Spring Break 2021/Hubl and its trial at CoTech

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Session context

  • RADIA PERLMAN ROOM 11:00–12:00 BST
  • Facilitators: Calum Mackervoy (Code-Operative) and Alex Bourlier (Happy Dev), Cyril Thiriet (Hubl)

To those new to Hubl 7, the session will introduce its philosophy and direction, as well as summarise how CoTech has been involved in test-drivng the platform over the past months. We will hear from Cyril from Happy Dev, the team behind the project, on how Hubl is progressing. We will also find out about the upcoming features consolidating the user experience. We will also discuss how CoTech can contribute to development of this open-source system built on Solid 1. There’s things we could jump at immediately. not all of them require coding!

CoTech report on working with Hubl

Presentations from Calum on Semantic Web and Alex on Hubl.


Calum (Code-operative / Startinblox), Alex (Happy Dev), Cyril (Hubl), Chris (Webarchitects), Szczepan (Animorph), Tim (Data Content Reach), Hugh Barnard

Semantic Web

Calum: Semantic Web idea has been kicking about since 80s. However, corporates have their own own schemas, e.g. fb imposes their specific API to access their data. Semantic web broadens it with a graph storage, it is platform agnostic, interoperable. Hubl is an example of such a federated approach.

CoTech's instance of Hubl was created to address the issue of jobs being circulated publicly, but also potentially resolving other issues - the original vote.

Journey to Hubl

Alex: The idea of Hubl originated a while back with a need for bringing back meaning to work life. Instead of working for someone we became freelancers, which turned out to be isolating, and we tackled this by bringing everyone together. This purpose driven-idea enabled us to grow to 700 people within a few years. However, the clients were still disappointed with what we could deliver. Capacity and sustainability were the challenges. Being a small and pure thing is cool but we felt a need to grow, bringing small units into larger cells to deal with larger clients. To offer that we needed to have communication tools and we resented digital corporate platforms. Not just because of their extractive practices but also due to the centralisation. We thought it would be more important to interconnect using a decentralised architecture. We organised outreach events when we organised outreach events to spread the word but we found ourselves locked in siloes so we had to create a tool to enable us to go outside of the bubble.

Hubl has been evolving [screenshare of the tool with some notes]; we are redesigning its dashboard to present everyone with most relevant updates when they enter... Hubl is open-source and flexible; for instance Happy Dev created their own bespoke onboarding process.


Szczepan: The speed of loading at Hubl has improved significantly - what else are you currently focusing on?

Alex: The data that's now loaded when you land on Hubl depends on what's render on the page. Some actions are still slow, because there's no decentralised pagination system in place yet. Aside from improving performance, push notifications for mobiles are worked on. CoTech members could contribute via approaching issues on the repo. Hubl is also working on its business model.

Calum: One of the defining features of SW Resource Description Framework (RDF) is the Open-world assumption, which is different to localised SQL constraints. For instance, we can add custom methods to the schema. Activity streams allow bespoke instances of circles. It's still slow to bounce information between the instances.

Next steps?

If we approach CoTech via our needs then we will find natural way for contributing to Hubl, e.g. via bridging Matrix.

Over the last gatherings we always discussed skill sharing, guilds etc., the only idea that's cultivated is monthly calls. There's work in Hubl, which could attract people, so that it's embedded more on daily basis.

Gradually building an ecosystem and personal, local relationships.