Changes to Solid 'data browser'

Is anyone working on redesigning the data browser portion of the Solid pod? Is this a project at Inrupt? Does it pertain to the open source side of Solid or Inrupt’s technology?

This would be something really cool I would be interested in working on; just seeing if this conversation already exists in some form.


I’m also really interested in a better UI/UX for the data browser. Thanks for creating this thread, I’ll be sure to follow along and learn how I can help


No problem. I think the platform is really interesting conceptually, but the user experience component could take its potential to a whole other level.


Great question. There’s quite a bit of work being performed right now on the overall user experience on behalf of the open source solid community, including dashboard (when you’re logged into your pod), homepage (when someone comes to your pod via browser), and data browser / panes. We’re also taking a lot of the core elements (ux components used across apps) and incorporating them into developer kits so that others can quickly build apps that leverage these components.

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Cool, excited to see that! Well, if you need any help on the UX side of the main data browser, I think that’d be something really interesting to look into.

There is an attempt to capture the vision of the data browser in the mashlib readme

  • The data browser should be a complete web-based operating system for any new computer or data store.
  • You should be able to set the data browser up for any existing folders you have full of things like photos and music, and it should let you listen to them, look at them, and share them very flexibly with anyone in the world.
  • The data browser should be modular, loading new code modules in real time as a function of a user’s preferences for handling different types of data with different new data browser applets, be it finance, fitness, or fishing.
  • The data browser should allow people to create, bit by bit, a web of social linked data of their work and their play, and their lives.

This is a project I’m personally quite invested in as I use it for a lot of my life. When i need apps in a new area I tend to make a new pane, so that it can connect to all the other panes already made. Exciting that others are interested in taking it to a new level. Its an open source project that MIT and later Inrupt have put a certain amount of effort into. Very interested to discuss here various directions for it to go.

One direction is fixing bugs, make the existing UI more consistent, adding other ways of doing things you can only do with drag and drop.

Another direction is breaking the repo into a repo per pane, so we can manage issues for them

Another direction may be looking at a complete parallel re-implementation of it aimed at mobile first.


Hey all,
I’m really excited about solid and especially the data browser. I’m currently planning my Bachelor Thesis Project in Interaction Design ( studying in germany) and currently thinking about designing the UX and UI for a data browser and open source it. Would love to help to develop the solid platform further.

Do you think this kind of project would be helpful?


@sergejspomer Great to hear that solid has inspired you and would love to see your ideas come to life. Let me know how I can support you. This is a good place to share your ideas, get feedback, and see who else is working on similar themes

Some of this might be a little over my head; but, toward the end of my working on this music app of mine–which is entirely modular, I got rather burned out and went meta on the whole thing–adapting some of it to a front-end OS (mostly out of frustration haha).

Point is, I have a good deal of code, and coding experience, that relates to the front-end user experience for a modular platform and would be happy to see what I could do about taking the data side and making it comfortable for the user.

I think that, for some people, it might be a rather bizarre transition–coming from a “single ux” design–and I’d love to offer my help in making that smoother and easier for people.

Most of my experience is with js, and the modular design coming from a music platform; but, I think this might be useful in coming up with mockups or other prototypes.

Anyways, please don’t hesitate to ask if you think any of this might useful :).

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I think it would be useful and fascinating at the same time. One of the big opportunities, and challenges, will be to come up with different models of user interaction in this very different ecosystem. It’s such a different way of working, with possibilities never imagined before. I think this is an exciting area, and some deep thinking and exploration will be an important part of it, so I think your proposal very appropriate at this stage.

I’m just starting on the project but I’m happy to hear that this is something that could help community. I’m very excited about this project and open a thread as soon as I have something to share to get some feedback and ideas.

Thank you very much!

It’s really awesome to see other people engaged in this type of thinking! The web is extremely powerful and while its original ‘framework’ opened new avenues for creativity and connection, we are now at a place where there is a tremendous lack of coherence, despite so many new strides being made every single day.

As a developer-turned-designer, I would definitely love to explore this ‘front-end OS’ part of Solid. Operating systems in general have been a big interest for me, so for whoever in this thread might be interested in working together on this, please get in touch!! @perplexicon @sergejspomer

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What would you think of approaching this idea as a browser, whose homepage is this ‘web-based operating system’, that becomes not only the user’s home base but also their gateway to accessing web content from other users(websites, etc…)?


Hey dylan,

Glad that this is of interest to you. I’d be happy to talk about it more in-depth, and possibly do some kind of work that contributes to this–although my main focus is this music platform at the moment.

I see your point about the coherence and, while I think that it can come off largely as a disadvantage as face-value, I think that in general it’s one of the better qualities in the sense that two people can make the exact same thing from different parts of the world and not know about it or even be aware that it was conceived of elsewhere–adds to a lot of diversity but also potential doors for collaboration.

As for the OS part of it…I only briefly went down that road toward the end, and didn’t get a ton of work done in that department in all honesty; but, I will say that it wasn’t as hard as I thought it might be (making a ridiculously rudimentary stack and garbage mechanism). My main thought on it was that it would, or should, be written in these front-end languages–both because html is just really a super badass and versatile text document (easy to work with various file types) and, if coded correctly, actually makes the issue of readability of code–especially with open source stuff–way, way easier.

Anyways, feel free to pm me if you want to talk more about it. Glad this interests you though :).

Yeah, definitely.
I’ll pm you.

I just wrote up a use case I developed 3 years ago for an EU project in a blog post “The Hyper Music Browser

Cool, I’ll check it out

Hey all,

for my bachelor thesis project on a concept for a solid data browser. I’m currently doing some user research and created a survey to get some data about usage of digital products.
It would really help me if you could fill out the survey and maybe even give me some feedback on it.

I’m also very thankful for any resources and ideas. If you think it might be useful feel free to post it below.

Feel free to share the link, the more people participate the better

Thank you so much!