Standards for linking to SAFE on the current WWW

I’ve tagged this as marketing but it can also be a more technical discussion.

Was just thinking that one of our biggest obstacles is also one of our biggest opportunities.

And that is channeling current web traffic from the clear net to the SAFENET via links.

When I say links I mean them how you know them in articles, on blogs, in social media posts, tweets, videos and so on.

Currently we receive a pretty unfriendly error message when clicking on a SAFENET link in our browsers but what if there was a way where either that appeared a little bit friendlier and actually told the user what to do e.g. you currently don’t have access to view the SAFENET click here to download the browser (or the extension it whatever) or if that’s not feasible what if we standardized our linking behavior and every time we post a link to a SAFENET site, app or resource we posted along with it the download or extension link.

If we can come up with a solution to this it would make spreading Safe about a hundred times easier as we will be able to drop those links in the same way we do currently.

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The OS needs to have a protocol handler configured for the safe:// protocol. This can be done when the SAFE browser installs, but AFAIK it isn’t possible to make the link redirect to the SAFE browser download site if the safe:// protocol isn’t registered yet.

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I’m thinking there could be a website which offers the creation of tiny/short URL’s (from a safe URL) taking you to such a webpage explaining that if the safesite is not opened in the SAFE browser is due to the fact that you need to download and run the SAFE browser at least once. Just an idea that could work out well.

Or even fancier than a tiny/short URL, if such a website owns a domain like safe it could offer you to redirect http://mysafesite.nice.safe to safe://mysafesite.nice on the SAFE browser.

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Brilliant idea. Could we even do it as a plug in for common browsers so when we’re linking it picks up on address to safe and rewrites the URL which takes you to a blanket advisory pages but with all the bells and whistles to achieve a high click through?

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This could also be combined with a proxy server approach. The proxy server would read from Safe Net and output to the clear web browser. Obviously, this may limit some functionality (as it is always the same proxy ‘user’), but public content could be retrieved in this way easily enough.

e.g. http://safeproxy.io/mysite/mypath.html -> safe://mysite/mypath.html

Ofc, there would be a cost in hosting the proxy server. In clear net tradition, I suppose using adverts would be common, but it could also be funded by the Safe Foundation or some such if it was beneficial to the growth of Safe Net. However, it could be considered bad for the network, if it discouraged native use. There may be some sort of balance needed here.

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I was thinking of something similar but just offering a preview snapshot kind of like web archive does.

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Having working links has benefits for SEO, as it will mean there is a presence on both clear and safe nets, without having to have 2 sites. I suspect someone will create a proxy site anyway, as there are advantages from this single hosted site approach. The proxy would also need to rewrite safe URLs to the proxy format URLs to make it work well.

I think there is a wee business model for someone to implement here. I suppose it just depends on whether having some guidance/support from Maidsafe in some way would help common goals be reached. Diverging concepts/standards is best avoided if easily agreed upon.

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It seems to me that there should be a way to make it totally transparent… no error message etc.
In fact, I think this is essential.
Click on a safenet link and have a safenet object (URL) returned.
To make the magic happen, clicking on the link probably means connecting to a service … but that’s not so difficult …

It’s an interesting proposition, for sure. Would clear net hosting be cheaper/easier if you pay Safe Net and host via a proxy? Would the site still function without Safe Net authentication and authorisation?

I think the discussion about making SOLID apps may dove tail here too (@happybeing). If your SOLID app can choose which JavaScript library to use, depending on the context of the request (clear vs safe), the site may be able to perform complex functionality on either network. Synchronising a SOLID POD to Safe Net should also be possible (one way or another…).

In short, web applications could be designed to fully separate data from presentation to allow cross network support. The SOLID standard is certainly one way of going about that, which may suit. Anyway, I’m probably getting ahead of things here. Simple proxying of static sites doesn’t need such complexity, but it is worth considering.

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We had some discussions along these lines when the URL format was still being debated, and not using safe:// but a TLD such as “.safenet” was being considered as an alternative along with a browser plugin to handle .safenet links.

One of the benefits of the latter is that links to SAFEnetwork would just work in SAFE Browser or a normal browser with a SAFE plugin, but could be made to visit a helpful website (eg to download SAFE Browser) if used in an ordinary browser.

I argued in favour of this at the time I think, because of the leverage this would provide, recognised by @goindeep in his OP, in helping speed the transition to SAFE. Others were rightly concerned about the potential for that central website to be exploited. So this same issue arises if we use a link shortening/redirection approach as @bochaco suggests.

Similar issues come up if people install a plugin or some other method (library) to handle safe: and http: links differently, which is the approach I’m currently prototyping for a SOLID proof of concept as @Traktion noted.

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