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socialiter - wanna be something


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socialiter is proof-of-concept social network that experiments various backend architectural choices.

socialiter is built using the Model-View-Controller pattern on top of aiohttp. The jinja2 library is used for rendering the view.

socialiter wants to proove that a complex application can be developed and operated more easily as a monolithic service using the right abstractions. That's why socialiter use FoundationDB.

Getting started

If you are on ubuntu or other debian derivatives try the following:

make init

For other distribution it's recommended to use LXC and install Ubuntu 18.04.

How to contribute?

  • Read the README and the code
  • Pick a task in the the roadmap (see below) or in brainstorming
  • Create an issue describing your plan
  • Fork the repository
  • Create a branch
  • Code + Tests
  • Commit
  • Submit a pull-request

Thanks in advance!


  • 2018/10/03 - What Are The Civilian Applications

    • Continous Integration
    • Basic Data Persistence
    • Example use of see
    • Basic Feed Reader
  • 2018/12/31 - Unfortunate Conflict Of Evidence

    • Fork sparky as yiwen:

      • add validation based on predicate
      • opt-in indexing
      • packing machinery
    • Counter: small wrapper around FDB atomic operations

    • Search [WIP]:

      • only english is supported
      • index
      • search
      • crawler for
  • 2019/01/31 - Pick a Culture ship at random

    • Basic Task queue
    • Example Unit Test that mocks a coroutine
    • Basic TODO
    • Basic Wiki
    • Basic Forum
    • Basic Paste
    • CSRF Protection
    • Deployment strategy

Functions for the win

socialiter use a lot of functions. There is nothing wrong with classes. In particular there is no Object Data Mapper (ODM) or Object Relational Mapper (ORM) abstraction per se.


Socialiter rely on FoundationDB (FDB) to persist data to disk. Becareful the default configuration use the in-memory backend. The goal with this choice is double:

  • Experiment with higher level database abstractions (called layers FDB jargon) on top the versatile ordered / sorted key-value store offered by FDB.

  • Experiment operations of FDB from development to deployement of single machine to multiple machine clusters.

src/socialiter/data/space/ offers an abstraction similar to RDF / SPARQL. It implements a subset of the standard that should be very easy to pick.

To get started you can read FDB's documentation about the Python client. Mind the fact that socialiter rely on found that is asyncio driver for FDB based on cffi (which is the recommeded way to interop with C code by PyPy).

Of course it would be very nice to have well-thought, easy to use, with migration magics. socialiter proceed step-by-step. Implement, use, gain knowledge, then build higher level abstractions. When things seem blurry, do not over think it and try something simple to get started.


yiwen is small RDF-like layer which support a subset of SPARQL.

Simply said, it's a triple-store.

Let's try again.

Simply said, yiwen stores a set of 3-tuples of primitive datatypes (int, float, tuples, str and bytes (ie. dict is not supported as-is)) most commonly described as:

(subject, predicate, object)

But one might have an easier time mapping that machinery to:

(uid, key, value)

The difference with a document store is that tuples are very unique! Which makes sense since it is a set ot tuples. Otherwise said, you can have the following three tuples in the same database:

("P4X432", "title", "")
("P4X432", "SeeAlso", "")
("P4X432", "SeeAlso", "")

This is not possible in document-store because the SeeAlso appears twice.

Querying in RDF land happens via a language "similar" to SQL that is called SPARQL. Basically, it's pattern matching with bells and dragons... That being said, yiwen implements only the pattern matching part which makes it possible to code things like the following SQL query:

SELECT post.title
FROM blog, post
WHERE blog.title=''

Here is the equivalent using yiwen:

patterns = [
	(yiwen.var('blog'), 'title', ''),
	(yiwen.var('post'), 'blog', yiwen.var('blog')),
	(yiwen.var('post'), 'title', yiwen.var('title')),
out = await yiwen.where(db, *patterns)

That is you can do regular SELECT without joins or a SELECT with multiple joins in a single declarative statment. See the unit tests for examples.

See this superb tutorial on SPARQL at

Mind the fact, that since yiwen use fdb.pack for serialiazing a triple, lexicographic ordering is preserved. That is, one can defer complex indexing to upper layer namely the application ;]

Styles Style Guide

  • Do no rely on LESS or SASS
  • Only rely on classes and tags
  • Avoid class when tag is sufficent to disambiguate
  • Prefix class names with component name to avoid any leak
  • Avoid cascade ie. all styles must appear in the class declaration (ie. it is not DRY)
  • When it makes sens, be precise in the selector (most of the time it must start with #root.root-class)
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