Next Steps: Planning and Making
A personal note:
The enthusiastic response to the SamizdApp Project has been incredible. Thank you for being here.
As we ramp up our efforts, I want to provide some context about where the project is, some of our immediate priorities, and how you can help (even if you’re not a software developer).
TL;DR: We’re walking and chewing gum at the same time. If this is the first you’re hearing of The SamizdApp Project, read our manifesto to get your bearings. If you want to help with tech, go here. If you know of relevant projects that we should pay attention to, go here.
Broadly speaking, we have two immediate priorities: planning and making. Contribution to the making currently requires significant technical expertise, but will soon benefit from the engagement of any passionate participant. Contribution to the planning is open to anyone with the desire to participate, right now.
A project as ambitious as SamizdApp requires synthesis and harmony between several layers of abstraction: From ones and zeroes encoded in cables and WiFi, to business models and social mores that render adoption and development worthwhile.
While we are sure that some technical problems are near universal, we are equally confident that there are a multitude of relevant innovations that we don’t know about yet.
We have neither the desire nor the time to reinvent wheels for the sake of perfectionism. Our need is too urgent to wait for a universal system built from whole cloth.
We need to find building blocks that we can assemble into a functional whole.
We need your help to find them.
In response to our manifesto and RFC, many have contributed suggestions of existing technology that may be a good fit for the project, but we know we've still only scratched the surface of what’s out there.
We’ve set up a technology review survey to collect suggestions for everything from the operating system to the application. You can submit as many suggestions as you want.
We need you to help us research what opportunities are available. We need your help to find solutions to problems we don’t know we have. We need you to help us find the diamonds in the rough.
You don’t need to be a coder to help with the technology review. You only need think about what you hope this project can accomplish, look for work that’s relevant to that hope, and tell us about it.
Any project of this nature quickly runs into a suite of technical barriers to entry that make it hard for the average person to participate. Regardless of which protocols and apps we ultimately settle on, there are various flavors of digital overhead that we know we’re going to face.
Since we know to a virtual certainty that these problems will need to be solved, we can dedicate our immediate development efforts towards them in parallel to our evaluations of other parts of the system.
Our north star is, in essence, to create “the plug and play experience.” We need to take the grunt work out of first class participation in decentralized platforms. We need to ensure that nodes in the network can talk to each other, and that owners can access their node as easily as they now visit a website.
To that end, we can sketch out some basic milestones:
Pure R&D (we are here). Setup is still highly manual and protocols are in flux. Participation requires digging into code and help from the people that wrote it.
Development Environment. Setup is manual, but well documented enough that a developer can run their own local node with minimal help.
Development Network. Setup is manual. Developer nodes can communicate with each other to experiment with complex functionality.
Alpha Network. Setup is lengthy, but requires patience more than technical ability. Nodes receive bleeding edge updates and are expected to be buggy.
Beta Network: Setup is as minimal, but still requires following some esoteric instructions. Nodes receive updates that are expected to be functional with rough edges.
Participant Network: Setup is encapsulated within an app. Nodes receive updates that have been well tested and are expected to be fully functional.
Before moving on, we should note two things. First, the roadmap above is subject to change and improvement. Second, these milestones are compounding… The deployment of the Alpha Network does not render the Development Network defunct. Rather, each further step of maturity becomes a recipient of the results of the last.
Milestones 0-2 will require technical experience for participation. If you have that experience and want to help, please answer the call for collaborators and we’ll get in touch. Milestones 3-5 will be more accessible, but don’t exist yet. To be the first to know when we reach those phases, subscribe to this newsletter.