Direct Access to P2P File System from Browser

Brave browser is adding native support for the IPFS network. This might well be that brings this global P2P file system into the spotlight for the general public.

According to “IPFS Support in Brave,” Brave is going to be able to recognize and handle URIs with ipfs: and ipns: prefixes (which denote their respective schemes), both of which refer to resources on the InterPlanetary File System (IPFS) network. Unlike the URL resources with the http/https schemes, which employ the location-based addressing, the IPFS resources employs the content-based addressing. The IPFS URIs therefore do not contain any information at all about where the content is stored.

Generally speaking, to allow accessing the resources on the IPFS network, IPFS gateways exist, some private, some public. Ipfs.io is one of the latter, and CloudFlare also provides cloudflare-ipfs.com. There are three “resolution types,” or the ways IPFS resources are mapped to HTTP URLs on IPFS gateways, i.e., pathsubdomain, and DNSLink.

Brave, when its IPFS feature is enabled, uses an IPFS gateway to resolve IPFS URIs by default, although Brave currently does not seem to support DNSLink. The other supported way is to install and run a Go-implemented IPFS node, and access IPFS resources through it.

IPFS-specific features are not limited to the latest incarnation of Brave. If your browser is Firefox or a Chromium-based one (including Brave), then you can use IPFS Companion add-on. This add-on seems to have more features than what Brave’s native counterpart offers. It requires a local IPFS node by default, but probably this can be changed by appropriate configurations.

Beaker Browser is to Hypercore (or more specifically, Hyperdrive) what Brave is to IPFS. As an added bonus, Beaker allows you to create and manipulate Hyperdrives from within Beaker, including editing sources. Gateway Browser is somewhat like a mobile counterpart to Beaker Browser, but it is supposedly in alpha. See also “ウェブサイトの「閲覧」だけでなく「公開」もできる異色のブラウザ「Beaker Browser」レビュー – GIGAZINE.”

So far I cannot find a browser plug-in/add-on that enables access to direct Hypercore/Hyperspace resources from browsers.

Agregore Browser supports supports multiple P2P network protocols, such as IPFS (ipfs: and ipns:), Hypercore (hyper:) and Dat (dat:).

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