SAFE Network Dev Update - July 25, 2019

Summary

Here are some of the main things to highlight this week:

Marketing

Happy Thursday folks! This week, we’ve been working on plans for this year’s event. Although we shared the idea of a hackathon a wee while ago, we’re keen to ensure that any event appeals to more than just developers, so that we don’t alienate those who are interested in SAFE but are not as tech-savvy. And replicating what we did last year in regards to the DevCon didn’t feel like the right move either.

So after much discussion, we came to the idea of a Summit-esque event in London, with guest speakers, a ‘build a dapp’ section and of course, the obligatory beers and pizzas. This, we thought would cater to everyone’s interests.

After scoping out the structure for the day, and working through costs and logistics for such an event we suddenly had a thought: Why does this need to be in a physical location? So we decided, instead, to host an Online Summit! With the community spread across the globe, this means everyone can join from the comfort of their own home without worrying about travelling. The set up will be fairly similar to the day we had originally planned - us presenting our latest work, an external speaker or two and we may (hint hint! :wink:) look to the community for a little extra help … stay tuned!

We’ll be announcing dates, schedules and how to be part of the day all in due course (but keep the week commencing the 11th November free). We hope you agree this will be a fantastic setup and we can’t wait to share more info!

We also published the third in the series of ‘Spotlight On’ which aims to go a little deeper into the ideology behind the Front End themes of Perpetual Web, Take Control of Your Data and the latest theme, Private Communications.

Private Communications is one of the most discussed network features by you and with good reason. Every day we hear stories of private conversations being exposed. We must be allowed to live in a world where we can communicate privately. And we’re on our way to making that happen. Go have a read, give us a clap or two on Medium or read the post here in the forum and share with your friends and family. This kind of content is perfect for those not so familiar with the SAFE Network as it fundamentally explains why we’re doing what we’re doing.

User Experience

Work on the Perpetual Web milestone continues at pace, with work concentrated on a smooth site creation and publishing flow in the Browser, and related modular apps such as the Data Manager.

As a nice wee bonus, we’ve also whipped together a YouTube video highlighting the radical nature of the Perpetual Web, the Future of History. It’s the first of (hopefully) many aimed at people new to the Network, so feel free to share far and wide.

Also, UX Designer @jimcollinson had a great conversation with @fergish this week over on the SAFE Crossroads Podcast. Well worth a listen for a deeper insight into the developing UX of the Network.

SAFE CLI

Project plan

This last week we’ve been improving the implementation of the Name Resolution System within the CLI, with the addition of subnames. Essentially allowing safe://something.about.thenetwork to resolve, as well as declaring default behaviour for each public name. So, safe://thenetwork may by default resolve to the same data as safe://something.about.thenetwork, while another URL safe://anotherthing.about.thenetwork may also exist and point to another piece of data when the full URL is provided.

Alongside this we’ve also been making some tweaks to the command line interface itself, regarding how keys are handled, with the XorUrl generation (which now segments out content types vs. the safe data types), and with some help from the wonderful QA team, we’ve also been streamlining the CI process and PR process to automate some code quality checks.

We were also able to add some additional features to the CLI, like the case of being able to choose which port the authorisation request shall be sent to (with $ safe auth --port <port number>), and the ability to do a --dry-run for any of the operations supported by the files put and files sync commands, which will help users in understanding what a command would do before effectively applying the changes and spending the coins required for it. We will be extending the support for --dry-run to other commands progressively.

SAFE Mobile Browser

We are excited to announce that this week we released the first POC for the SAFE Mobile Browser! If you haven’t already tried the app, check out this forum post which has all the info you need to download and try it out for yourself. This is just the beginning of web browsing experience on mobile and we have a long way ahead. Read the Medium post to know more about the future plans we have for mobile browser and of course give us a clap.

New data types in SAFE Client Libs

Project plan

We have been getting closer and closer to the completion of an important milestone in the project of bringing new data types to the SAFE Client Libs internals, providing a proof-of-concept for the two corresponding RFCs (which are both in the final comment period now). One of the main components of the library, Authenticator, which deals with apps registration and permissions, has been using the data types available only in the older (Alpha 2) version of the network. This has effectively obliged us to maintain two versions of the mock network implementation in Client Libs, supporting both old and new data types.

During the last couple of weeks, @lionel.faber and @yogesh have been working on replacing the internals of SAFE Authenticator to use only the new data types (including the new login packet type and changed account flow). This involved quite a lot of work because the Authenticator is not a small library by any means: there are lots of complex internal functions hiding beneath the simple API. The account flow change has been completed and merged now. The rest of the required changes upgrading the Mutable Data use in Client Libs are in progress now and a PR will be raised and reviewed during the next few days.

In addition to that, @marcin completed a refactor of the process_request function in Mock Vault. The main purpose of this change was to not return errors from this function in the usual fashion but to instead encapsulate them in the proper Response variant corresponding to the given Request before returning. The exception is if the Request could not be deserialised, in which case the only option is to return a standard error from this function (which we now handle properly at the call site, instead of using unwrap! which could panic). The refactor also added missing checks for mismatches between a requested mutable data address and the received data – so if we requested a Seq data but received Unseq, or if the retrieved data’s address otherwise does not match what was requested, an error response will be returned. Finally, this change reworked some parts of the function to make it simpler and easier to read. This refactor depends on several PRs raised to safe-nd which are currently under review: #78, #79, #80, and #83. These changes themselves are improvements on the safe-nd library and its API.

Vaults

Project plan

The critical tasks for phase one are now complete and all that remains are some relatively small tasks which will clean things up a bit and others which will help lay the ground for upcoming phases.

