You may have come across Mastodon for microblogging, Pixelfed for photo sharing, or PeerTube for video hosting. The Fediverse is a growing set of decentralized sites for distributing content. These are but a few of the platforms that already share content using ActivityPub, a new open standard.
One of the ActivityPub authors noted in a post announcing the standard:
Increasingly, much of our lives is mediated through social networks, and so network freedom in these spaces -- and thus removing central control over them -- is critical.
The internet has a tremendous potential for connection, but organizational websites – the homes of these organizations on the internet – mainly remain cut off from each other. At most, they might pull content from privacy-killing corporate social media “silos” like Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube. Meanwhile, projects comprising the Fediverse – a global network of interlinked platforms and instances that is largely converging around ActivityPub – have made great strides on pretty much everything except organizational websites.
Gether addresses this largely missing piece in the emerging Fediverse.
Built with Drutopia
Gether includes two lead developers of Drutopia, a distribution of Drupal 8.
Drutopia has an active, international community of contributors.
Key Drutopia components include:
- A set of features such as Events, Articles, Blog, and Campaign designed to meet the most common website needs of organizations.
- Integration of many of the most needed Drupal modules, saving many hours of what would otherwise be custom site development.
- A presentation layer built using the Bulma CSS framework, including a set of Bulma-based "skins" that provide a range of visual design options.
- A hosting platform that greatly reduces the work involved in hosting multiple sites.
While it can be used on its own, Drutopia is produced specifically as a "base" distribution that other more specific distributions can be built off of. Like Gether! One such a distribution for example is Find It. For more information about the Drutopia distribution and its international team see http://docs.drutopia.org.
Building Gether on Drutopia means that we get all the basics of a Drupal distribution covered and can focus our efforts specifically on ActivityPub integration.
ActivityPub is a World Wide Web Consortium Recommendation standard that enables interoperability among diverse websites, even ones running on different softwares.
The Gether team has started into mapping out issues for an ActivityPub integration module for Drupal.
Contributing to Drupal
Drupal is the platform that London, France, the European Commission and more use to communicate with citizens. It’s part of how organizations and universities like Amnesty International and the University of Oxford work to make the world a better place. As Content Management Software you can extend it with any one, or many, of thousands of add-ons. Modules expand Drupal's functionality.
Building and releasing ActivityPub modules for Drupal will offer this potential to many other websites and applications. The Drupal community one of the largest open source communities in the world will be able to extend and reuse any of the code built for these modules.
Promoting the Fediverse
Gether project members have submitted session proposals on "Fediverse, ActivityPub... and Drupal" to share our work at:
We're also active in the ActivityPub space, drafting a guide for new ActivityPub implementers.
ekes has been a Freelance Drupal developer for the last fifteen years. Involved in the development of distributions such as VozMob and VoipDrupal, writing integrations for consuming and sharing data in formats such as ical, and recently specific integrations into Drupal 8, such as the graph database maintained by ECRA (Ethical Consumer), ekes is also a developer in a network with sites sharing Events between Drupal 7 and 8, WordPress and others using a custom API who are looking to standardize around ActivityPub.
Rosemary brings to her IT work a strong background in the nonprofit sector including ten years as executive director of Young Parents Support Network. Since 2010 she has been the lead feature developer for two Drupal distributions, Open Outreach (Drupal 7) and Drutopia (Drupal 8). Together with Nedjo, Rosemary is a partner/owner of Chocolate Lily Web Projects, a small Drupal consultancy that provides services to nonprofit clients.
Nedjo has been an active Drupal contributor since 2003 and has tech led projects for clients including the Smithsonian Institution and the Linux Foundation. He is a maintainer of the widely-used Features module in Drupal 8 as well as many other modules and is a leadership team member on the Drutopia project.