So, uh, I made a client for Mastodon

Published on February 15, 2019

dev, mastodon, hyperspace

Hey guys! It’s been a while since I made a post here, but don’t worry; I’m not dead, and neither is this blog! I’ve just been busy with a few things lately, and I think you may want to take a look.

Remember my plan?

In my 2019 goals, I mentioned that I wanted to do what I can to bring Mastodon to Goucher. Knowing the current state of Mastodon’s own front-end interface, I surmised that my fellow classmates, faculty, and others wouldn’t feel comfortable with it; to some extent, I remain correct (thanks Dr. Zimmerman). So, my first step in this goal wasn’t “set up an instance” like I would expect. Rather, I started working on a client for Mastodon.

Introducing Hyperspace

Hyperspace screenshot

For the past few days, I have been creating a web client for Mastodon using ReactJS and Electron that provides a simple, fast, and fun interface for Mastodon. This client, Hyperspace, has already been released on GitHub under the GNU Lesser General Public License and has 4 releases, with release 0.4.0 being the latest. Most components have originate from Microsoft’s Fabric UI, usually used for Office applications, but work great in a social context, like Mastodon. It has the basics such as viewing timelines (and streaming!), posting new statuses, getting notifications (works in desktop, too), replies and messages, and even viewing profiles within the app. I have a long way to go before I cover all of what Mastodon has to offer, but it’s decent enough for regular use. Hyperspace is available as a standard web app that can be deployed to a server, like I also have included and made desktop versions of the app for Windows, macOS, and Linux.

The response? Stunning

A lot of people on Mastodon seem to really like Hyperspace, even though its intended purpose is for making a client Goucher students would actually use. Currently, at time of writing, there are four stars on the repository on GitHub, a couple of issues and pull requests from others (namely, Linux Liaison from the Fosstodon instance). What surprised me even more was the fact that it caught Cassidy James Blaede’s (co-founder of elementary Inc., the guys that make elementaryOS) attention and even Eugen Rochko, the main developer of Mastodon himself:

The bottom line is this: Hyperspace is getting some attention, and it really does seem like as if it’s doing the job I set it out to do. Now I just have to add a few more features…

What’s next?

There’s a few things I’ll be doing to keep this going:

  • I’m going to start work on Hyperspace 0.5.0, which should a few more improvements. The roadmap is available on GitHub for anyone to review and watch the progress of.
  • I should be starting a Patreon account soon to help fund development of Hyperspace as it progresses. Namely, I want to be able to continue making signed builds for macOS and, hopefully, have a project website with a custom domain for Hyperspace.
  • Of course, I hope to make a version of Hyperspace ready to move on to my next step in implementing Mastodon at Goucher: creating and hosting an instance for students.

I hope to continue my journey in supporting the fediverse and achieving my goal of bringing it to Goucher by any means possible. Stay tuned for further announcements!

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