IPFS Information Solutions Series Part V here! IPFS offers a lot of practical functionality for the information distribution landscape as we know it. In the earlier blogs of the IPFS Information Solutions series, we discussed how IPFS works and the in-depth information challenges it can address. In this blog, we discuss how IPFS functions and the many benefits it provides to developers.
As a developer, how applications handle data is vital to the app's efficiency. Traditional centralized servers pose risks, including single points of failure and latency. Using IPFS, the actual content is what is important, and location is secondary.
Any content can be uploaded to IPFS. Pinata makes this as simple as clicking "upload" or dragging and dropping on your Pinata account. Unlike a file on your computer, content on IPFS is addressed by its content rather than its location. Every piece of content on IPFS has a unique hash (CID, or Content Identifier), which is used to identify the content. You can also pin to IPFS using that CID.
So, why choose IPFS? The answer lies in decentralization. Your application can retrieve content directly from the network's nodes, and content is identified by the content itself.
When you or another user wants to retrieve that piece of content, you do so by providing the CID. CIDs have immense benefits. Since the CID identifies the content, not the location, there is an added layer of verification. If content is altered or tampered with, it will have a different CID; this can flag to you that the content has changed. For content like real estate, medical records, scientific findings, and financials, CIDs give IPFS tremendous value. We’ll discuss the benefits of IPFS to different industries in the next blog post in this series.
Your request for the content goes to the IPFS network, which is a peer-to-peer network. A device running IPFS is a node in the network. These nodes then communicate directly with each other to retrieve content instead of using a central server. IPFS can then direct requests efficiently by locating the nodes requesting the content. This enhances the application and increases the speed of content retrieval for a better user experience.
"Pinning" content to IPFS by CID ensures the content is accessible even if the original uploader goes offline. It's a developer's dream – a decentralized, resilient, and efficient way to handle data.
The same benefits apply to data distribution and data integrity. With decentralized architecture, distributing content across a peer-to-peer network is cost-effective. Traditional centralized servers are expensive and risk downtime or slow performance at peak times. IPFS creates efficiencies that reduce these risks. Entire applications can be built on the IPFS network. In addition, the CID associated with any piece of content is fixed. If the content changes, so will the CID. By using IPFS, developers get the bonus of data integrity.
Lastly, IPFS is open-source; the community is growing and built on connections. With Pinata's recent launch of Workspaces, sharing and collaborating on IPFS is now easier than ever. Using Pinata's web app, you can upload to IPFS while working with multiple team members and multiple organizations.
IPFS is about empowerment. Whether you need efficiency, scalability, a cost-effective solution, collaboration, or all of the above, Pinata can help.
February 3, 2024
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