This document is part of a devgrant with the Filecoin Foundation for making demos and tutorials for making and using p2p web apps using IPFS via Agregore's p2p protocol handler APIs.
The goal of this document is it outline the process we'll be taking for creating small web apps, making tutorials for the web apps, and writing up retrospectives on what we learn from the process.
However, if you're interested in following the process to make your own app or tutorial, this document can give you a nice start.
The main guidline when making apps is to think small. Ideally want to have things that a person can create in an evening and have some easy wins along the way. In order to make that more straightforward we'll have a few constraints on the code.
1: Aim to make something that would be useful and or fun at the end. Something which a person might want to use beyond the tutorial or that has room for growth for people to tinker with further. If it's a note taking app, maybe give them ideas for how to aggregate notes or add custom formatting or text editing functionality. Useful doesn't necessarily mean that it has to be utilitarian. Apps that exist to be fun to make and play with are also encouraged since the web is useful tool for people to express themselves.
2: Avoid external dependencies unless absolutely necessary. This means reducing your dependency on external CSS and JS libraries like Bootstrap or JQuery. If a library is absolutely necessary (say you're doing stuff with QR code reading and generation), then prefer to show users how to download source files and add them directly to their app's files. This is important to ensure that all the apps we build are fully local first and can load without depending on the cloud. Note that when prompting users to download libraries, you should be specific about which version to use to avoid trouble in the future.
3: Use the web platform and it's built in APIs. This means using stuff like Custom Elements for making reusable components. Showing people how to use built in CSS features such as Sticky Headers. There's a lot of cool stuff built into browsers and we can get pretty far by showing people how to use this stuff.
4: Avoid using any build tools like webpack/react/npm/etc. Users should be able to install Agregore, and get going on adding code without needing to worry about additional dependencies or build tools. Ideally, it should be possible for a person to start off with either Agregore's built in Chromium DevTools, or to use some of the small apps developed as part of these docs.
5: Avoid depending on centralized servers whenever possible. Sometimes you might want to pull data from a server for something like an RSS reader, but you should make sure that your app will at least load, or hopefully be useful in some way if that server isn't available.
6: When possible, try using Agregore's built in theming support.
This might involve importing the user-configurable CSS variables from
agregore://theme/vars.css to add splashes of color, or using the entire
agregore://theme/style.css file to add default styling to headers and code blocks.
This is useful to give apps a similar "agregore-y" look and feel and gives users the option to configure the styles of all the apps they use on the local-first web by modifying their Agregore config with custom colors.
These aren't hard restrictions and you're free to break outside of them whenever you see fit, but their main purpose is to keep things simple and to keep the apps local-first as much as we can.
We want to explore how long it takes devs of different backgrounds to make apps with these P2P protocols. So we'll timebox the apps at three weeks; roughly two to make the apps and then one to finish up the tutorial and write up retrospectives.
Tutorials should be easy to follow.
Err on the side of usability.
Give the reader a steady path of small wins.
A programming tutorial should not only teach you to accomplish a goal, but to debug along the way.
We want to teach people how to design things, and don't need to spend time teaching people the web.
To share your app with the group, first walk us through the original goal and what you ended up making.
Did you accomplish more or less than the original app idea? If you started out with a user story, were those aims accomplished?
Did the idea evolve or change drastically through the process? If so, how did these changes affect the outcome?
What would you do with this app if you kept working on it? E.g. future improvements? Demo it with users (if so, who would the users be)?
If any technical improvements to Agregore or the underlying protocols could make development easier for this app, please describe them here.
At the end of each sprint we will be publishing the tutorials on the Agregore docs section of the website, and the retrospectives on the Blog section. This will be done by submitting pull requests to the Website's github repo which will then auto-publish to the site upon merging.
The source code for all the apps will be licensed under the MIT License so that it may be reused by others for any purpose.