Deploy Friday: Your source for everything Open Source

#48 Fission: Fast app publishing for front end devs to ship web native apps

November 03, 2021 Robert Douglass, Ori Pekelman, Brooklyn Zelenka, Boris Mann Season 1 Episode 48
Deploy Friday: Your source for everything Open Source
#48 Fission: Fast app publishing for front end devs to ship web native apps
Show Notes

Defining Fission

Fission is an edge app publishing platform for front-end developers. As Boris Mann, one of its creators, defines it, “Fission is a stack of tools, identity files, and data storage that gives developers everything that's needed to run a full web app using only the front end.”

Out of the box, Fission has some key benefits.

  • Runs anywhere: server, phone, laptop, or a mixture
  • Easy to deploy 
  • Automatic updates
  • Identity security and authorization

Fission offers great developer and user experiences

Developer-friendly features include:

  • DNS and SSL
  • Command-line interface (CLI) — can develop locally, don’t have to learn Git, can publish directly from CLI
  • Distributed architecture via interplanetary file system (IPFS) — all the files in the system are content addressed

For users, Fission offers:

  • Private and encrypted user data
  • Data can be shared between apps
  • Runs in all browsers, including mobile browsers, and offline

Fission and identity authorization features

The typical OAuth authentication model uses access control lists (ACL), which have some downsides. The rules get complex quickly, and all authorization requests have to go through a central server, a potential bottleneck which can slow things down. As Boris puts it, “It’s like handing someone your house keys, and now they have access to your whole house.”

Fission works differently. It’s a distributed authentication system built on JSON web tokens. Users have cryptographically signed certificates describing exactly what a given user is allowed to do. “In this model,” Boris explains, “you can delegate permissions to an app. And that app, in turn, can use a bunch of other services directly and sub-delegate things.”

Fission bridges a gap

Brooklyn Zelenka, the other creator behind Fission, concludes, “We've been trying to have these distributed, decentralized systems forever. But because there's this UX challenge, they get less adopted. With Fission, we're very much trying to bridge that gap. We want to make things usable and easy while still giving people as much autonomy and control as we possibly can.”

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