The origin of Datapult came from a simple question. Almost all the digital artifacts I generate as a person are on my phone; photos, videos, music, notes, etc… and almost every app I have used on my phone has some built in sharing. If I’m recording a voice memo or typing up a journal entry or recording a video I have the option to share my creation out to the world. I don’t think this is a surprise to anyone. So with something as powerful and share-centric as web3, why can’t I get anything from my phone to IPFS?
Perhaps I have just missed the ‘easy button’ for this and it’s obvious to everyone but me. Or maybe it’s a thing no one wants. We shall see. Either way, this ‘why’ question was what got my gears turning around the project we are calling Datapult. At it’s core, Datapult is meant to make it easy to get content you create on your mobile devices out to the distributed web. I wanted to know what unknown unknowns exist in the decentralized storage space. How mature is it? What tools and frameworks exist? How do the service providers work? Etc… I was also interested putting the concept of Datapult out into the world to see if it resonated with anyone. Have other’s tried to make something like this and failed? Perhaps I’ll find out along the way. The ‘why doesn’t this exist?’ question itself was interesting enough to pursue it as the first Team Zero project. We believe that whatever we learn will be useful on our journey to validate and build all our other projects. So any efforts in this social media data upload app area would not be wasted.
Of the components in Datapult, storage is the obvious first. Where are we going to put the files? IPFS yes, but what is the best way to get them there. Thankfully there are many really interesting options to choose from. Here are some of the ones we have looked at.
Textile - When I first saw this I thought this was it. It’s a really simple and well-built platform for exactly what we needed; get files up to IPFS. From what I gathered from a video by the company founders a “photo sharing app” was part of their origin story. Alignment seemed good! Looking a their current offerings I thought with a combination of Powergate and their Buckets concept they could definitely be the storage system for Datapult and then some.
NFT.storage - We have used this on a past project and it worked out well. I liked this concept but because it was just for NFTs (sorta) I didn’t see why I couldn’t use it for any image or file that wasn’t actually an NFT. But then I learned of Protocol Labs’ (the maker of NFT.storage) other project Web3.storage
Web3.Storage - This is the logical successor to NFT.storage and has some additional features that make it the first choice for us to try. It’s clean API and free (up to a 1T) made it perfect for the POC version of Datapult. It also uses IPFS and Filecoin to make sure your files are pinned and stored for the long term. They have example code and their API is very straightforward. I like how in addition to pinning the files for you they also take care of the Filecoin storage deals so your content is backed up there too.
So there are several compelling offerings. Always a good problem to have. While a really think Textile is a powerful platform it seemed a bit too complicated to tackle right out of the gate. After all, the technical side of this product will be complex enough. Not to mention we want to get something out for people to try as fast as possible.
Web3.storage seemed like the closest thing to what I had in mind soI tried the Web3.Storage quick start and it worked great. I launched my first image into web3. With this first test Web3.storage was the clear service to start with for the Datapult storage requirement. Now on to the next challenge!
This is an active project so there will be more to come! If you’re not familiar with the Datapult project you can read more about it here. Follow along on Twitter when we drop updates here on our website.