EU Funding for Dev Tools

Through the Next Generation Internet (NGI) initiative, HTTP Toolkit has been selected for funding from the EU's Horizon research & innovation program, to expand beyond HTTP and offer the same interception, debugging & testing functionality for applications built on top of the decentralized web.

This is going to be a huge opportunity to invest in expanding HTTP Toolkit to support some very exciting new technologies, and extending existing core functionality to do so along the way. For this project I'm going to be specifically focusing on 3 main protocols that today form the backbone of the decentralized web: IPFS, WebRTC & Ethereum. For each of these protocols, the essential technologies are usable now, but the wider ecosystem and uptake is still in their infancy. I think it's clear that most mainstream web developers are not currently using these technologies to build production-grade decentralized applications.

There are many reasons for this, but one is a lack of high-quality developer tooling. Moving from traditional client/server architectures to building decentralized applications requires developers to replace many day-to-day debugging & testing tools with manual logging, custom scripts and guesswork. This tooling gap makes decentralized development significantly more difficult. The goal here is to fix that, by providing modern tools for the future of the web.

This is funded as part of the NGI Pointer project, funding me as an individual to work on this for a year, with all the resulting output to be available under free & open-source licenses (of course, HTTP Toolkit is conveniently already 100% open-source, so that's no change at all). If you're interested in the future of the web and you think developer tooling matters, I hope this is very exciting!

If you're an existing HTTP Toolkit user though and you're only interested in HTTP, don't worry. This is equity-free R&D funding, so HTTP Toolkit remains a completely independent open-source project, and although there's some crypto involved, it's just at the protocol level. HTTP Toolkit is not going to start issuing coins, gambling on NFTs, demanding to connect to your wallet, or anything of the sort. If you want to ignore the new features completely, that's totally fine.

Notably in terms of ongoing development, this is not going to be a full-time commitment, and a significant proportion of my time will still be spent on continuing to support & develop the existing HTTP-focused functionality alongside this. There'll be plenty of crossover too, and I'm confident that many of the new features & UI improvements for decentralized protocols will prove valuable to HTTP-only users along the way (notably there's a huge UX overlap between WebRTC & WebSockets debugging...). That's the high-level summary. Let's dig into the details.

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NGI is funded by the EU to build "a European initiative for a Human Internet that respects the fundamental values of privacy, participation and diversity".