Sneak peek at the largest Waasabi update to date
Published on June 29, 2021 by Flaki
Admin

If you happen to be in an experimentative mood, you can now preview the huge upcoming Waasabi update that we have been working on in the past months! We are working hard to polish up any rough edges, and document the new workflows and changes, but in the meanwhile if you do take Waasabi for a spin, make sure you pop by our Matrix channel, and please file bugs, should you run into any, on the respective repos!

Now let's dive in what's in the new update! You will find a couple highlights below, and expect a more full-featured list when the new release drops.

Completely rebuilt installer experience

The Waasabi Setup utility ("waasabi-init") has been completely rebuilt from the ground up to be more flexible, more maintainable and generally more powerful!

A whole arsenal of brand new features is stlated to landing in Waasabi in the coming months, and making it a breeze to configure these is for a new installation is one of the a primary goals of the  project.

Brand new Peertube integration

It has been on the roadmap since the very beginnings to allow Waasabi to integrate with multiple streaming backend services. This new Peertube integration is one of the first things coming out of the work sponsored by a recent an NLNet NGI0 grant awarded to the Waasabi project to develop innovative, peer-to-peer streaming solutions that further reduce the instance's dependence on global silos.

The Peertube integration is implemented via a plugin that gets installed and configured automatically during instance provisioning, and provides real-time notifications about the status of live streams on the Peertube instance. The plugin can also be installed separately - connecting an existing Peertube instance to a Waasabi instance, or potentially even to create integrations around Live video with other services!

Peertube is the first in a variety of supported video streaming backends for Waasabi, with many more to come. There will also be support for other self-hosted video streaming providers, integrated straight into Waasabi: owncast.online is one such project that is high on our list. Waasabi will now also be able to integrate multiple streaming video providers at the same time, providing unprecedented flexibility for experimentation.

Brand new Matrix chat integration

The Matrix chat integration that we have already teased before is coming to Waasabi! The installer can now configure and set up a Matrix integration completely automatically (note, that an existing Matrix server and registered bot account is still required).

The current integration is still pretty basic, and we are yet to bring over some of the advanced features that we showcased at RustFest last year, but we are working hard on getting these implemented as soon as possible. Also, with the backend API integration and live UI pieces land, adding integrations to other chat services will become much easier and we plan to support integrating with other services out of the box - even simultaneously.

Completely rebuilt Live experience from the ground up

Similarly to the installer, the Live experience ("waasabi-live") has received a large overhaul as well. A lot of these changes affect the architecture and remain behind the scenes, but perhaps the largest improvement has been made in customizability of the live experience.

Through the use of "branding packages" anyone can customize the live experience to exactly match their liking, down to the last detail! This does not need to mean simple theming (although it is reasonably straightforward to just change some colors, replace a couple images and fonts), but the entire layout, and even the JavaScript and CSS can be fully customized through overrides.

While we built the default Live experience to provide a reasonable default for people evaluating Waasabi, or spinning up a quick instance for a meetup or other community, Waasabi's real strength lies in the backend API it provides that can be used together with any frontend, built from scratch for straight into one's existing website. Once the Live experience provides a good starting point for most, we plan to release other "starter" kits that showcase this for other frameworks and portal systems.

Behind the scenes updates

There has been loads of behind-the-scenes changes, many of the components have been fully rebuilt and more robust than ever. The installer now can take care of provisioning a database and even automate a lot of the tasks that wasn't possible before. The local development story is improving as well with the introduction of LXD (replacing Multipass as a virtualization backend), and many more quality-of-life improvements are planned in this area as well.

Thank you!

Thank you for reading the update and supporting the project — if you find this project and its goals useflul, please consider supporting here on Open Collective! Feel free to drop by the Waasabi chat with any questions, and stay tuned for further updates.