2018-12-19 Engineering Meeting

Date/Time: 2018-12-19 @ 15:00 UTC / 10:00 EDT / 23:00 HKT
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Length: 45 minutes
Meeting link: [https://zoom.us/j/966890423 ]

This meeting is for the engineering team, app developers and the community to discuss engineering concerns or questions.


Please reply to this forum post with items you would like included on the agenda.

Final Meeting Minutes

Transcription edited for clarity.

Proposal Use Babel and Intellisense in our repos

Unknown 1:15
I know as we get started if his agenda item

Unknown 1:21
let’s get into the first agenda item there is like repo housecleaning some improvements for the developer experience. So I think one of those it’s like a PR on blocks at JS that changes basically like a lot of the ways that Babel interacts with tests and stuff and bug such as good thing that the way that the unit tests work right now
is that they include directly from, like the compile files. So I get includes from like, the lip directory or so. So you get like, really weird Babel five code errors.

Unknown 2:12
So yeah, I guess for that probably just, it probably just needs to get like a review from Ken.

Unknown 2:28
The other is like adding coverage reports to all of our own requests. So for that, I think we’re just going to test out at first on the Gaia repo

Unknown 2:40

Unknown 2:42
We need to add those to other repos as well, because it’s nice to get code coverage reports.

Unknown 2:51
Yes, that sounds great. I’m also excited for like the, the IntelliSense in the code completion aspects that that will come here. Oh, nice.

Unknown 3:01

Unknown 3:03
I don’t know how IntelliSense works. I assume there’s like an Emacs.

Unknown 3:10
I don’t know how it works. But when it does work, I love it.

Unknown 3:16

Unknown 3:19
Yeah. Cool.

Unknown 3:21
So yeah, it’s some point. I guess either, Ken or Hank, should …

[Sound check from HQ]

Unknown 3:44
Yeah, we can do that. Seems like the the video has cut out again.

Decision and Action Items

  • Babel and Intellisense to Gai and further repos makes sense.
  • Ken will look over the proposal from Matt and help move it forward

Proposal: Browser Extension

Unknown 4:00
Cool. And then the next agenda item Matt wanted to bring up was like the topic of browser extension, which is maybe a third rail.

Unknown 4:18
I mean is like does anyone disagree with like, I always all of his points, I think they all make sense. You know, I think it’s been more just like a question of, is that really like, do we really want to like full full on do that

Unknown 4:39
Maybe a more fundamental question is like, why are we going to have a hard time going forward supporting things like Safari Firefox and if so will this so we’ll let extension make this better?

Unknown 4:53
Yeah, I agree. Like I i’ve been like banging banging a drum about the protocol handler
a year

Unknown 5:08
there’s no there’s open issues for Safari right but I assume it’s not straightforward otherwise we would have done it by now like I haven’t looked it up but

Unknown 5:17
yeah so the issue is that like the protocol handler the way that we’re using a particle handler is not
some really great this is like it’s just like not how
protocol it’s not like a use case for that protocol handlers were designed or browser vendors don’t really want to support or like make seamless,

Unknown 5:46
that’s not related to the Brave browser integration though, right? Because that’s apparently something on like, grave site that they have to fix. Or

Unknown 5:53
it’s possibly also related to that.

Unknown 5:57
Yeah, because like, it’s not one solution we use for the protocol handler, like, it could just make all a browser compatibility issues go away.

Unknown 6:08

Unknown 6:10
Brave is using chromium at this point? Yeah. But there’s, there’s like a specific reason one of the guys I can’t remember which engineer, he’s an app developer was talking about it and engineering channel. I didn’t know will brought it up. But there’s there’s something that’s it’s not straightforward. It’s it’s not the same as doing
it in Chrome. We just don’t support protocol handlers and …

Unknown 6:34
Yeah, as I say, so.

Unknown 6:37
Yeah. And the likelihood that they’re going to begin doing that is not very much so.

Unknown 6:47
Yeah. So I’m pretty much in support of only a one extension.
I think it’s just a matter of, do we have the resources for someone to build in maintain? It

Unknown 6:58
wasn’t a contractor building one the I can’t remember his name. And we are paying Yeah, let’s Yeah, I was on that

Unknown 7:06
last time I looked at it didn’t work very well.

Unknown 7:10
But I think he has a new version out but I haven’t tried yet. Maybe it’s improved I’d like to see

Unknown 7:33
Yeah, I mean, also, maybe we can. Yeah, if we haven’t tested the version to maybe part of the thing is, like, we’re not following up with them. But I mean, obviously, we are resource constrained, but we can put that on the to do list. Like, I could try it out. It’s not that hard to test. Right. So I mean, I could see

Unknown 7:59
and we can hardly complain about his speed, right? given where you can think around with it for a year. And he’s one person

Unknown 8:08
I agree with you. Maybe if we just helped him out he might make more progress.

