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Tent.io is a project that is a "suite of distributed networking protocols" and alternative to OStatus. The goal of Tent is to allow for the proliferation of many different "apps" that manipulate a user's data while keeping the data layer consistent. This way, users have a single location for their data and a single authentication provider instead of having their data spread out across many apps. The Tent protocol is also beneficial to application developers because they no longer have to handle data hosting and authentication.

While Tent has been characterized as a "distributed social network" and many of the first apps using the protocol were primarily for microblogging, the project's goals are much broader. The core Tent developers have put a very high emphasis on security in hopes that Tent servers will eventually be used to store sensitive data such as medical records, financial transactions, etc.

There is a sample instance running at https://micro.cupcake.io/

No IndieWeb community members are using it on their own site.


Tent.io has been pitched (no pun intended) as a single project distributed social network solution:
Tent is decentralized, not federated or centralized. Any Tent server can connect to any other Tent server.

Anything pitched as a single project by name, e.g. "Tent server can connect to any other Tent server" [emphasis added] is likely to inevitably descend into a monoculture.

@graue and it is obviously why Tent is listed here too http://indiewebcamp.com/monoculture


Reinvention of OStatus


Poor Community Handling

@graue the sad thing is, I'm kind of on my way to taking a pause from Tent like you're doing because of how they handle the community :-(

Shadow Web

@jeena that devs should target Twitter use-case specifically not make do-everything protocols. Also feel Tent creates a shadow web, failing

Dropped support for own domain

it died for me after a update where I wasn't able to use my own domain/server anymore[5] ... the devs told me that this is not a priority for them, and now, 6 months later it still hasn't been fixed[6]

Breaking Changes

When version 0.1 of the Tent protocol was released in late 2012, it received an enthusiastic response from application developers, who were quick to create many different apps based on the technology. However, version 0.2 introduced many API changes to the protocol that broke existing apps. As a result, many developers lost enthusiasm for the protocol and chose not to update their apps.

A similar culling of developers happened with the change from 0.2 to 0.3. Additional changes to the API are planned for version 0.4, but it's still not clear what the scope of the changes will be.

The Tent core development team has repeatedly stated breaking changes to the API will continue to happen until the protocol reaches 1.0, at which point it will be 'frozen'. As a result, many app developers have simply chosen to shelf their projects until the API stabilizes.

Stagnant Development

Since the Tent 0.1 announcement, the core development team has undergone a number of structural changes that have pushed back development of future Tent versions. The company under which the core developers operate was renamed Cupcake in order to prevent confusion with the Tent protocol, and they are currently focusing their efforts on Flynn, a PaaS product through which they get most of their funding. The Tent core developers have stated that work will continue on Tent once Flynn is complete.

Does Not Solve Real Problems

2013-02 Why I don't use Tent.io anymore

I used to think the Tent.io protocol was a cool idea and a great project. See, for example, the unchecked enthusiasm in my previous post on the subject. Not anymore.


Overall, I don't think the developers really understand the problems social software solves. [...] They seem to think anything and everything should be a Tent.io app — no focus.

... if you are looking for decentralized social software that solves real problems and has a shot at relevance, then you, and I, are going to have to keep looking.


Articles about Tent.io:

See Also