Hello Coralie, bon jour,
Checking in, yours is the first message of the day.
You are very welcome, and let me clarify what those are (thanks for asking, as this is not a complete article yet – I was just searching and collating the information last night).
These are a bit different in idea, compared to the Mastodon, or Glitch-Social, or Pleroma instances.
Pinafore is a Fediverse client for all 3 of those packages mentioned. It is hosted somewhere (the place we use to connect and load the client), and not in our personal devices. This has the advantage of being easy to keep up-to-date – any new release version can be pushed to the Host system and clients only need a page Refresh to reload and get the most current Pinafore loaded.
So, we need a source in the web, somewhere, to connect to and load Pinafore.
For most people, that will be the project default server, Nolan’s own Pinafore.social
Once you open the server page, the Pinafore code is downloaded to your device (desktop, laptop, mobile device) – and from that point on, it’s completely executed on the Client side.
The client will connect and communicate directly with the user’s instance, so there is no risk of a rogue Pinafore source in the web acting maliciously. Nolan took great care to make sure this happens, and for us users, this is a peace of mind as well.
When Pinafore is loaded, the first stage of using it is Authenticating - logging into the user’s chosen instance. The first time we use it, there will be a dialogue window asking what instance to connect to; then it will take the user’s input and go fetch an Authorization session with the user’s home instance.
If that is successful - the correct username and credentials are accepted - the user’s instance will now be talking directly to his client, via API (Application Programming Interface) calls. Page requests, new Toot composition, Feed selection, etc. Normal usage, as in other clients.
While the Pinafore Source Instance sits there, without touching any of that traffic, which is great for
- speed, as no third party is involved.
- safety, as all data is stored locally, client side.
- economy, as the cost of hosting a Pinafore source instance is quite low.
Nolan mentioned that his hosting costs for the major and most known instance pinafore.social is only $15 USD per month, which is amazing!
A small Mastodon instance will easily cost more than that per month, and as it grows, the hosting costs escalate quickly (Qoto’s mastodon is over $100 USD per month currently).
Why List Pinafore Instances then ?
A good question – and for many users, all they need is to know the easy to remember URL for the main one. But there are cases where having one other, or more, can make sense. Examples :
- an active user who enjoys following the development of Pinafore could use the Dev instance, to see, use and evaluate the most current Beta version.
- this is also helpful to Nolan and anyone else helping with the code development, as the users can test and report on their impressions, any bugs, suggestions.
- for the user himself, this can be a way of avoiding a Known Bug in the current mainstream version.
I clearly qualify under all of those, lol, although I am not current enough in programming (it’s been many, many years since) to help in development, I can certainly test and report back, plus give suggestions.
Yesterday I finally solved a problem I had – an Error 404 when trying to compose a new Toot here at Qoto.org. This was observed while running the default version, default host source.
- Replying to any Toot was not a problem and worked as expected.
- However, creating a brand new post generated a 404 (Page or File not Found) error. I reported to Nolan, and we talked briefly.
- Following his suggestions, I traced the traffic in Firefox Developer mode (F12 key option) and – fount that a file was really missing, an error in the instance. ‘status’ is the file, and it was not being provided when called for.
To my great joy, loading the Beta version at https://dev.pinafore.social/ solved the problem immediately – all worked as expected.
The error seems real, and my finding it can be helpful to other users, even of different client software, as asking for that file is a valid API call. @Freemo will need to look into this (I attrib’ed him in a post while talking about it).
OK, great – But what about regular less Geeky users?
“Normal” users probably have much less need for the extra possible sources of Pinafore to load in their devices. They should be fine with the default source.
Why then list these, other than Geeky Obsessive Behaviour ? LOL, good question, glad you asked! Here’s some possible ideas why one could use other sources.
- you might want to have TWO user accounts at the same mastodon Instance. Say me, @design_RG and @rgx are both valid, and both mine. The main account is my default and most known Fedi ID, while the other is a backup – and prevents someone from registering it, with a name I use elsewhere.
- To use two accounts, I would configure the normal Pinafore source with the main account. And use a secondary source (say, Todon’s Pinafore) as a second one.
- each one will run in a browser tab, and I could be logged into BOTH accounts at the same time.
- which works perfectly as they are self-contained, all data is within each session.
Example of how I could use it also ? I am a Staff member at Qoto, and besides my personal account could use a secondary pinafore server to access the Qoto Announcements account.
This is the official Qoto source for “Oyez, Oyez, Oyez, all users !” type of material.
And Freemo knows I should have access to it since I am the most polished Writer in the local crew.
Ok, but I am not Site Staff either - Why bother ?
For Coralie, let’s say. You are a bright and curious user, discovering many things, hanging out with the cool crowd and found an elite instance here, eh.
But you might someday think about using more than one Pina source :
- to sort out a growing list of mastodon, pleroma, etc accounts into shorter lists; say one Pina for all the main accounts you use most often.
- and a secondary one with less frequently visited ones.
And more, I think this is pretty long already and clearly developed as a Blog post source, so thank you for the inspiration once again!
Any questions, just ask, and I will clarify. I will be using this for a new Blog page, and your comments and questions might help it be a better one. Merci!