Considering the central role that browsers play for a majority of computer users today, the elusive search for just the right one that provides both privacy, features and speed seems to be never ending.
Many ideas and products have been tested, some more successful than others, in an attempt to provide alternatives in a browser market that is now to all intents and purposes dominated by Google’ Chrome.
But Beaker, that has just had its first full release, is quite a departure from the usual browser concept: it shifts the model from centralized, to peer-to-peer decentralized.
Its developers call it experimental, and explain that it lets users create and publish websites thanks to the list of features that includes the browser incorporating “a whole code-editor and website files explorer.”
The browser is free and open source and developed by the Blue Link Labs startup, that champions a decentralized web based on peer-to-peer technology. In line with this, Beaker uses the peer-to-peer method to allow users to host websites on their devices instead of a web or third party server.
Some might not be entirely convinced that the best way to go about developing for the web is to skip learning how to administer servers, use the command line and version control programs like Git – but that is what Beaker allows users to do. Even if you’re in that camp
there’s no denying that Beaker, as presented by its makers, exemplifies “ease of use” and dramatically lowers the barrier to entry.
This way of building and hosting sites is described as useful in several scenarios, such as for educators and students, dev teams who want a quick way to prototype and collaborate, and, thanks to the underlying technology, also for “decentralizers.”
The reason for calling the browser experimental, however, becomes apparent when its developers explain that Hypercore Protocol (described as a mix between light blockchain and BitTorrent) replaces HTTP – meaning that websites built and hosted using Beaker are not accessible from other browsers.
The idea seems to be to keep building a decentralized userbase and thus “expand the niche” that the innovative browser currently occupies. The project is released under the permissive free MIT software license.