Protocol Handlers for DWeb URIs

This is work in progress. Some vendors support DWeb natively, some enable limited support via browser extensions:


Users of the distributed web want to get content from a network of peers rather than a specific server.

If the browser vendor does not support distributed web schemes natively, there should be an API that allows a WebExtension to register itself as the handler for new protocols, and can return responses to the browser.

Right now, only possible to register custom protocols handlers statically, from the manifest.json, where a uri is mapped to a url template, and a separate, centralised service must be maintained to handler the mapping. The custom protocol handler can only redirect the user to an (http) url, it cannot return content directly to the browser. The redirect is visible in the browsers url bar, and the original uri is no longer visible to the user.

Need: More powerful API for browser extensions

Using protocol.registerStreamProtocol in Electron as a starting point:

browser.protocol.registerStreamProtocol('ipfs', (request, callback) => {
  const {cid, contentType} = extractInfo(request)  // an exercise for the reader
  const stream = ipfs.files.catReadableStream(cid)
    statusCode: 200,
    headers: {
      'Content-Type': contentType
    data: stream
}, (error) => {
  if (error) console.error('Failed to register protocol')

This example shows how you would add a handler for the ipfs protocol and have it return a file retrieved via the IPFS network as a stream to the browser.

This is just a mockup based on prior art from Electron. The new API should leverage the latest JS features, such as async iterators.