POC applications for identity management and RDF data

rdf
webid

#1

Proof of concepts for managing your identities and social networking on the SAFE Network.

What this is

Thanks to some prodding from @happybeing, we’ve been investigating the idea of using a Resource Description Framework (RDF) for data on the network.

The principle benefits of this are that with self describing data it can be more easily consumed by other applications, and we believe it gives us the flexibilitiy we need to scale our representations in the future, always with an standard format.

For the impatient that just want to play with the apps, bear with us, we are hoping people can provide feedback not only about the apps themselves but also about the whole concept and approach we are proposing to take here, so we would like to encourage you to read the following sections and try to understand them before playing around with the apps.

WebIds…

To actually make some use of RDFs, we had to figure out some data that would be genuinely useful. Identity seemed to be a good starting point, which brought us (via SOLID) to WebIds.

On the clearnet a WebId is a URL that describes a person, organization, group, device, etc., and you can use this to authenticate on websites (via some complex server/certificate malarky). But as we have authentication and data already baked into the network, a WebId is much simpler on SAFE, just being (as we propose in this POC) a piece of addressable data on the network containing the following information:

name:
nickname:
uri: // a unique safe://uri to locate your identity
website:
image:

To this end we’ve created a webApp that lets you manage your WebID Profiles.

An Updated Peruse

Outwith of a good batch of fixes to Peruse functionality that @hunterlester was able to put in, to actually make WebIds useful a user would need a way to manage them. For this we opted to include a webId switcher, in the browser. This lets a user choose a WebID per tab. The selected webId is then passed into the DOM for a webApp to consume:

console.log( window.currentWebId )

// Returns a webId object if selected.
window.webIdEventEmitter.on( 'update', ( webId ) =>
    {
        console.log( 'webId from update', webId );
    } );
// whenever a webId is changed, the webApp can listen/react to this.

Patter

The final piece of the WebId puzzle was an application to actually use our newfound identity, and then also put some more RDF data (that ideally can be consumed by other applications).

This is how we ended up considering the creation of a social network application we called Patter, where users can post messages onto other users profile’s wall, using any of the identities the user has created with the WebID Manager.

Patter allows the user to view other users profile info, and wall’s posts, by searching them thru their WebID URL. It allows you to post messages onto their walls, or your own wall, allowing you to identify yourself with any of the available identities created in your SAFE account by simply using the Peruse WebId switcher.

Getting going with WebIds

Downloading the POC browser

The first thing you’d need to do is download a special version of Peruse which contains the POC code for the webID switcher and new APIs needed by the webapps to manipulate RDFs and WebIDs on the network. Please download the verion that corresponds to your platform:

Download Peruse-WebID-POC

The WebId Manager webapp

Once you launched the Peruse-WebID-POC version of our browser, either use an existing SAFE account or create a new one, and log in.

You now can start creating your own WebIDs on the SAFE Network by simply launching the WebID Manager from the “WebID-switcher” you will find in the left hand side of the address bar. Alternatively you can open the following URL in a new tab:

safe://webidea.ter

Go ahead and create some WebIDs. Depending on the context, you can have an informal profile with a WebID, while you can have a second one which is more a proffesional one you’d share with your colleagues (for example.)

In the list view, clicking your webId url will navigate to an RDF representation (Turtle by default for now) of the raw data on the network (for those outthere who like a bit of raw data on a Friday afternoon!).

Using The Patter social network

Once you’ve created some WebIDs, you can use the social network application by opening the following URL in a new tab:

safe://pat.ter

Share your WebID/s with other people so they can find you using the search box and post some messages in your wall. You can also post messages on users’ walls using any of the identities you created by id-ing yourself with the id-me button on the top right hand side.

Finally, come drop a note on our walls:

Issues?

Known Issues

With the APIs included in this release, and the addition of a WebId to your account, to continue adding/manging sites you’ll need to use an updated release of the WHM going forwards. You can find this at the peruse release for now..

Due to the above incompatability, you cannot create a webId at an existing publicName (as created in the WHM for eg.)


New Issues

We will appreciate if you can report any issues you encounter with the applications directly on github:

  • Issues for WebID Manager app please report them here
  • If the issue is related to Patter app, please report them here
  • Otherwise, if the issue seems to be with the Peruse browser please report it here and make sure you mention it’s about the WebID-POC version of Peruse

Going Forwards

Also, please use this thread for discussions, help, sharing WebIDs so people can interact with you thru Patter, as well as ideas and feedback you consider nice to share.

We are very happy to be able to share this with all of you, we really hope you like it and help us in this process of understanding how we should evolve our data representations on the network, as well as how identities can benefit users to prevent them from creating dozens of accounts for different applications as it’s needed now on the clearnet.

As mentioned above, this is a simple POC. The APIs are pretty raw (and not so thoroughly tested), and the UI is simplistic at best.

