Overview of CryptPad in 2023

31 Jan 2024 5 min read

Written by

The XWiki Team

2023 has been a full year, filled with hard work, team changes and development of new features and improvements to the existing ones. If you're eager to know what's next, you can also keep an eye on CryptPad's team public Roadmap across the year and on the CryptPad GitHub repository (for now).

Notable features, improvements & milestones

πŸ’Έ Projects & Funding

2023 was definitely a stepping stone for CryptPad funding-wise as you can see for yourself below.

  • CryptPad Blueprints: Funded by NLnet through the NGI0 Entrust Fund, Theo von Arx, our former intern studied and published a whitepaper summarizing the use of cryptography in CryptPad. This whitepaper is part of the CryptPad Blueprints Project and aims at paving the way towards the “next generation” of the project. A few other deliverables that range from documentation to experimental prototypes, but not limited to, will be released by the team starting with 2024:
    • Guide for users on how to use CryptPad in the most secure way;
    • Experimental prototypes and/or mockups for future features:
      • Offline first editing with Conflict Free Replicated Data Types (CRDTs);
      • Perfect forward secrecy for a more fine-grained degree of access control e.g., to the document history;
      • Account-recovery mechanism making use of social secret sharing.
  • CryptPad AUTH: Signed with NLnet as part of the NGI ASSURE program, this project's goal was to bring more security to CryptPad through support for external authentication methods. Thus, the CryptPad team worked and delivered 2-Factor Authentication (2FA), available since the 5.4.0 release, and Single-Sign-On Authentication (SSO), available as a plugin.
  • openDesk (ex-Sovereign Workplace): This is a major German governmental project that advocates and works towards a digital sovereignty future. It's led by the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community and is commissioned by the IT Council. The funding from this project was used to deliver a new Diagram application based on draw.io, a NextCloud integration, and the team also did a lot of work on security and accessibility issues.
  • France Cloud collaborative office suites: This is an unprecedented €667 million euros investment that aims to transform key sectors of the French economy through technological innovation. Thanks to these projects, the CryptPad team has funding for the next 3 years, in particular for the integration APIs and the OnlyOffice integration.

🐳 Docker container

This was a much requested demand for people to deploy CryptPad using Docker. Thanks to Promasu, one of the members of the community, 2 years ago the first Docker related files became available. In 2023, the CryptPad team took over the task of maintaining the Docker container on GitHub.

🚦 New list of public instances and availability

 You can now check the availability of the main flagship instance, CryptPad.fr, and other websites maintained by the CryptPad development team through the public CryptPad Status. Furthermore, you can see all public instances listed on the CryptPad website on the CryptPad Instances Status.

πŸ—ƒοΈ GitHub re-organization

Although the CryptPad team plans to move out of GitHub in the future, until then, some good old reorganization was very necessary. Therefore, the main CryptPad repository, documentation, and blog have been moved to the CryptPad Organization. That's where you can also get the latest code. The rest of the projects and packages are still under XWiki Labs and will be moved out in the future as well.

πŸš€ New features and integrations

New Diagram app

With the rollout of version 5.4.0, a new Diagram application was released as an integration of Draw.io into CryptPad's encrypted real-time collaboration. You can try it for yourself on CryptPad.fr.

CryptPad-overview-2023-Diagram-app

Authentication methods

  • 2FA: This was the first deliverable for the CryptPad AUTH project and a much awaited feature. You can now protect your account with 2-factor authentication using one-time passwords. Check out this tutorial on how to enable it on CryptPad.fr and this one on how to enable 2FA on your CryptPad account.

  • SSO Authentication: The team brought to life a part of the much awaited SSO authentication in CryptPad instances starting with 5.6.0. The 2nd piece of this feature is a plugin which will be released in 2024.

Nextcloud integration

This integration was brought to life by Wolfgang through the openDesk — Sovereign Workplace project. Now you can use encrypted real-time collaborative sessions on diagram documents stored on a Nextcloud instance.

XWiki-CryptPad-Nextclou-Integration-2023

Moderation and deletion features

The CryptPad team successfully introduced a new functionality allowing administrators to archive entire accounts, encompassing all documents where the account is the exclusive owner. This implementation enables admins to take stronger actions in content moderation scenarios where multiple documents breach the instance's terms of service. In addition, the new features played a crucial role in enhancing user communication by addressing confusing messages related to document inaccessibility due to deletion, password changes, and other factors. With the rollout of CryptPad version 5.5.0, users now receive more transparent and informative messages.

Accessibility and mobile fixes

In 2023, the CryptPad development team has also focused on improving the accessibility of the product for full Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) compliance and providing numerous mobile fixes.

Miscellaneous

Besides all the new features and improvements, the team also worked on a few other enhancements: 

  • Mermaid.js was upgraded to 10.2.4 adding more diagram types such as mindmap and timeline.
  • A new setting that allows you to destroy all the documents you own in one click is available.
  • The team upgraded the OnlyOffice applications with fixes for some import/export bugs for office documents.
  • Form application now has Condorcet voting results (ordered list questions), a new question type (Date), allows duplication of a question, as well as fixed bugs, and a few other improvements.
  • Calendar events has a description field as well as many other improvements and bug fixes.
  • End-to-end testing suite was put into place using Playwright which will improve the quality assurance of CryptPad.
  • You now have a setting to set the number of teams for subscribed users of an instance. 

