I had an idea and wanted to get some initial feedback on it before I run off and create a FEP. I was thinking about the difficulty a lot of people have interacting with content between servers. Especially when they’re still new to navigating a federated social network. Suppose a person has an account on a fediverse server, but they’ve gotten a link to some content on a different server. The link sends their browser to the host server, as it should. But now they’re unable to interact with the object, unless they go through the awkward and potentially confusing task of logging into their “home” server and attempting to search for this object. I was prompted in this line of thinking by some responses to a mastodon poll I’m running about the difficulties of joining the fediverse. These are a few examples:
I think this can be significantly improved by establishing a common url scheme that can be used when referring to activitypub resources. Activitypub web apps can register themselves with the user’s browser as a custom handler for that protocol. Then the browser will open URLs with that protocol by sending them to the registered web site. This is the same mechanism that powers special browser handling for tel: and mailto: links, but generalized to application-defined schemes. For reference, these are the MDN docs on that browser feature:
If activitypub servers use a common custom scheme for these links, then it can reliably be used across hosts and implementations, and even from sites that are otherwise disconnected from the fediverse. For example, I could place a link on my blog like
<a href="activitypub:tech.lgbt/users/jenniferplusplus>View my profile from your home instance</a>, and it would work.
So, am I overlooking anything here? Is there a reason not to do this?