Trunk & Tidbits, April 2024

Renaud Chaput


Andy Piper

Developer Relations

Welcome to the first in a planned ongoing series of updates from the core Mastodon engineering team. We’ll also take a quick look at what’s been happening around the broader community.

What we’ve been working on

The Mastodon 4.3 release is around the corner - we only have one big feature (grouped notifications) to finish before the first beta release! Let’s dive in on some of the most important things that have been merged lately.

Changes below are available to users of instances that are running a recent “nightly” version (like or, and will come in the 4.3 release.

Web app and Backend

  • interface This is from March, and it will probably make a lot of people happy: you can now configure Mastodon to use the light or dark theme depending on your device setting! Github PR #29748 (by nshki and renchap)
  • interface A better design for the Profile page in the Explore section. This is the last part of multiple improvements to profile recommendations that will be in 4.3 Github PR #30059 (by Gargron)
  • new feature After adding notifications for severed relationships (when an admin blocks an instance and it makes you loose followers or follows), we added a new notification when a moderator sends you a warning (it was previously only an email and some people missed it) Github PR #30065 (by ClearlyClaire)
  • security Merged initial support for ActiveRecord Encryption, which will allow us to encrypt some fields in the database so they do not appear in clear text in the database or backups Github PR #29831 (by mjankowski)
  • performance Ruby 3.3.1 official support, providing a 15% performance improvement compared to Ruby 3.2 (this number comes from our metrics on Ruby 3.3.0 had multiple bugs with YJIT, but they seem to all be fixed in 3.3.1. Support for Ruby 3.0 has been dropped as it reached EOL. Github PR #28013 (by mjankowski and vmstan)
  • api New read:me scope in the API, to request read-only to the user’s account (and not to every accounts like read ) Github PR #29087 (by ThisIsMissEm)
  • api The web app should stop resetting the home timeline marker everytime you open it. This should make the marker API usable for syncing timeline position in native clients. If you are a developer and want to use it, please send us any feedback about this feature so we can improve it. And expect the web app to (correctly) sync the position at some point in the future! Github PR #22721 (by davbeck)

As always, many bug fixes or refactors to make the code cleaner and improve our test coverage have been merged. Shout out to Matt Jankowski who has been driving a lot of upgrades, modernisation, test improvements and other refactors to the backend.


  • A new release with improved polls, the return of the local timeline, better explore tab, and multiple smaller changes and fixes (release notes)
  • The iOS app is still undergoing a behind-the-scene large refactor to make it easier to work on. We are focused on improving it’s stability, and adding the most-requested missing features.


  • A new version adding support for the new “filtered notifications” feature that will be released in 4.3 and some small changes and improvements (release notes)
  • Working on an experiment on to show a non-intrusive, easily dismissible banner to donate to the project, similar to what Signal is doing. This is the first step of a bigger project to try to have the Mastodon ecosystem financed by its users and, if it proves successful, will be slowly expanded with more features (specifically, the ability for donations to go to server admins)

What’s coming

These items are actively being worked on…

  • new feature Grouped notifications API: with this feature, notifications like boosts, follows or likes on the same post will be grouped if they occur a few hours appart, and will show “X, Y, Z and 12 other accounts liked your post”. The UI is not complete, and we want to experiment with it a bit to see if it works. This required significant effort to implement without causing performance issues, but we think this should make notifications much better! Github PR #29889 (by ClearlyClaire)
  • api A new batch fetch API to get multiple accounts or statuses at once Github PR #27871 (by noellabo and ClearlyClaire)
  • performance Adding support for using libvips as our image processing library, which should make image operations more secure, much faster and require less memory Github PR #30090 (by Gargron)
  • performance We are trying to ship OpenTelemetry support in 4.3, to provide server admins with very useful operation data, and to drive our performance work. Github PR #30130 (by robbkidd, julianocosta89 and renchap)
  • developer Work is ongoing to move our frontend build system from the deprecated Webpacker Gem to Vite, a more modern, faster and simpler bundler. It will not block the 4.3 release if not ready in time, but is near completion. Github PR #24981 (by renchap)

In parallel to all those projects, recruitment for a new full-time core developer position is still in progress and we have been meeting with amazing people.

Looking further ahead, work is in progress to more clearly define a plan for Quote Posts. This will in part be funded by the awesome folks at NLNet through their NGI0 Entrust fund. The first part of the work is working on specifications, and we hope to be able to publish more details on what we plan to implement soon.

We are also improving our documentation to help people to contribute to the project. This can seem daunting, but there is now a pinned issue in the main repository to point you to some good entrypoints, like some confirmed bugs, or features that we know we want, are well defined and are small enough for an individual to tackle. Expect more progress on this front in the next episode of this series!

Around the community

We’re always excited to see the different ways that developers embrace Mastodon. Here are a couple of things we spotted this month. If you’re building something, let us know about it (you can use the #MastodonAPI hashtag, if you like)

In case you missed it

We shared a couple of big news stories during April:

We were also excited to see our friends at Ghost announcing news to join the Fediverse, along with Buttondown!

Thank you for your support

That’s it for this month - thanks for using Mastodon, we hope you’ll help spread the word to others and get them to join us all in building better social media.

Thank you for supporting Mastodon

We develop and maintain the free and open-source software that powers the social web. There is no capital behind this—we rely entirely on your support through platforms like Patreon.