Unknown 8:15
I think it would be good to to maybe, um, I remember, we were paying him at some point. Like, who was the person like owning that project and are like with that person?
I think it was Xan, but then doesn’t really like follow up with them. or manage him? Yeah, Okay, I can follow up with them. And then about, like, maybe what their last interaction was, and then test out version to necessarily start so we can see if it’s, like worth,

[Discussion of internal management]

Unknown 9:27
concern with the web extension with

Unknown 9:31
like, sort of plodding forward with a web extension is that like, it doesn’t solve the problem that we currently have, which is like that, when you click Login in various combinations of web browsers and operating systems, the page just does nothing,

Unknown 9:56
which like how it’s a weird part of the -garbled_ support, right? And who we would have to have, you know, extensions for every every major browser. And then after that, we would we would pretty well covered it, we would not use political handlers anymore, we would just intercept requests to browser. Oh, I see. But like, we could do that. So like, we could do that today. We’d like to deprecate the downloaded browser and redirect browser, not bugs or day before we had web extensions. Yes. Like was in the concern there that there’s like centralization in the DNS ownership only, basically, any web extension that wants to intercept that has to get approval from us like before, except when app stores, right?

Unknown 10:47
Yeah, there have been multiple issues. And I didn’t like my issue is getting into the extension app stores of these projects, they might choose it to be you like it did with meta mask when there’s also the centralization of having everyone use browser dot blockstack.org and not giving anyone is choice to use the native browser right, with the protocol handler that people can still use a native browser that they want to.

Unknown 11:18
And also, I think it’d be stop using a protocol handler, you kind of can’t use native apps anymore?

Unknown 11:29

Unknown 11:31
do we have a place where we kind of outline absolutely everything we know about the problem, maybe we could do sort of like what we did with the admin, we got a good response, even if it was too premature the admin for Gaia, we could, if we briefed it out what we wanted, and where the problem was, maybe we get people picking it up, or at least help the guy that has been working on it.

Unknown 11:56
Yeah, that’s a good idea. And then another way on that front is Thomas had brought up, you know, potentially sending it ping from the website, like the app itself to a local native luck side browser, like at a date.

Unknown 12:14
And I know, I think we’ve talked about that in the past that it wouldn’t work because of like insecure requests, because it’s local host. But browsers do support SSL to local host Ajax requests already in certain instances. And so we could do that i think i think it’d be at least worth playing with. And then

Unknown 12:37
it would at least get us away from the protocol handler error message that so many people see in different browsers.

Unknown 12:45
So the problem with that is, it’s not that we can’t contact the native browser. The problem is that we don’t know if the protocol protocol handler will work or not until you actually tried to call it and some browsers don’t even tell you if it worked or not, right. So just knowing that you have the

Unknown 13:07
blocks that browser installed doesn’t really tell us anything, we wanted to tell you whether or not so like, if the browser if the local browser is running, like you can assume that the protocol work, right. I don’t, that’s not the case. And every browser,

Unknown 13:24
I think so like, the issue with Safari is such that you do not have a browser and like a native application installed and does the protocol handler is great. And you can’t really like jump out of that error. I think in this context, it would work where you think first, like the native app, but it is a, then if you get any response, just go to browse it up like blocksack.org, otherwise, it will work because you have the native app handler will work. But I think in other browsers, maybe like Firefox or another another one I just a different problem. Right. The protocol handler itself maybe just doesn’t work entirely, you know,

Unknown 14:07
but I think it would, it would open the door to like allowing Safari to work, you know,

Unknown 14:15
without the native application,

Unknown 14:22
right. So I think it would just solve one class of problems with or what I think is significant. I feel like this is a large amount of people that probably use Safari.

Unknown 14:39
Yeah, I don’t know. I
my, like, preference and feeling on this is like, we should try to come up with a solution that just solves
the whole class of problems instead of like, bandage and there’s like,

Unknown 14:59
it’s like, a lot of these things are like undocumented behaviors of browsers that the browser vendors have no problem changing.

Unknown 15:22
So the problem that we did have with the just always redirect the browser up lots. org was primarily centralization. Right?

Unknown 15:34
Yeah, I think there’s just a lot of pushback on removing also, just like the think there’s, like the legacy folks to that are using the native app and don’t want to use the web for whatever reason,

Unknown 15:53
okay, so I guess in that case, we can move on to the next agenda item, cuz there’s been a lot of discussion on this

Unknown 16:06
for a call him in there, like a plan or like takeaway that we’re going to,

Unknown 16:14
so I think maybe we should, like, revisit. So we have a bunch of old discussions about these problems,
we should revisit those and
try to just like actually get a sense for what the decision space here is,

Unknown 16:44
okay. So should we just create an issue in the in the browser repo for this, and somebody can take it on?

Decision and action item

We should describe the problem well and decide on an action to take.

[] Mary creates a browser issue
[] Aaron is going to dig up Forum
[] Hank is going to review the technical aspects

Public meeting completed. We went on to discuss internal OKRs.

1 Like

Repo house cleaning and dev UX improvements (gaia and blockstack.js repos)

Web browser extensions!

I think we should be more interested in this across the board…

  • Possibly good approach to making a user-owned Gaia hub a reality (dropbox/drive and literally a few clicks). The HN post today was good feedback about developers’ concern/confusion about “decentralized” data.
  • Development & maintenance of such applications seems better today than ever due to WebExtensions API support in Chrome, Firefox, (and Microsoft/Edge maybe soon with their switch to chromium).
  • Bootstrapping our app.id DNS? This project was mentioned on the HN thread https://beakerbrowser.com/ . The UX seems good. A native desktop app + web browser extension for browsing websites with custom protocol dat://test.com

OKRs for Q1 2019!

  • Does anyone have issues with the OKRs as is now?

  • Which OKRs?