What is exactly Solid?


#1

I have been creating applications and managing teams for 25 years using the multitier architecture (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multitier_architecture) and so do 95% of developers in the world who are not working in universities. So I am very surprised by some content of the Solid project :
Solid is definitely a tool of the persistence layer, it is document oriented and provides sharing services.
And that’s it.
So I don’t understand why do the Solid project provides a style guide which is a part of the UI. In the same way I think the React SDK or the Yeoman Angular generator should not be in the Solid project. Or be there as samples only.
On the contrary it misses a free user oriented application allowing each Pod owner to manage it’s data, accesses and authorizations. This app should be in the Google, Apple and Microsoft stores, this is today the starting point of everything.
I would also like developers of my smartphone gallery give me the choices : Storage : local / Google Photos / Solid.
I would like my smartphone file manager gives me the choices : Storage : local / Google Drive / Solid.
I am afraid Solid is smart people working in universities oriented as the future is in the hands of young people creating smartphone apps and wanting to code using easy to understand rules.


#2

At it’s core Solid is a set of open specifications. Right now a lot of this is about persistence and representation of resources, but identity, authentication and authorization are also vital parts.

Some of these standards have been implemented into servers and tools, such as node-solid-server that implements a Solid server in Node, and rdflib.js that allows you to manipulate RDF programmatically.

In addition to this there is work done on supporting tools, such as Solid React SDK that is created to allow developers to more easily get into developing apps with Solid. As part of this is the style guide that can be reused by others not wanting to use the React parts.

So you see, Solid React SDK and the style guide are not cornerstones of Solid, but simply supporting tools that makes it easier for developers to get into Solid technologies.


#3

To note: Solid can also be seen as a movement, where people work together to break data free from the control of data siloes. There are other thing people work for, as there are many facets to this movement, and as many opinions as there are members.

But I at least think data control and giving people choices (as you say, to choose which storage you want to use) are amongst the top priorities of this movement.


#4

All of this is right. It shows Solid as a kind of island where you can find everything needed to develop applications, including people ready to help you.
But on this island there is a very few developers, no real applications and no users. And this will not change : Software editors will not create applications where there is no user and users will not go where there is no application. Usual problem but this will make you die.
I think the way to reach your goals is not to build this island and wait people join you but go to small/medium software editors and offer them a new, free, simple, efficient and privacy respectful document persistence layer. This already exists, there is only the need of a packaging and marketing operation. Maybe your main evangelist could help …


#5

This is a community forum for the Solid project, it is a place to learn about Solid, to introduce yourself to the group, among other thing, to share your ideas with a dedicated group of individuals and companies that want to focus on, and collaborate with others in support of the project. Please have some respect for those that take the time to answer your questions. The developers like @Megoth, who take the time away from the code and focus on answering questions for someone who is new to the forum should be a welcoming sign to you. I am sorry you feel the way you do however, please keep your conversation in conformity with our community guidelines. https://forum.solidproject.org/guidelines


#6

Gee, seems to me I remember people saying almost those same words – “no developers, no users, no applications” – about the web, HTML, JavaScript, CSS, Linux, open source, and most of the rest of technologies that did not exist thirty years ago and are now used by half the planet. I had to fight my boss’s boss to create our first website who thought it was silly to build something for an eco-system which didn’t yet exist. The status quo can never be challenged by more status quo, it can only be challenged by a new vision.


#7

If it is built Right they will come. Just needs a few little victories :wink:


#8

Continuing the discussion from What is exactly Solid?:

First I apologise if my words were a little bit rough, I did not intend to do so. I am French and my English may not exactly tell what I want to mean.
I have been a developer for years and then managed a team, make sure I have an immense respect for people working hard.
I also fully agree on the need of an evolution of the Internet that was stolen by some companies.
I am just wondering about the way to react. Solid is definitely the good idea but how to implement it ?
As an answer to @jeffz: In the beginning we were inventors and we promoted something quite new. Today we are competitors and the only advantage of Solid is about privacy as most of people don’t care about this. So if we want Solid to expand we must go to the market, not only wait it comes to us as it did 25 years ago.
And you cannot do so without some tools. Here is a draft list, as a work - I hope - in progress:

  • A Solid Server that non only works but is fault tolerant, stress test proof, documented about crash recovery. And all this must be proven, in some cases test cases furnished so that they can be verified.
  • A web site for end users where some words such as “linked data”, node.js or npm should be banned. This web site should also contain a download section with …
  • … the Solid Server installation packages for Windows, IOS and Unix, one click to download, one click to install. The package must include an admin console. Tomcat as a good example.
  • Solid Drive, a Solid Server browser, for Android, IOS and Windows, as well as a web release for X clients. Applications available in their respective platform stores. Google Drive as a good example.
  • Marketing strategies. Examples : Identify existing applications that will gain advantage in using Solid as a persistence layer, evangelise their editors, same thing for web providers so that they include Solid in their standard packages as they do with CMS or e-stores apps, …
  • Provide consulting and assistance contracts. JBoss as a good example.
    May be not everything is mandatory, maybe not everything in the beginning.
    This is a big work. But I think Solid Server certification and packaging, Solid Server clients and marketing tasks are easier to do than developing the server itself and so resources easier to find.
    Of course I am candidate for participating.

#9

Marketing and ‘productising’ Solid to make it suitable for non-geek consumption is what Inrupt was set up to do. Just how they plan to do this remains to be seen. For the monent they are being tight lipped about that.

For now, Bruce and Berners-Lee aren’t prepared to say much about how Inrupt plans to make money, save for that the company will provide products and services for businesses and individual users who want to implement Solid.

