BlogThe AT Protocol Developer Ecosystem

The AT Protocol Developer Ecosystem

April 21, 2023

by Jay Graber

the AT Protocol

The AT Protocol already has a growing developer ecosystem. Although some protocol components are still under development, we’ve made it a priority to simplify the complexity of building on top of it. This effort extends to not only new clients, but also new experiences, such as algorithmic choice and composable moderation.

Today we’re shipping app passwords, a short-term solution for authentication that will let users experiment with new clients without having to fully trust them with their passwords. In the long term, we plan to implement SSO (Single Sign-On) with scoped permissions.

We published an atproto ecosystem overview on GitHub awhile ago, but did not widely publicize it until we had an auth solution that didn’t put user credentials at risk. With the release of app passwords today, we’re ready to share it! There are AT Protocol implementations in 6 languages, and 13 clients across web, iOS, and Android:

There are also many projects building on the “firehose” of Bluesky app data. Some highlights include a VR experience with a feed you can spatially explore and an avatar that summarizes recent activity in the network for you, and a heatmap generator that plots a user’s posts like a GitHub commit graph.

a VR environment rendering posts from the at protocol

Created by

This is only the beginning. If you’d like to explore more, here’s a longer list of projects in the atproto ecosystem so far.

A big part of our development philosophy has been to build on existing software stacks that make interoperability simple. For example:

  • All the data in the atproto ecosystem is valid IPLD and can be manipulated and explored through existing IPFS dev tooling
  • Our top level handles are simple DNS text records
  • We use the DID specification for our identity layer
  • Our API is well specified and is simply JSON over HTTP

The Bluesky app demonstrates how a microblogging client can be built on the AT Protocol with an intuitive user experience. However, there is still much more to be done to fully explore the potential of this architecture.

Our core dev team is currently focused on finishing the AT Protocol. Our near-term priorities are open federation with account portability and shipping moderation tooling, as described in our March update. If you’d like to join the conversation, feel free to join our Matrix dev chat*.

Thank you for following atproto’s progress! We’re excited to share more with you soon.

*In August 2023, the Bluesky team transferred ownership of the Matrix chat to the Matrix team. It is no longer officially affiliated with the Bluesky team.

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