Sand Dunes & Digital Mires

An Interview With Community DApp Developer Edward / part 1

Photo by Leon Kobus on Unsplash

Edward, one the community members in the SAFE forum, announced the alpha release of SAFE.NetworkDrive on Windows a few weeks back.

So we took the opportunity to get to know him a little better, why he loves SAFE and to carry out a deeper dive into his project.

Enjoy!

Hi Edward, thanks for your time. Can you start off by telling us a little about yourself?

I’ve been developing systems for CMS, accounting, credit rating, finance and things like that for a few years. But I was always most interested in automation and interfacing with mechanics. As for specific technologies and practices, it’s been all-out C#, a lot of Azure, and very much Event Sourcing, CQRS and DDD, as well as microservices and DevOps. I was at my previous workplace for 4 years developing a system from the ground up. Now I’m going to take some time off before jumping on a new project. I gave all my life to that project, so now I’m going to breathe some air, see my family, spend time with my 1 year old son — and develop for SAFENetwork!

I started studying at Uni relatively late. Before that I lived a couple of years with a quite bohemian life: I travelled, met a lot of people and tried to understand myself and others. I lived out of a backpack and was striving to grow socially and as a person. I didn’t care much for anything else — technology, work, career, studies. I hung out with arty people, musicians and cared most of all about living in the here and now. I probably wanted to compensate for my early teens because I didn’t do much IRL socializing then, mostly playing online multiplayer games, and before that reading books and wandering in nature.

Then at some point I just had enough of the outgoing life. I longed to refine my skills, utilise my talents for learning and solving problems, and start building something for the longer term. I spent the following 10 or so years with my nose in books, staring into screens, learning, working, building. I’ve always been like that: I immerse myself so fully and totally into what I do. As long as it’s something I have a motivation to do, I’ll eventually be very good at it. Fortunately, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve also become more of a master at maintaining my motivation, seeing where it should come from to stay strong and true.

So how did you discover SAFE — and why choose to spend your time here instead of on another project?

My first contact with crypto was as a student. With free electricity in my student apartment I was planning to set up a mining rig. It was after the first boom, and it was not obvious that the investment would pay back, so I dropped the idea (it would of course have paid off :D).

I then got involved when Ethereum showed up. I was just intrigued by autonomous things, like vehicles or organisations etc. Then, while absorbing all of that, MaidSafe flickered on the screen one day — and after having checked it out, I was convinced by a couple of things. Not only was the technology presented in a much more accessible way than Vitalik’s talks (which I thought would mean a much higher chance of broad adoption). But it also became more apparent as I delved deeper, that the tech was vastly superior as a long term solution. I’ve looked at other things briefly since, but nothing else yet comes close to the ambitions and qualities combined, as far as I have seen.

The concept of SAFENetwork, everything it does, and will do, is something I dearly want to see in this world. As a developer, I can also see that the technological foundation is massive and I can see that there is so much skill there, so much hard work going in and constant progress being made.

One very important aspect is the technological side of it. Another is the culture of the company and the community. It’s very open and friendly. The SAFENetwork has a very diverse community and it wouldn’t have formed if it wasn’t for what MaidSafe the company itself is. They’ve gathered together people with honesty and integrity and I, for one, appreciate that deeply. It’s just an amazing thing to see it combined with such skill and quality of the technology.

Thanks for the kind words — it’s down to having such great support from you the community. We got in touch for a chat because we’re impressed with the work you’ve been doing. Do you want to tell us a little about what it is and why?

It’s a virtual drive. A windows application that shows up as a drive in Windows Explorer, just like any external or internal drive you attach — but with the data stored to the SAFENetwork.

So, you can move any file to and from that drive, create your folders and so on, all the normal stuff. You can install and run software from it too. I ran SAFEBrowser v.0.11.1 from it!

You can manage your drives and even remove all traces of them from the local computer.

Once you have connected, you can even work offline without noticing it, and everything gets synched to network when you are connected again.

I chose this specific project because I was looking for something to use my database engines for — something that would be useful for everyone. Another member of the community (@happybeing) had been developing a virtual drive as well, but in javascript. I got inspired to solve the problems I saw presented, and saw how I could do that with the database engines I was working on and got very excited to try it out. I am not very productive in javascript, so it was natural to do it in C#.

But it also tied in very well with what I need and desire myself: basically I just want my data to exist securely, wherever I am, for me only and virtually ‘for ever’
And even though not everyone considers that top priority, they still have the problem with keeping their digital life secured and sustainably organised, whether they know it or not. Everything digital rests on sand dunes and mires, but we’re so used to it being fragile, volatile and chaotic that we see it as normal, not realising how much energy we waste with all of that.

We’ll soon be in a time where the digital world is something as solid and concrete as the ground you walk upon, while remaining as private as your own thoughts. Every part of that path that you walked, will still be there, 20 or 40 years later (or more..). No more lost files or data. No more Libraries of Alexandria. And naturally, you want all that to be simple and intuitive.

Want to keep reading? Follow the link for part 2