Tapestry: What About?

On Mastodon, Alex Chaffee points out some of Tapestry’s shortcomings. These are all valid concerns and I’ll deal them individually here (rather than with a long toot thread).


Building for iOS first is a strategic choice. There is a lot of work to do here, and many new concepts that need to be designed and developed, so we’re picking our battles carefully.

Personally, I’d prefer to do a macOS client first, but iOS is a choice that makes the product available to as many folks as possible.

We also get asked a lot about supporting Android and that’s something, like macOS, that we will look at after we have a strong footing with this new concept.

But what about the web?

Another platform we get asked about frequently: can Tapestry be a web app? We covered this in a FAQ, but I’d like to add a little more detail here.

The only way a web app could be done is if there’s a server to marshal requests to the various services. Since we want the privacy and independence of a device-only design, that option is off the table.

If you’re working in a single browser window as a web app, you put all of your code into a single secure JavaScript context. That’s not a problem, but any code you pull in will need things to communicate with all of the services, and in most cases that will leak private authentication data like OAuth/JWT keys and tokens. All it takes is one malicious plug-in to make your life hell.

The root of the problem is that Tapestry’s fundamental design is different than a web browser. The easiest way to think about: it’s an app that asks a bunch of browser tabs if they have anything new to show. Each tab is secure and none of them know what the others are doing. The results that each tab provides are aggregated and displayed to the user.

This design is wholly different from the web we’ve known, but is just as flexible and adaptable. Building a new thing for the community of the open web is what excites me most about this project. Giving folks tools to be creative is what the web has always been about.

Closed source

Right now, the core of Tapestry is closed source. We have put some components up on GitHub and are also fully documenting an open API to that proprietary core. Teaching is a part of that openness.

Again, we are in the very early days of this project and have no idea where things will head. It’s like if you had asked me in 2006 if a shithead would be running the show in 2024.

I think it’s important to think about how Netscape Navigator was a proprietary product until Mozilla happened. Establishing a new idea is a first step; letting it flourish is another.

All I can say at this point is that I’m fully committed to letting this idea flourish.


There is no such thing as a proper web scraper for authenticated content. It’s a cat-and-mouse game where the scrapee wins in the end. We have every reason to believe that Facebook or Instagram will go to great lengths to protect “their” data.

On the other hand, if you want to get standardized information from a page, such as OpenGraph, that’s already something we’re doing.


The prototype I built (named Muxer) was able to post to Mastodon and Micro.blog. But it’s a harder problem than you first think.

The issue is that each service has a different set of capabilities. On Bluesky, you can’t post video. On Mastodon, you can post polls. With RSS, you can’t post at all. Size limits and file formats differ wildly (including between Mastodon instances).

You quickly end up in a situation where a user interface gets confusing. For example, you have a video ready to post on Mastodon and decide that you’d also like to send it to Bluesky. As soon as you do that, the post button gets disabled and it’s hard to explain to a user why that happened.

It’s also not clear in my mind if cross-posting between services is a good thing or not. Once you have an app that can display information from many different sources, it quickly gets annoying to see duplicates.

As we learn more about this product, and what people want from it, we’ll have a better idea of how to handle posting.

And more…

I’m always happy to talk about Tapestry and explain the thought processes behind it. If you have questions or concerns not covered here, please feel free to reach out on Mastodon.

And, of course, everyone at the Iconfactory would love your support for Project Tapestry.