Portal is a content platform within Urbit. With a friendly and intuitive interface, Portal allows users to interact with each other by sharing information, applications, groups and more. But before talking about the application’s features, see how to install:
Installing the Portal app
For Portal, look for the application developed by ~worpet-bildet and click on the portal option.
Another way is to type in the app search bar for ~worpet-bildet/portal, to go directly to this developer’s app.
In the window that shows some information about the application, click the “Get App” button.
In the pop-up, click on “Get portal” to start the installation process.
After installed, click on “Open App”.
When you open the application, you will see a screen like the image below.
Understanding the main menu
At the top of the page, there are some options, which we will detail below:
• Feed: news feed from the application and access to user and pals search.
• Explore: a listing of applications and groups available on Urbit.
• Feedback: link to the Feedback and support group.
• My Profile (icon): profile editing.
This is the first page that appears when you access the application, and it is similar to Facebook’s News Feed. Here you can view and interact with other users’ posts, as well as recommend Urbit apps, groups, and post images.
Portal’s feed is global, everyone posts to and views the same feed.
For app recommendations, those you have already installed will appear on the list, after all, you can only recommend something you know, right?!
Likewise, the list of groups to be recommended are the groups that you participate in.
In addition to posts, on this page, you can search for curators (Portal users) using the search bar on the right side of the screen.
And, if you have the Pals application installed, your pals will also appear on this page.
To view the collections and activities they’ve done, simply click on them, and the information will be shown.
In this menu, you will have access to a listing of some applications and groups from Urbit. You can use the tabs to filter between Apps, Groups, People and Collections.
In these tabs, some applications and groups that you have already used and others suggested for you to install or join will be listed. The same concept applies to people and collections.
By clicking on the “New to me” tab, only new applications and suggested groups will be listed.
You can install a new application directly through the Portal, just click on it in the listing and then on the ‘Install’ button on the right side of the screen, as illustrated below.
Similarly, you can join a group by clicking on it in the listing and then on the ‘Join Group’ button, as illustrated below.
By clicking on this menu, you will be directed to the “Feedback & Support” channel of the application, where you can leave your questions or suggestions.
In this menu, you can edit your profile, which will appear when a search for your user is made in the app. Click on ‘Edit Profile’.
Now, change your name, write a Bio, enter the URL of your avatar or cover image, and click ‘Save’.
In the “Collections” tab, your created collections appear. To create a collection, use the ‘New Collection’ button. Then enter the collection name, description (optional), and click ‘Next’.
To recommend groups you participate in, select them from the list and click ‘Next’. If you do not want to do this, just click ‘Next’.
Now select the apps you already have and want to recommend and click ‘Next’. Or just click ‘Next’.
The next step is to add users you would like to recommend. For this, click on ‘Add’, if not, click on ‘Next’.
If you chose to recommend users, type their name in the corresponding field, as in the example below, and click ‘Save’.
To add more users, repeat the process by clicking ‘Add’, if not, click ‘Next’.
The final step is to recommend links or images, whether they are hosted on Urbit or not. Click on ‘Add’. If you do not want to share items at this stage, click on ‘Next’.
Fill in the fields as requested and click ‘Save’.
The result will be shown on the next screen, as in the example below. To add more links, repeat the process by clicking ‘Add’. If not, click ‘Save’.
Done! Now your collection will appear in your profile.
In the Activity tab, all your posts made in the feed appear, and it also allows you to make new ones right there, without having to go to the Post menu.
Note: The application is constantly being updated, so this page may undergo changes. The team will soon be aggregating %blogs, %groups posts, and mirroring all of portal to the clearweb to serve as an onramp to Urbit.
Portal is a tool to improve discovery on Urbit. A global content hub is important for Urbit mass adoption, especially for new users. Portal accomplish this while maintaining data self-sovereignty by storing the feed as a central index (on ~worpet-bildet) which is a list of pointers to posts stored on individual ships.
The data for every post is self-sovereign and lives on each user’s device – the feed is pseudo-centralized in that when posting, you tell ~worpet-bildet to add a new pointer in the feed – a pointer to your post on your ship.
*Explaining these concepts for beginners:
Data Self-Sovereignty: This term means that each user has complete control over their own data. The data lives on each user’s own device or ship, not on a central server controlled by a third-party company (like how Facebook or Twitter store your data).
Central Index on ~worpet-bildet: In this context, ~worpet-bildet is a specific ship (or server) on Urbit that is being used to maintain a centralized list of posts made on the Portal application. However, this doesn’t mean the content of the posts is stored on this ship. Instead, it stores “pointers” to the posts.
Pointers: A pointer is a reference to the location of the data, rather than the data itself. In this case, it’s referring to a specific post made on someone’s personal Urbit ship.
Pseudo-Centralized Feed: This phrase is used to describe the structure of the social network. Rather than storing all data centrally (like a traditional social network), only pointers to the data (post) are stored centrally. The data (post) itself is stored on each user’s personal server (their Urbit ship).
Posting and Updating the Feed: When you make a post, you’re telling ~worpet-bildet (the ship that maintains the central index) to add a new pointer to the feed. This pointer points to your post, which is stored on your own ship.
So, in simpler terms, Portal keeps track of all posts made by users, but instead of storing the actual content of the posts itself, it only keeps a reference to where the post is stored (on each user’s personal ship). This method keeps the principle of data self-sovereignty, as each user still maintains full control over their own data. It’s a way to make the content more accessible and discoverable for new users, while still adhering to Urbit’s core principles of user data control.
Special thanks to developer ~toptyr-bilder for reviewing this material.