illustration for Reactive Programming and the P2P Web with André Staltz

episode 10

Reactive Programming and the P2P Web with André Staltz

Joel Hooks interviews Andre Staltz, an open-source hacker, and creator of Cycle.js. Andre quit his job to become an open-source hacker and now spends 30% of his time on open-source development and 40% on the Scuttlebutt project.

Today they discuss the current web's stagnation, the vision of the peer to peer web, and what André is doing to reach that goal. They'll also discuss things that are more in Javascript land, such as Cycle.js and the callbag spec.

Scuttlebutt is a web protocol, like HTTP. It's like a vast array of JSON objects that sync between two computers whenever they are both on the same network; this enables data to never reach an outside server, a true peer to peer network! Andre goes into his work on the project and why he believes it is necessary for the future of the web.

But what is the peer to peer web and why is it better/different than the internet as we know it? Andre says that we are reaching a point where innovation is beginning to stagnate, where it is just enough to have Google, Amazon, and Facebook. We have reached a sort of peak, and things aren't evolving further. Andre goes on to say that one of the fundamental things that the internet missed early on was that it didn't guarantee a p2p connection.

Andre gives some examples of how you begin to use the p2p web today. The Beaker browser, for example, can still access HTTP and HTTPS connections. However, it can also use the DAT protocol. What is DAT? Well, it allows you to directly "seed" your website out, and others can "leech" it. Like torrents, the more peers there are accessing your website, the better! He also talks about Fritter, a twitter clone that only runs on DAT. You download the front-end and JSON files of what people are saying. You are even able to fork the front end and customize it for yourself!

Back in Javascript land, Andre talks about how he plans to properly support the Pull data source in Cycle.js, as well as having web-workers in the middle. He also talks about why he's removing the last library dependency from Cycle.js, xstream, in favor of just using a set of callbag utilities.

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