Update Log

Status of FediFinder software

I've been meaning to formally address the issue of FediFinder software accessibility but it has not been brought up much until now. As of right now and for the foreseeable future FediFinder is proprietary software. It is neither "free" nor "open source" in the sense that free software advocates mean. It is only "free as in beer," as they say. I will accept donations but I will never charge to use the site. FediFinder is a proof-of-concept project. It has been my desire to recreate this service as a plugin function for existing fediverse instance platforms like Pleroma. Unfortunately it's beyond my ability to do so by myself and the best people I know for the job are all very busy. I'm still open to work with anyone who is willing to collaborate on this but so far I have received no offers. In a future where the code I've written for FF is used in such a distributed model, the software would all be "free as in freedom" and open to anyone as a matter of course. As it exists now though, in a centralized directory model, it does not make sense to release the code publicly. I'm willing to add people on a case-by-case basis to the gitlab to help improve the site or audit the security. However, I am paranoid that leaving the code for the site open to anyone is inviting people to learn how to break it. While I've done what I can to limit the potential consequences of a hack, I still think it may be possible to do something that affects the users. I would like to avoid a situation where the people who trusted me enough to use this site have anything bad happen to them. To be clear, I support the free software movement. I even support Stallman despite his eccentricities. I have 7 software projects on my gitlab that are either under free licenses or not licensed at all. This is the only one that's not public. In short, FediFinder IS NOT FOSS, yet.

New Year, New Blog Post

Happy New Year FediFinders! We're at the end of the first week of 2022 and things are going well; the site has broken the 100 user milestone with the addition of new instances. If you are enjoying the service please tell your friends to try it out, the larger the user-base gets the more useful FediFinder becomes. I still welcome people to use the site without putting in any information about yourself, I would encourage those of you who are hesitant to try adding something though. Having anything, even just a single interest listed, should increase your chances of making a relevant connection with someone else. Finally I would like to clarify that there is (still) no formal application process for adding instances (yet). All you have to do is ask me in a message on the fedi, and that's open to anyone even if you are not the site admin. If it looks like the users there will follow the rules then your server will get added ASAP.

Updates to Log-in system

I've updated how logging in works on the site to accommodate the addition of other instances. For all it's other flaws, I will admit after working on this for some time that mastodon's handling of OAuth verification is better than Pleroma's. Pre-existing users will be prompted to agree to a new application just like you were when you logged in the very first time. It is functionally exactly the same for you, just different on the back-end, so this should be the last time you have to take that extra step. I hope you don't mind.

First Production Updates

I've just finished applying the first set of updates since the site went into full production. The most notable is the ability to update your avatar and header image if they have been changed on your instance profile. This will not happen automatically in case you want to keep using the old photos, but if not then look for the link under your avatar on the 'edit' page. Also worth mentioning is I've fixed escaped HTML characters in your bio if you had any. My filters worked well on tags but were missing things like ' or " so they have now been improved. I checked while fixing up the affected bios and I'm happy to say there are currently 45 NAS users on FF. I hope to see more when I repeat this announcement in a post tomorrow and even more later when I make a show donation and mention the site. I've attracted some attention from other fediverse admins which is good news for the future of the site when it is open to more instances than just NAS. For now though, enjoy your exclusive early access.

Last Minute Problems (Solved)

Naturally I didn't notice anything was wrong until the day I planned to open the site up. The questionnaire response, one of the stand-out features of the site, was not working. The instance bots.franssen.xyz which I had been using for the bot is down and seems likely to stay down, at least for the foreseeable future. I have stepped in and made a new bot on my own server https://happylittle.cloudns.cc/quizbot . Responses will go through that for the time being, there will be a longer delay after hitting the send button on those responses but they do seem to be working. The launch is back on.

DB Migrated

The application is now running with a postgres database. I've migrated over the blog posts but decided to leave the user data behind based on user feedback. Everyone who had a profile already will need to recreate theirs. Most people had not modified their profiles much so little has been lost. You will not have to agree to the app permissions on NAS again, also HTML formatting in the bio should now be automatically stripped out, so it should be even easier this time around. Everything seems to work the same based on my test with my own alt. The site may go down a few times in the next 12 hours for minor tweaks but the plan is to be live by showtime this afternoon so that the site can be plugged on NoAgenda social/IRC/jitsi for anyone around at the time to see.

End of Beta Testing

Nobody has reported any issues to me since the site has gone live, that's great to hear. I have made a few tweaks to issues I noticed myself, mostly concerning the layout of pages on mobile (vertically oriented screen). Those changes seem to make the site look much nicer, at least on *my* phone. I've also added what has been a low-priority, back-burner feature which was customized error messages for forms. With this done I'd say the site code is looking fairly compete. All that's left is to switch over to a real database as we're still using the default sqlite3 db that comes with every Django project. Once this is done the site will go up for public use.

Ready to Roll

The site is up and running, ready for testing. Please let me know if you find anything broken.

First Update

It has taken a while to get here but in that time significant fixes have happened while the site was up but not accessible. The last one was just made so that the site is now functional and accessible from the fedifinder.com domain. Once the SSL certificates have been set up and the new application created on NAS the site will be complete and ready for testing.

Very First Post

This is the very first post to the site. The domain name is not yet setup but the site is up and functioning. It shouldn't be long now before everybody can come and check it out for themselves.