FreeTube Updates and Plans for 2021

Hey everyone!

The new year has finally come through for everyone in the world at this point. I want to wish everyone a happy new year as well as talk a bit about some things going on with FreeTube along with my plans for future updates going into 2021. There's some important information here so please take a moment to look over everything.

Future Updates

One of my goals for the new year with FreeTube is that I'd like to push out updates faster / more frequently. Having the automated nightly builds has helped a bit with this, however there isn't much of a reason to hold off fixes or features from everyone if there isn't a reason to do so.

My mindset on this has been that updating an app like FreeTube as a user isn't very fun and can be annoying to deal with. I try my best to make an effort to give users a valid reason to upgrade, where the next update has a variety of fixes or features instead of just one small fix per update. I fear that this will discourage users from upgrading in this case which is why I space out new releases.

One way to help with this would be to move up automatic updates in the road map. This would make it much more convenient to update for Windows / Mac users, however some Linux users will be left behind depending on their installation method of choice. Users installing via Flathub already have the benefit of automated updates, so I encourage anyone to download through there if possible. I likely won't be able to do automatic updates for all Linux builds so I'll have to see which ones are worth supported and how possible / difficult it is to do so.

I'm curious on everyone's opinion towards this. Do you want to see more frequent, yet smaller updates? Or should we keep doing less frequent, yet larger updates? Getting all of this figured out and setup will likely be time consuming, which will halt any other features or changes, so that needs to be taken into consideration if I prioritize this. Let me know through our various social streams.

Road Map

There's an exciting list of updates that I want to work on for FreeTube in 2021.

For v0.11.0, I want to finally bring FreeTube back to parity with the old v0.7.3 before the rewrite happened. This means bringing back the Tor proxy functionality, along with having an initial implementation of playlists. The playlist implementation will behave similarly to the old “Favorites” functionality, though once fully implemented, your favorites will move to a “Favorites” playlist instead. Also in this update, I'd like to revamp the About page to open it up for translating as well as add / update some links and information there.

For v0.12.0, I'd like to finish the playlist implementation and add some smaller features like allowing the user to choose where their data is stored on their machine.

After this, it may very well be time to work on getting FreeTube out of beta. We've been in beta ever since we've released and we're close to possibly removing that label. We'll be focusing on fixing bugs, setting up automatic updates (assuming we haven't done this already) and just overall polishing up what we can before hand.

I realistically believe that this can be done. I would consider this a successful year if these are the only things we get done with FreeTube. This doesn't mean that nothing else will be done though. There's always bug fixes and pull requests that are usually merged to add to our ever growing features set, so we're unlikely to stagnate in that regards.

Even if we finish all of this, there's still a huge laundry list of features that I'd like to get done at some point. Things like WebDAV sync and a web release of FreeTube are already in the backlog, so those are also things that could end up being next on our road map. I don't want to promise too many things as the progress on everything here is dependent on my motivation / free time to work on everything. Either way, the next few updates are looking promising.

FreeTube Browser Extension Update

I didn't really have a great place to mention this, so I'm just going to add this here.

A few users are likely aware that FreeTube has a Firefox extension that can open up YouTube links into FreeTube. It works in most situations however the functionality has been less than ideal and has been neglected essentially ever since it's been released.

Starting today, I'll be deprecating the freetube-redirect extension. It just hasn't been something I've been keeping up with and doesn't seem to be worth my time any more to support. The repository will go into read only sometime this month, though I'll keep the extension up in the Firefox store.

This doesn't mean that there won't be a solution any more, quite the opposite in fact. A while ago, the much more popular extension, Privacy Redirect added support for FreeTube in their browser extension. It has many more features such as also redirecting to Nitter, Invidious, Bibliogram, and OpenStreetMap along with having much better logic for redirection than what my extension did. You can enable FreeTube redirection in their advanced settings.

From now on, I will be directing users to use this instead of my own extension as the experience will generally be better and will lower the amount of extensions installed in their browser. You can download the extension on both Firefox and Chrome.

The last thing I will mention about this is that if you use the extension and you find an issue about how FreeTube handles a link, please send the issue to me instead of the developer of the extension. Issues you have with the extension and FreeTube is 99% of the time going to be a problem with FreeTube itself and not with the extension. Please send issues with the extension over to the FreeTube repo on GitHub so that I can properly fix it.

I want to thank Simon Brazell for his work on the extension and also to thank him for including support for FreeTube. Please consider supporting him through Liberapay if you enjoy the work he does.

Finishing Up

I think that's everything I wanted to cover. Hopefully 2021 ends up better than 2020 did for everyone. I'll likely be slowly getting back into development as the month goes on, so be on the lookout for more FreeTube updates.

I want to thank everyone for their continued support. 2020 was a big year for FreeTube and I'm extremely pleased with how FreeTube and the community has come along through out everything.

If you'd like to discuss these updates, feel free to join us over on Matrix, Reddit, or Mastodon.

Take care!