Urbit / Posts

~2018.5.16 Update

Summer is around the corner, and the community has been working hard to make Urbit real. Here's an update on what new and exciting things have been happening:

Meta: We're going to start posting these to the new Updates section in Fora now -- and actually weekly!

On Mars Talk last week, Anthony ~poldec-tonteg, Joshua ~taglux-nidsep, Ted ~rovnys-ricfer, and Keaton ~tonlur-sarret talked about Sail, a DSL for representing XML/HTML data in Hoon. We built a simple web page with Sail and highlighted what features Sail gives you, like Hoon's type system, the Ford build system, and full access to Hoon programming inline. Check it out!

Tlon hired someone this week! We're excited to have with us:

  • Isaac V ~davtyr-nimren

Isaac has solid Hoon and frontend chops, having already implemented server-side rendering of Tree pages for us a short while back. He'll be taking on some of the Collections/Streams work to help us get ready for our summer release.

Galen ~ravmel-ropdyl, Anthony ~poldec-tonteg, Chris ~sigtus-hossyn, Gavin ~ridlur-figbud, and Jimmy ~haptyl-wanwes have been working more on the new interface projects. Here's another leak:

!New visual leak

Logan ~tacryt-socryp almost has a complete demo of the new Urbit iOS app working. This includes TouchID login authentication, an encrypted local database, full support for the Talk/Hall API for Streams, and automatic background fetching, among other features.

Curtis ~sorreg-namtyv has been working more on several important major language feature improvements to Hoon: namely, pretty-printing of typed data, and simplifying the type system. Work can be found on his research branches, but we plan on publishing a more formal post of the changes and major documentation updates when they roll out in the coming months. More soon!

Ted ~rovnys-ricfer and Elliot ~littel-ponnys have made a bunch of progress on Ford Turbo. In addition to having a proof-of-concept solution for the main performance bottleneck of current Ford, they've now finished writing over half of the schematics (build types), implemented proper cache reclamation support, and they've gotten basic Clay integration functioning properly. You can find their work here. They're posting more detailed updates as comments to their original Urbit Proposal.

Mark ~palfun-foslup has been wrapping up Urbit/ETH integration, and is now working on getting Jael, the new Arvo secret-storage vane, to compile. This would be a great addition to the summer release.

Joshua ~taglux-nidsep, Robert ~lodleb-ritrul, and Keaton ~tonlur-sarret have been getting lots of documentation work done. They've seen several PR's go through to improve the Hoon standard library docs, simplify the Hoon demo, update our examples to the latest syntax, improve the Urbit installation process, and more. Josh's work-in-progress is happening here. The main docs are on Github: if there's a piece of doc that's confusing to you, don't hesitate to file an issue. Or better, submit a pull request.

Joe ~master-morzod is making strides on full HTTPS support for individual ships. He's implemented LetsEncrypt support, ASN.1, and has Dynamic DNS functioning on our testnet. When all this work is done, your-ship.urbit.org should connect automatically to the IP of the Unix machine your urbit is running on, rather than connecting to one of Tlon's ships, which currently proxies Urbit network data through one of our stars, is slow, and is basically a straight-up man-in-the-middle. Combined with private Collections and Streams, Urbit will be a lot more secure and usable within the year.

Overall, we're making progress. More next week!