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Sunday, February 06, 2005

Paper Airplane 0.1.1 Released

I am proud to announce the alpha release of my software baby, Paper Airplane 0.1.1.

Paper Airplane is a Mozilla plugin that empowers people to easily create collaborative P2P web sites, without setting up servers or spending money. It does this by integrating a web server into the browser itself, including tools to create collaborative online communities that are stored on the machine. Paper Airplane Sites are stored locally on a user's machine. A peer-to-peer network is created between all of the Paper Airplane nodes that are running in order to resolve group names and reach normally unreachable peers due to firewalls or NAT devices.

Please see the Paper Airplane installation page on how to install it.

Paper Airplane's still alpha and there is much more work to be done, but there is alot of blood, sweat, and tears in what's here. I hope you enjoy it and I look forward to hearing your feedback.

Once you install the Paper Airplane XPI and restart the browser, what you will see is a toolbar that will say that it is initializing and signing you into the Paper Airplane P2P network. When that process is finished, you should see three textual icons (none of the Paper Airplane icons have been brought into the GUI yet). These icons are New Site, New Page, and Edit Page. Click the New Site button; a page will load in the browser. Choose a name for your new P2P site, using any ending you want; the Paper Airplane DNS is distributed across peers in the network and do not use the legacy DNS. I always like to use "" as an example to signify what happens when you blow open the domain space. Press the button and in a few seconds you should be redirected to your new P2P site, which is collaborative in the same way Wikis are. Press the Edit Page button to edit your page, add some text, and then press Save. Press the New Page button to create a new page on your P2P site. If you type the name of your site into the browser location bar, it will resolve this domain through the P2P network. You can also type other P2P domain names of others in the network to resolve sites they have created with Paper Airplane, even if they are behind a NAT, a firewall, or a country that doesn't allow free speech.

In Paper Airplane, a tremendous amount is going on behind the scenes to make all of this look really simple. Thats one of the goals of Paper Airplane, to make this stuff look like magic; more work remains to take this forward. By the way, most of Paper Airplane is built above P2P Sockets and JXTA, so you can start up custom command-line services on this P2P web using P2P Sockets, or even script the network level using the JXTA Shell. The Paper Airplane P2P web provides different kinds of entry points for different kinds of people; end-users can use Paper Airplane, developers can script the P2P web using P2P Sockets, and serious hackers can work with the P2P network at a deep level using JXTA and the JXTA Shell.

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