Everything you need to know about Pixelfed’s Micro UI

Pixelfed, the federated image-sharing platform, has been developing an alternative interface for the last few months. The resulting product comes across as an extremely attractive blend of the best elements from Tumblr and Instagram. While it hasn’t officially been released on the flagship instance, the project’s creator has offered a plethora of screenshots and animations detailing what the experience will be like. Here’s everything we know so far.

1. Micro will support long-form statuses

Part of the new design aesthetic that comes with Micro is the deliberately Tumblresque interface, which supports four post types out of the box: text, photos, videos, and audio.

Drafting a long-form rich text post

One particularly interesting possibility here is that this may create inroads for various fediverse platforms to federate with systems that don’t provide just statuses, such as PeerTube and Funkwhale. While nothing is set in stone there, the PixelFed creator has expressed some interest in federating with both platforms in the past.

2. It won’t be the default frontend

Micro is designed to cater to a specific experience that differs from the Instagram-like UI that Pixelfed ships with. Treated largely as an experimental design project, Micro instead emphasizes multiple post types beyond just images. Still, the creator of Pixelfed has emphasized that the photo-sharing UI is intended to be the primary core experience for the platform.

3. The version that ships with Pixelfed won’t initially support text-only statuses

Dansup recently communicated that a lot of refactoring needs to be done for Pixelfed to support text-only statuses. By default, Micro UI for Pixelfed won’t support text statuses in the beginning, but it will be supported for Pleroma and Mastodon.

4. It won’t just be limited to Pixelfed

A recent announcement indicates that Micro will be spun off as an independent Pixelfed Labs project, and will be provided as an alternative UI compatible with Mastodon and Pleroma. This is very much in line with other alternative fediverse web clients, such as Pinafore and Halcyon, which do not specifically ship with an underlying backend.

All in all, we’re really excited about these new developments, and can’t wait to see.

Sean Tilley

Sean Tilley has been a part of the federated social web for over 15+ years, starting with his experiences with Identi.ca back in 2008. Sean was involved with the Diaspora project as a Community Manager from 2011 to 2013, and helped the project move to a self-governed model. Since then, Sean has continued to study, discuss, and document the evolution of the space and the new platforms that have risen within it.

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