I’m sure no-one believes it will be an easy task, but the points you mention are at least starting to be addressed.


#10

You indicated that solid needs a website for its end users, are you suggesting a community website for pod owners that provide consulting and assistance contracts, pod maintenance agreement, or pod servicer agreement for medium to small business and individuals? or are you suggesting that each pod provider provide those services to their end users or should there be freelancers that offer this to pod owners regardless of who the pod provider is?

I think it would be great to see some businesses spring up that do solid pod customization and servicing for those interested in having custom features added to their solid pod. Like in the early years when website developers started signing up their customers with facebook and twitter to get their company connected to social media as well as building a website.


#11

Currently, pod providers like inrupt offer solid pods, and/or you can get a Solid Pod on solid.community. It would be great to see a solid.inrupt.community website for the Solid Pod user to obtain information, services, and support that the pod providers are not currently offering. This would also be an ancillary support to pod providers like inrupt and solid.community who, may not necessarily be equipped to handle or offer pod setup, customization, and collaboration efforts. The website should be a welcoming sign to users of both solid and inrupt community pod owners. I see nothing wrong with creating a solid inrupt community strictly for pod users, and that operates separate from the pod providers.

Just to be transparent, I do own the https://inrupt.community domain and created it for the purposes mentioned above. Although there was a time I was considering donating it, I have since been working with a team of developers and it is scheduled to be re-launched in the next couple weeks. Any suggestions you may have for the site are welcome.


#12

On that website we could also provide links to other trusted developers working on Solid, and supportive links to github, w3c community, and w3schools for those who want to learn how to code. Could also host Solid/Inrupt Opening Hours. For solid pod owners from the inrupt.net solid pod community, and the solid.community pod owners. Not apposed to donating it still but, would need to know exactly what and how it would be used.


#13

I did Wonder what you had tucked up your sleeve!
If the Inrupt.Community is where people end up going to find equipped developers who have the Right technical support, and this is also where the masses go to receive the information they crave then maybe at ‘Some Point’ this may well be the right decision. For now though I would simply consider this an off shoot of something much more SoLiD, all is fair in love and war. Do it first, Do it Right. Others will follow without doubt. You have to create the place of Trust. Got mine, Go :smile:


#14

Thank you for the support, that domain has been a subject of debate for awhile. We are going to be re-launching in the next week or two. If time permits, I will post a topic here on the forum and bring it up on gitter chat for further feedback from the community, hopefully inrupt will join the discussion and either collaborate with us to make it all it can be or, they can stick there heads in the sand, it makes no difference to me. Personally, I feel that inrupt is secretive, and that they are vc funded means that they serve the shareholders best interest, not the pod user. We are not vc funded and have no shareholders, we are a community of inrupt and solid pod users and our goal is to build an ecosystem that supports their best interest, not a shareholders best interest. If anyone wants to discuss privately, you can email me at solid@inrupt.community and I will get back with you.


#15

Some precisions:
There is a project at MIT, launched in 2016 and whose name is SolidMit, Solid in short. It’s web site is solid.mit.edu/
There is also a company created in August 2018 by the founder of the open source project, Tim Berners-Lee :" Inrupt is building a commercial ecosystem to fuel Solid’s success". Web site: Inrupt.com.
So I think the domain name for the community cannot include the Inrupt name as proposed.
In the same way hosting community resources under inrupt.com as it is now is not good too.
In fact this is clearly a conflict of interest.
This is enforced by the design of the Inrupt web site being the same as the design of the solid.mit.edu web site and the web site of the MIT advertising the private business company.
There is no doubt for me TMBL has “good” intentions, I mean not making money as a goal and the will to put back Internet on a better path (I am waiting to see Inrupt’s CEO John Bruce at work, his resume includes Symantec, IBM and others).
But a lot of people don’t clearly disambiguate both side of Inrupt, business and community, and some developers may/will wonder if they work for free for Solid development or Inrupt income. We can even imagine this conflict of interest is used by opponents as a strong basis for fake news.
First problem of this confusion : People around the MIT project are waiting for a roadmap to go on, and this roadmap is expected from Inrupt, not from the community.
May be it should be good for all parties to move all Solid content to the existing solidproject.org or solid.mit.edu domains, enforce separated governances and clearly expose roles of each structure as well as their relationships.
This being said IMHO and based on the information I found.


#16

I understand that is your position. What does the word Inrupt mean? What is an inrupter? Where did this word come from and who has the right to use it?

Over a decade ago, a death metal band called Grol used the word inrupt in their song lyrics. They mention it often. http://lyrics.wikia.com/wiki/Grol:Anal_Stench_Of_Nocturnal_Defecator_(A_Story_About_A_Very_Important_Person)
http://lyrics.wikia.com/wiki/Grol:Grol_(Grol_De_Nocte)
https://www.metal-archives.com/albums/Grol/True_Stench_Never_Dies!/70404

Inrupt Inc., uses the word in a vernacular sense and is interpreted to mean interrupt and/or interrupter. Whereas, an inrupter is a person taking an action to interrupt someone or something.

Inrupt.community, is, among other things, an online community of inrupt pod, and solid pod users.

Inrupt pod users and owners need a place that they can belong to that can address concerns and problems as a community. A place where we as inrupt pod owners and users can collaborate on business ventures, introduce products and services that are created by the community and for the community. We also need a place where we can collaborate freely from the oversight of Inrupt Inc., and if need be, to inrupt the inrupters.


#17

There is no confusion. https://inrupt.community was created as a collaborative joint venture between those who have an interest in solid.community and inrupt.net as pod owners and users. We are not affiliated with Inrupt inc., in any way whatsoever.

https://solid.inrupt.community/colloaborations