Next step is to see the results of running the SAFE Client Libs test suite against an instance of the new vault. We’re expecting to see a few failures there - there are bound to be a few discrepancies between what vaults have implemented and what the client code expects vaults to have implemented. But such issues are probably (hopefully!) going to be trivial to resolve.

Most of the devs who have been working on vaults have now migrated to SAFE Client Libs to help get the refactoring done which will allow us to run the tests against a vault. We have set up a new project plan for this and started outlining the tasks required for completion of this project.

Secure Message Delivery

Project plan

With the initial cards of the SMD project merged, we were able to start concurrent items on this project.

Recent work completed was to send out an acknowledgement on consensus of a section elders membership. In future work, a section will use that acknowledgement message to decide what proof to send with its following messages to the section that sent the acknowledgement. We are also updating our list of sending section’s public key so that we can verify and trust their future message.

BLS cryptography

Project plan

This week, we completed our work on the Parsec side of things. After the last feature item, we carried out some cleanup and additional testing works. In particular, we tested that the Parsec behaviour is correct for events coming during, or after, the BLS key generation. Finally, we ensured we could dump and reload of the key generation state within tests.

With this part complete, we will pause further development on it, as we want to first progress further the Secure Message Delivery to allow for a smooth integration.

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First!!!

Edit: Wooooo! Now editing spelling mistakes.

Been a while.

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Second

…lets read how closer we are to Fleming :slight_smile:

The video is perfect!

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Do check out the video, it will make you proud to be part of this.

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Just winding down with the podcast (very good so far gents :+1: ) and a cold beer. Will read the update in a mo.

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Amazing update as usual! Such great news all around and the SAFE Mobile Browser was a welcome addition and I can’t tell you how stoked I am for an iOS version, hopefully it’s not too much of a road block as Apple are so damn strict.

About to listen to the podcast :slightly_smiling_face:

I have to say though, that pWeb video… :heart_eyes: @JimCollinson keep making those man, you’ve got a knack for all these concepts, visual, auditory things. The music and message were spot on. My only complaint, as usual, is the sound quality of the mic used to overdub. But it didn’t make it fall flat or anything just would have brought it up one extra notch. Absolutely amazed. Really proud of everything you all @maidsafe do.

@joshuef NRS is far more fitting :grin: and man people are gonna be stoked when they can visit sites with such pretty sub names. That alone is another topic for how this new internet has evolved.

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The continued progress is stunning. Absolutely love the new video. Very emotive, intriguing and well put together. Keep up the great work, all.

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Slow and steady wins the race…
But fast and steady wins it sooner!
Gooooo Maidsafe! You‘re building some
Awesome momentum here :ghost::pray::partying_face:

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These updates are starting to feel like Christmas every Thursday :gift: :slight_smile:

I especially appreciate the effort to open up the Online Summit to all facets of the community, not simply focused on developers (though I realize that will be a core component).

I also really like the video. A lot of crypto videos feel like watching The Matrix on a hallucingen, but this video seems … human. And very much in line with the SAFE Network’s ethos. Love that horn at the end as well …

Many thanks as always. Looking forward to Flemming of course, but also just enjoying watching the process of this coming together, bit by bit.

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Oh yes! Glad @dlux brought that up. I’m also looking forward to the Online Summit, perhaps Nick and I could join.

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I know… oh the shame! That was actually the guide voice over I used to assemble the edit, quickly recorded with an elcheapo lav mic.

I was all set to track the real version of the voice over yesterday, and a managed to borrow a lovely Neumann condenser mic to do it. Then I had an audio interface meltdown. :tired_face::sob:

I sank half a day trying to fix it before I had to throw in the towel and try to salvage something from the guide.

I promise to improve the situation for the next one… I’m sniping a new interface on eBay as we speak :joy:

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@maidsafe, you are killing it! Another hit of great news and the sense of momentum is palpable! :sunglasses:

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Totally understandable and I can relate :joy:

If you happen to redo the audio on this one it might be worth reuploading to the Maidsafe YouTube since it’s so new. This is basically like an ad for a new internet and nothing quite like this has been produced by Maidsafe yet, maybe aside from the Internet should not be blockchain based and Safecoin video but those also don’t have the updated branding themes of the .tech site so, consider it? Super shareable vid, just sayin :slightly_smiling_face:

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I, too, forgot to chime in about the proposed Online Summit. I think it’s a phenomenal idea. Live streaming is an excellent and hugely effective way of engaging your audience. Would also be great, if when resources are finally freed up, we could do one on a weekly basis as a way to increase dialogue, exposure and adoption.

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After all my nagging, I feel like this is being done as a personal favor to me. :slight_smile: Cheers!

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Thanks so much to the whole team for all of your hard work! :grinning::grinning::grinning::grinning::grinning:

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I like the idea of doing an online event so I can realistically attend… The only disadvantage I see is we will miss out on the “mingling.” When I go to crypto events I am looking forward to the official speakers… but almost just as much look forward to talking to other random people that just showed up like me and get the word on the street. I think this could be implemented online if we just had a discord group or something going in parallel so folks could just chat with each other instead of being 100% focused on the official events of the day.

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Great idea, so long as you choose Eastern Time for scheduling! :grin:

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I especially appreciate the effort to open up the Online Summit to all facets of the community, not simply focused on developers (though I realize that will be a core component).

Yeah absolutely, the community is made up of so many individuals so it would seem a shame to exclude a good percentage. This also gives us the opportunity to discuss a wide range of topics so there should be something in there for everyone!

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Haha oh yes that’ll be fun working out what time zone to host it in!

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