Solid Social - decentralised social network using Linked Data / SOLID

I’ve been getting to know Tim Berners-Lee’s Project SOLID through their gitter and talking to Melvin Carvalho who is also working with the guys (and with Sir Tim :wink:). Melvin met @dirvine a while back but is not up to speed on SAFE… yet :slight_smile:

He just showed me this early demo of a decentralised social network which used SOLID and Linked Data to store the user’s data in their own cloud (on SOLID servers). The project is paused but… wow!


Update: I’ve been getting to know the Solid project, apps and libraries with help from the team. Now I’m going to put together a proof of concept based on modifying their code to work with SAFEnetwork.

It’s rather cool to say the least to ask for help understanding Solid and their code, then be answered by the man who invented the Web, and to have the chance to answer his questions about SAFE!

The two projects are different in certain respects (mostly because Solid builds on existing Web protocols) but their aims and application are remarkably similar, so I encourage others to take a look at this project. Especially app developers @JPL @nice @Joseph_Meagher and others!

Why? Because se we can learn from what they’re doing and vice versa (they have several working apps which already follow the principles of users owning their own data, cross Web/service identity / verification / signing, client side etc). I think it should be possible to write apps that support both projects too, so maybe you can have your app running with Solid as well as in SAFE. Even if not, I think using and building on their standards for data will be valuable for SAFEnetwork and our users.

To start I’m going to extend one of their libraries to talk to SAFEnetwork and enable Solid apps to use it like Solid server. This will give the Solid community an opportunity to try SAFEnetwork out with their own code, and for this community to try out Solid applications and understand their ideas for a decentralised, user oriented Web, without centralised data silos etc.

They have only a small team but have been working Solidly, ahem :wink: for a long time, and there is of course a larger community around them. And many organisations and institutions are already implementing their standards (RDF/Linked Data, Semantic descriptions), including the UK government. There are some very cool demos to play with, but I’ve mostly been buried looking in their code so far.

I think we can learn a lot from them while supporting and enhancing the open standards they are developing, and I hope they can benefit from the work we are doing here too :slight_smile:. I’m very excited about this and hope others from this community will join me in learning about Solid and maybe working with their ideas, apps and code.


@Viv @ustulation @Krishna_Kumar @bochaco @nbaksalyar^^^ guys shout the rest of the guys this is the kind of thing that can make a project and allow us to short circuit some design of the client parts as well as provide SOLID with some incredible options.

Mark, yer a star, I am not sure how much of this everyone will understand, suffice to say this is a boost of energy for us all. Brilliant work.


This is top news! I’d have been star struck! Thanks for including me in the shout-out but I’m a tinkerer not a developer. As this post won’t appear on the home page you should maybe also include @oetyng @draw @whiteoutmashups @drehb @folaht @Josh @davidpbrown @stark @mav @luandro @Mindphreaker and others who do have talents in this area (sorry if I missed anyone out).

Edit: here’s the github link


I’ve been thinking along the same lines, and even talked about it with @19eddyjohn75.


Sounds like what we’re aiming for!

“Developers will be able to easily innovate by creating new apps or improving current apps, all while reusing existing data that was created by other apps.”


I made a topic on the developer forum to give this greater visibility to developers. I suggest we use the following for technical discussions:


Thought I’d just add this as its a key point of compatibility, from the man himself:

@timbl responding to my questions about Solid libs and apps:
"The databrowser apps are stored on the server a the beginning of the day, but they are client side apps. All the code runs on the client. Server as @melvincarvalho says is as dumb as possible but no dumber. IE the solid world grows from new client-side app code, not new server-side code in the medium-long term. "

This, and the nature of the Solid server API should make it reasonably straightforward to get at least proof of concept working for Solid apps with SAFEnetwork. BIG :slight_smile:


This is about the very best thing they could have told us. Exciting? yes I think so :sun_with_face: :sun_with_face: :sun_with_face: :sun_with_face: :sun_with_face:


Yes, it is still dawning on me how similar the two projects are, and why that is - because the goals necessitate this shift in function and form. :slight_smile:

EDIT: I’m wondering if it might be worth reviewing the SAFE APIs with respect to the Solid client/server API - it is simple, but I’m expecting some subtle issues when I get into it and we find some difficulties that need to be overcome (maybe around handling of containers, meta data, versioning - I don’t know yet, but all could spring a few traps). I’ll flag up what I find anyway, so ok to wait for that of course.


100% it is, its too good an opportunity to miss and the more eyes the better


Any idea how big their community is?

At this stage no idea at all, but I think it’s probably not just about community but reach. Obviously TBL can open lots of doors, and has a lot of contacts across the world, and has been working on this project for 25 years.

Aside : so David and MaidSafe are supersonic at a mere eleven :wink:. Next time somebody says they’ve taken too long, we can just refer them to Tim and Solid :laughing:

What’s interesting is that this has been going on so long that it has probably gone beyond what you could call community, or even a following. So it is hard to quantify, and something that will take time to appreciate. I certainly don’t yet - I’ve only scratched the surface, but Tim can point me to the UK land registry as an example of people using Linked Data, headed up by so and so who used to be the head of blimey I’m impressed (I can dig out the details there when I’m at my PC :slight_smile:)

It’ll be a while before I get a handle on this other than to say I think it is both an important project technically, and that it would be something mutually beneficial, including in ways that we probably won’t appreciate until they happen, as well as in the obvious ways. I’m hopeful that Tim will find David and MaidSafe’s ideas and achievements as valuable and useful as his own, so that each project can amplify the impact of the other.


Blimey… @happybeing


Well spotted that man! :slight_smile:

One day I’ll get to meet the man creating the next Internet I hope!


I wrote a bit about meeting Sir Tim Berners-Lee here: