Playing with P2P protocols and Firefox


In the video above I show Firefox working alongside P2P protocols such as Secure Scuttlebutt, IPFS, and DAT.

Update: I’ve uploaded a new video with higher audio volume. Unfortunately Youtube doesn’t allow us to replace a video.

Old browsers can learn new tricks

It is important that we evolve the browser towards the future we want. As mentioned in the video, I am heavily invested in the decentralization space and I want a user agent that unlocks agency in me, that allows me to browse the platforms I want while remaining in control of my digital life.

We can augment our favorite independent browser by using Web Extensions (in Firefox they are called Add-ons) to add new features to the browser including supporting whole new protocols.

In this video I use the following Add-ons:

Each of them take over different protocol schemas such as dat:// and ipfs:// and ssb:. I am the author of the patch that whitelisted those protocols for usage in Web Extensions, so I’ve been wanting to be able to use such add-ons since the day I made that patch. I think we should invest more in building these types of add-ons and molding our browser experience to support the peer-to-peer web instead of shipping many different electron-based Dapps each siloed in itself.

Towards a user agent that fosters decentralization

I briefly mention on the video the experimentation going on on Libdweb. This is a WebExtension that adds new APIs for other Web Extensions (aka WebExtension Experiment) and even though it is not on track for implementation or shipping, it is a wonderful toolkit that allows us to investigate what sort of experiences we can build inside the browser if the add-on authors have access to low level APIs.

Libdweb adds support for the following things:

  • TCP Sockets
  • UDP Datagrams
  • Filesystem access
  • Streams of data
  • Custom Protocols
  • mDNS

So, using those APIs a developer can build a full IPFS or DAT node inside Firefox (this has already happened and it is awesome). Recently, as a toy, I’ve built a little Web Server demo using those APIs. It is quite empowering to see your browser transforming into a server.

Final thoughts and request for feedback

So, I hope you people enjoyed this little video. I am still working on Patchfox and hope to have it in some beta state soon. Lets build the decentralized web together, all of us, inside the same user agent.

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Comments? Questions? Feedback?

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