Hacktober 2020 Hacktober 2020 Hacktober 2020

Come join us in hacking on and – A new way to social media without user tracking, advertising or any of that biased algorithmic based jazz! is trying to be an open, decentralised, open-source, privacy focused social media! Come hack with us!

It’s that time of year!

For those that may not know (lets face is, I wasn’t aware myself until my first Hacktober event at Facebook where I worked from ~2015-2018!); is a time of year every October where many get together and hack on something cool or use this time let the creative juices flow and create new wonderful things!

I remember the first Hacktober event I participated in back in Oct 2015 my good friend and colleague at the time hacked on an idea using what was then the first version of the Oculus VR headset (the one before they improved the resolution!). He thought wouldn’t it be cool if we could develop a virtual reality desktop environment. We were both (still are) UNIX geeks/nerds and he ran some variant of Linux whilst I ran macOS. I watched him hack this thing out in a matter of days whilst I toyed with some other ideas. I helped him test his prototypes and provided feedback.

In the end what he came up with eventually caught the eye of Mark himself and eventually found its way into a new product at Facebook altogether and helped to develop a new set of products and way of communicating with others.

Fast forward to today in Oct 2020 and I am again reminded of this wonderful time of year where its a time of celebration and the hacker community has for a while now used this as an equal opportunity to get together and hack on and contribute to interesting ideas both new and old!

So… Without further ado I invite anyone that is interested to come hack with us here at and help us build out and improve what we out to back in Aug 2020!

What we need help with?

We plan to release the first mobile app to the general public very soon, in fact in just a few days! We need your help to test the app of course and provide us feedback! It would also be very nice if we also had more Pod Owners (more on this later!).

We need developers to help us improve our API and Backend. Here is a list of things we want to achieve (in no particular order:

  • Improved UI/UX around Feeds view
    • We want to improve the /feeds view such that it is more accessible and gives users an opportunity to easily identify interesting feeds they might be interested in. This relies on a list of configurable feed sources in the we-are-feeds.txt format which is just a TAB-delimited file where each line contains a feed name and URI. We want to extend the functionality around this to also display a feed description and logo or avatar for the feed and improve the presentation.
  • Pod Description and Discoverability
    • We want to continue our work on Pod Discoverability, that is ways in which users across the network can discover other pods and users/feeds on those pods more easily. We also want to continue to improve the Pod customisation work we started where Pod Owners can change the description, logo and other configuration parameters easily from the UI.
  • Add OAuth Support for API and IndieAuth support
    • I’ve lumped two issues together here because its not specifically clear what should be done here, but what is clear is authentication and authorisation for the current API needs to be improved. Whats more (related) is what is really an “identity problem” and something we’d like to solve soon! It should be possible for a user on one pod to post to and carry their original identify around with them without requiring multiple accounts on different pods. We think IndueAuth can help here.
  • Desktop App
    • Pretty straight forward! We’d love help to create.a Desktop App. Ideally one that is cross-platform. Perhaps it could be built with React using the very nice Twt.js library!
  • Supporting custom domains
    • We want to support the notion of users having their own domain name that can be pointed at a pod that has their user account and for this to seamlessly work as if it were like a pod all of its own with a single user account.
  • Integrating with Git
    • Today Twtxt / pods are self-contained and a user’s feed is stored on the backend’s server in the twtxt.txt format. What would be really cool here is if we could offload or sync the user’s feed file itself from a Git source. It doesn’t really matter how this works as long as the end result is that a user can say, here’s where my feed file actually is, please either write to this and/or sync to/from this.

So as you can see we have some big/bold ideas and we need your help! This list is not conclusive and we have other projects you can hack on as well including:

  • rss2twtxt – An RSS/Atom feed aggregation service that runs at that is one of the primary external feed sources for all pods. This allows anyone to freely drop in any website, figures out whether ir has a valid RSS/Atom feed and turns that into a Twtxt feed! It also tries to find an appropriate avatar for it. What this is missing is some way to form a decent description of the feed (see above for the feeds view improvement).
  • – This is the landing page! Any Web designers and/or content writers are more than welcome to help us flesh this out more and improve the UI/UX and content!
  • Goryon – This is the iOS/Android App we intend to release to the general public very soon! This is built with Flutter and largely mirrors much of the functionality of the Web App. There are of course some things missing which we need help with such as Conversations View, Video Uploads and inline video player, Feeds and User Settings.
  • Twt.js – Our Javascript library for the current APIv1 which is being used already by some bots and soon a Browser Extension.

We’ve developed all this quite quickly and to give you an overall idea of where we are today, here are some interesting tidbits-bits:

  • The project was started in Aug 2020 and the first Pod launched ~20th July 2020. For a brief history read this blog post and for why this was created read this post.
  • Since launch we quickly grew the user base and network to a point where today there are over ~150 registered users across pods, hundreds more in the wider Twtxt.txt community. the first inaugural pod now has thousands of visitors per day and millions of hits per month!
  • We have a development team of 5 active developers and quite a few other contributes that regularly contribute.
  • Today the Twtxt software/backend itself has received over 150+ Github stars!
  • Since we started counting and archiving old Twts, whether it be from users or external feeds, globally the network has now archived over 300k Twts!

So… Come hack with us! Come be a part of this exciting journey where we are trying to take back what we’ve given up so easily. Social media should be accessible to all without having to give up your digital data to large corporations that sell this to advertisers!

Let’s create a truely decentralised Social Media built on Web Technologies, in the Open that is Easy for all to use, self-host and hack on!

– James Mills / prologic

James Mills @prologic