for years.
A few years ago I looked inside SSB-Git and recoiled in horror at the prospect of figuring out how git works under the hood and integrating that into a decentralised protocol as they had done.
Now we see Radicle building a decentralised git system. They have a large team because they’re doing that and more - building a decentralised protocol that fits git like a glove, as well as expending git’s capabilities in the way I’m doing for Git Portal (adding issues, PRs, social etc). It may well be effective but we know how hard it is to build those protocols! And there’s a cost which has to be paid for somehow.
I never stuck with SSB (Scuttlebutt) whenever I tried it because it just doesn’t work for me, taking forever to update and using enormous bandwidth and storage for a single social app.
So what’s different about Git Portal? In not using the protocols, just the peer-to-peer storage that sits on top of them. This has reduced the work needed enormously. No protocols to design, write, or even to interface with. And I don’t even need to interface with the storage much, because a consequence of having a standard storage API is that I can put Git Portal together from existing git libraries that already sit on a storage API.
There’s still a lot of code to write, and I have had to figure out a way to glue it all together, but it’s probably between one and five percent of the work needed to build something identical in functionality that uses its own protocol.
The same will be true for many apps now that we don’t just have the data types, but local first CRDT types, as well as the option of just using a filesystem (device or in-browser). Others can use the work I’ve done and have even less work to do.
This is going to be a massive incentive for anyone building things that can take advantage of those development economies.