But as it’s a webApp we’re hoping it should be reasonably accessible for web developers to make PRs to improve the functionality for both apps (and we’ll be very excited to receive them!) or anyone could just fork and make their own app using this data on the network :open_mouth: !)

For those interested in this deeper data structure stuff, and some expanded explanation on the new APIs and RDF helpers, we’ll be posting a more in depth technical post on the dev forum next week, as well as providing a bit more documentation in the repos themselves!

Happy Friday :tada:


Creating your WebId on the SAFE Network (Alpha-2)
What can i do on the safe network at the moment?
#2

Wow! Love the name ‘Patter’ by the way! I’ll be playing with this this weekend and will give you a shout once I have a webID to share! Amazing work as always @joshuef, @hunterlester, @bochaco, and everyone @maidsafe involved!!!


#3

OMG, OMG, OMG…

:grinning:

Off to play…

BTW for developers wanting to delve into the technicalities of WebID rather than the SAFE specific implementation and PoC here, there’s a topic over on the Dev forum which includes useful links related to WebID here:


#4

Thanks Nigel. Just some clarification, this was and it is an effort where other people are also involved and not just the three of us.


Web-id-manager-js
#5

Thanks for the clarification Gabriel will edit :slight_smile:


#6

Very, very cool! Now, THIS is the sort of thing that the SAFE structure will cause revolutions in tech with.


#7

I’m having trouble understanding what to enter under

Web ID URI (not editable)

and

Website

It seems to be complaining with “This must be a valid safe:// url” but I can’t seem to satisfy it. Do I first need to create a public name with the new Web Hosting Manager and then refer to it in that? Also a website?

Thanks.


#8

The Web ID URI is where you want your WebID profile document to be stored and located on the network, so you need to provide something like safe://mywebid.mark (note that it will already prefix it with safe:// for you so you don’t need to put that bit in) and it will generate the public name and publish your WebID profile there. The website field is informative and optional, you can put any safe URL there but nothing will be generated there at this point.


#9

Ok, the confusion is it requires a subdomain in both cases, while that is not obvious as that isn’t strictly required for a valid SAFE URI (since www is optional).

For example, it won’t accept safe://plumetest for the website.

So folks make sure your safe:// URI is something like:

webid.mypublicname

and

www.somepublicname

or

blog.anothername


#10

This sounds fantastic. The more I learn about solid and rdf I can’t believe it hasn’t been a standard for a long time. It makes so much sense and would love to see it fully embedded in SAFE (though not as a requirement).

Thank you guys for all your hard work and amazing progress.

I love that you are showing it off in a social network type setting, as that is a perfect example of persona switching being a potential key element. Making it an easy switch is great (no log out, log in, repeat).


#11

Whoa! Nice surprise for a Friday afternoon!

There are entire blockchain projects dedicated to identity management and maidsafe just pop this out on a Friday afternoon! Respect! :rofl:

Will have to have a play!


#12

Oh the irony. This is so true and just shows the power of the safe network as a building platform and not “just data storage”. There are so many teams bending and twisting the clunk of blockchain to fit needs. Safe team does it as a side project in a few weeks.


#13

My wall is safe://profile.wes


#14

I can’t seem to “id me” in Patter. It suggests picking my WebID in the browser so I go to the manager but don’t know how to pick from the many profiles I’ve created. Can anyone help so I can write a bio and comment on others walls?? Friggan cool as hell otherwise! Will be cool to see how, say profile data or posts, is easily transferred between apps.

safe://webid.atnigel

safe://myid.atnotnigel

Guess I’m not seeing the Peruse WebID Switcher on the right side of the address bar. I see the WebID manager to the left but that only allows me to see the list and create new WebID’s. Where I believe it’s supposed to show my ID’s it says “Authorize to display your WebID’s” but the manager is already authorized…


#15

Might be that there was an error grabbing your data in peruse.

Try restarting the browser ,and when you log in it should request auth and then when you click the profile icon on the left of the address bar it should load your webids into the dropdown after a second,so you can then choose one.


#16

#17

I actually did try that but perhaps I didn’t wait long enough to see if the WebID’s would load. I’ll give it another shot! Thanks @joshuef


#18

Keep the surprises coming.

ID Management - killer app.

Pitter-Patter, let’s get 'atter. (let’s get going)

We’ll done team @maidsafe


#19

Yup, one thing missing is some loading indication for the apps (only webIdMgr has anything atm).

PRs welcome to this end :wink:

Let me know how you get on @Nigel.

If it’s still not working, try loading the browser with the --debug flag set to see the peruse dev-tools and see if there’s anything specific going wrong.


#20

josh.savage1

Took a bit of head scratching but I got there in the end :smile: @nigel check your wall.

I was silently hoping for this to be released in time for the decentralized web summit and team maidsafe deliver again!!