What is Solid?
Beyond code, applications, servers, software and protocols there lie You and Your data. Solid takes care of both. It is an ecosystem enabling personal data ownership and working on behalf of the user.
Your thinking and your code should be about things: people, events, relationships.
Cit. @timbl on Solid chat
Each and every interaction and action of ours on the Web leaves digital footprints, scattered across platforms, systems and websites online. It is time these footprints become our own, personal archives. Archives and knowledge we can take care of, curate and share at our own pace and will.
We need to take ownership of our digital belongings and the data around us. And we need to be able to do whatever we want with that data and to link anything to anything without restrictions that are beyond our control.
How Does Solid Work?
The ecosystem of Solid works very much like the Web. It is built of links and anything can be linked with anything. Actually, Solid is a layer of the Web itself, a grid within the Web, formed of something called Linked Data.
Stripped of technicalities, Linked data is a powerful technology that enables us to link, use and share our digital belongings while at the same time being fully in charge of every piece of data with put on the web. Bloomberg do it (https://en.linkeddata.center/), the government of the United States does it (https://catalog.data.gov/dataset). BBC do it, the library of Sweden recently became the first national library to fully transition to linked data, why would’t we we, as individuals, do it?
To get acquainted with the concept in less than 3 minutes, check Manu Sporny’s video What is Linked Data?
Bringing back the power of our own data to us is exciting. But we must mind the gap between the vision and the current state of Solid. Solid is a road assembling itself on the go and and increasing number of developers across the world are collaborating to make things work.
The vision is to get myriads of “small pieces, loosely joined” and make them travel freely across the Web. Meaning, whatever we do - like, share, give access to, reuse or modify a photo for example, the data around these interactions will be a. Interoperable b. Stored in our own place.
Image from @RubenVerborgh’s slides here https://rubenverborgh.github.io/Solid-DeSemWeb-2018/#title
Getting to that vision is a long road ahead. There is a lot of future work on building, testing, trying, debugging, coding and whatever we can and more often cannot imagine a developer is doing. And it is a work in progress.
By then we can just enjoy the beauty of the supporting creativity and building apps over a solid platform that will bring back our digital belongings and the interactions related to them to ask the web of people.
We can also tinker with the platform: [LINKS TO BE INSERTED]
Get a WebId.
Put your picture.
Create a folder
Change the privacy setting of a resource
Wrangle the rough edges of the data browser
All in all, get acquainted with the fragmented, under the hood part, of a integrated-to-be construct that will save us from the tyranny of centralization and give us the power to own our digital selves.