Seminar hackathon projects

Each year the XWiki SAS seminar includes a one-day hackathon where teams mix and work on innovative or neglected ideas. The final two projects that made it into the CryptPad team's list were:

  • Tree view of where to save documents and files: The sprint resulted in a usable prototype. See the screenshot below and the branch on GitHub.
  • Mobile bug hunt: The team took the hackathon opportunity to list as many mobile bugs as they could. The result: a list of 41 issues.

XWiki-2023-hackaton-Crypt-Pad-tree-view-prototype

New pricing for hosted instances

In 2023, new pricing options for hosted instances were released, catering specifically to organizations and companies eager to contribute to the project's long-term stability. The CryptPad project website now features dedicated pages for EducationNonprofits, and Enterprise, providing a platform to showcase instance customizations and present compelling arguments for adopting CryptPad in these sectors. Additionally, a transparent pricing structure for managed instances was introduced, with distinct plans for Enterprise, Nonprofit (at a 50% discount compared to Enterprise), and Education (also at a 50% discount compared to Enterprise, with only staff being counted).

While self-hosting remains a free option for all users, the CryptPad managed instances offer an avenue for companies and organizations to actively support the ongoing sustainability of the project. The team remains committed to further refine the cloud and business offers as they continue to work on enhancing CryptPad's features and accessibility.

Talks & press & conferences

On top of all the work done, and constant improvements brought to CryptPad, the team has also taken part in various (virtual and physical) events and conferences.

πŸ“£ Talks

  • FOSDEM 2023 — The CryptPad team had 3 presentations about the privacy and collaboration inside CryptPad and what challenges do open-source alternatives face when it comes to the Big Tech.
  • Open Research Webinars — This online event consisted of a series of webinars organized by OW2 and the Eclipse Foundation. Its goal is to raise awareness of software research projects that help shape the future of open-source software and the IT industry. Our colleague, David Benqué, held a webinar about CryptPad, our end-to-end encrypted and open-source collaborative office suite.

  • Capitole du Libre — During this event, CryptPad was present on a stand that was quite well-received by curious attendees, as well as during two talks by Ludovic Dubost and Clément Aubin about FOSS as a job and openDesk.

  • Grenoble-Alpes University — Fabrice presented CryptPad at the Jean Kuntzmann Lab seminar. His presentation centered on the cryptography used in the project and the challenges ahead.

πŸ“° Coverage

CryptPad team's work is being recognized, with features in:

🎀 Conferences

Besides the CryptPad and XWiki SAS team giving presentations around CryptPad, the two teams also brought more awareness to the software. Last year was definitely packed with events attendance such as Univention Summit, Cloud Expo London, Digital Workplace Paris, Journées du Logiciel Libre in Lyon, NGI Forum, and Open Source Experience.

Community translation program

Up until now, volunteers from the CryptPad community took it upon themselves to provide translations of the product, while the development team maintains the English and French translations. Because the CryptPad team wants to show its appreciation and reward these contributions, a program was officially documented to offer free plans on CryptPad.fr.

Our team

Over the year, the team grew a bit, from 6 to 8 people, with a couple of changes:

  • Wolfgang Ginolas: joined the team at the start of 2023 as an R&D Engineer. He came with 14 years of experience in full-stack software development and his contributions have been visible in 2023 (NextCloud integration, OnlyOffice integration).
  • Zuzanna Łudzik: joined as a junior developer and has been working on improving the Quality Assurance for CryptPad.  She studied neuroscience and climate science before retraining as a software engineer and working for charities and educational companies.
  • Daria Burghelea:  joined CryptPad for a summer internship with a focus on front-end and accessibility, and now works as part-time, continuing the work she started.
  • Diana Voineag: also joined CryptPad for a summer internship with a focus on end-to-end testing and automation tests. The same as Daria, Diana now works part-time in the CryptPad development team, continuing the work the started.
  • Fabrice Mouhartem: joined the team with a hybrid role, split between research on how to get CryptPad post-quantum ready, and contributing features and bug fixes to the code. He just finished his cryptography research in his PhD thesis at École Nationale Supérieure (ENS) in Lyon, France.

In 2023 the team also said goodbye to Aaron that stepped down and ensured a natural and smooth transition with David, the new CryptPad team lead. Also, the collaboration with Arnaud Laprévote and Faye Duxovni couldn't be continued.

What to look forward in 2024

Exciting things are on the horizon this year:

  • Improvements to the OnlyOffice integrations;
  • Potentially monthly contributions to the cryptpad.fr/blog beyond the monthly status;
  • Expanding the team in 2024;
  • Increasing efforts to make CryptPad easier to test-deploy on Cloud and customize in 2024.

CryptPad wouldn't be what it is today without the numerous fundings, subscribers on CryptPad.fr, contributors, and everyone who has donated to our OpenCollective campaign. If you'd like to go a step further and support CryptPad and help its development and effort to take data privacy back, you can always make a donation on Open Collective or subscribe on cryptpad.fr.

Last but not least, if you enjoy using CryptPad, you can also endorse the project through the Testimonials Survey on behalf of a person, organization, company, or institution.

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