Restoring Innovation on the Web through Data

Ruben Verborgh, Ghent Universityimec

FITC Amsterdam, 25 February 2020

Restoring Innovation on the Web through Data

Ruben Verborgh

Ghent University – imec

©2019 Facebook
©1969 source unknown
1969 live video 380,000 km
©2020 Google Maps
2019 photo 11 km

We don’t have a privacy problem,
we have an innovation problem.

With Solid, we aim to
redefine the relationship
between people, their data,
and the apps they use.

The Web strives to be universal
through independence of many factors.

©2008 Lucélia Ribeiro

The Web brings freedom of expression
to everyone across the world.

©2012 Luke McKernan

The Web brings permissionless innovation
at a global scale.

©2012 SparkFun Electronics

The first threat to universality
were the browser wars.

[Internet Explorer logo]

This battle was replaced by another:
the search engine wars.

[Google logo]

This battle was also replaced by another:
the platform wars.

[Facebook logo]

Our data has become centralized
in a handful of Web platforms.

Within the walled gardens of social media,
you have to move either data or people.

© David Simonds

Ironically, permissionless innovation
even allows platforms that prevent it.

The Facebook founder has no intention of
allowing anyone to build anything on his platform
that does not have his express approval.

Having profited mightily from the Web’s openness,
he has kicked away the ladder that elevated him
to his current eminence.

John Naughton, The Guardian
[photo of a ladder]
© Vinayak Shankar Rao

Solid is about choice.

The Solid ecosystem enables people to pick the apps they need, while
storing their data wherever they want.

People control their data, and share it
with the apps and people they choose.

©2007 plien

People choose where they store
every single piece of data they produce.

They can grant apps and people access
to very specific parts of their data.

Separating app and storage competition
drives permissionless innovation.

Solid is not a company or organisation.
Solid is not (just) software.

[the Solid logo]

Anyone can build or host
software for Solid.

The Solid server acts as a data pod
that stores and guards your data.

A typical data pod can contain
any data you create or need online.

Solid clients are browser or native apps
that read from or write to your data pod.

Any app you can envision,
you can build with Solid.

The Solid server and several apps exist
and are usable for developers.

Solid is transitioning from research project
into an ecosystem backed by a start-up.

Decentralized apps have many back-ends. Back-ends work with many apps.

Interoperability challenges in Solid
are solved through Linked Data.

The developer experience is the most
crucial factor for Solid success.

What are the cool kids doing?

©2011 smr+lsh

We can combine React components
with micro-expressions for data.

  <p>Welcome, <Value src="user.firstName"/></p>
  <Image src="user.image" defaultSrc="profile.svg"/>
    <li><Link href="user.inbox">Your inbox</Link></li>
    <li><Link href="user.homepage">Your homepage</Link></li>
  <h2>Your friends</h2>
  <List src="user.friends.firstName"/>

We can expose an entire Web of data
through a single expression language.

The best way to predict
the future is to invent it.

Alan Kay
[photo of Alan Kay]
©2008 jeanbaptisteparis

The best way to invent
the future is to predict it.

John Perry Barlow
[photo of John Perry Barlow]
©2007 Joi Ito

Restoring Innovation on the Web through Data