CryptPad in 2021: an overview

26 Aug 2021 5 min read

  

Written by

XWiki Team

Notable features, improvements & milestones that have happened so farEdit

Rebranding

The beginning of the year welcomed CryptPad with more than resolutions and wishes - instead, the team brought a redesign to the CryptPad brand and how it's visualized. CryptPad 4.0.0 was the culmination of a great deal of work in search of the right metaphors and imagery to clearly represent what CryptPad is all about. The rework included everything from the logo and color theme to text on static pages, and the icons throughout the platform to convey calm and safety for its users.

cryptpad logo, preview of applications and new illustration style

Thanks to the refactoring of styles across the platform, it is now easier to make themes for CryptPad. The first of such themes is the long-requested dark mode that follows the browser or operating system preference by default. However, it can also be set manually in the Appearances tab on the setting page so that all of you dark mode lovers can enjoy a more aesthetically pleasing UI. 

cryptpad-darkmode.png

Research projects

Most new development on CryptPad is funded by European Union research projects. This year the team has completed the following three projects:

  • Secure Mobile Collaboration: funded by Next Generation Internet (NGI) Trust €75K
  • CryptPad for Communities: funded by NLnet Privacy Enhancing Technologies €50K 
  • Load time improvements: funded by Mozilla Open Source Seed Award €10K

And two more are currently ongoing:

  • Dialogue: funded by NLnet Privacy Enhancing Technologies €50K 
  • InterOffice (INTER-operable Office File Formats Integrated with Client-side Encryption): funded by NGI Data Portability & Services Incubator (DAPSI) €100K. If you'd like to read more in-depth about this project, you can do it in this interview

For each of these projects, the team is able to implement new functionalities and improvements to benefit all users. The list below highlights some of the new features developed as a result.

New Features

Documentation

CryptPad is now fully documented at docs.cryptpad.fr . This dedicated space includes an FAQ, as well as extensive user, admin, and developer guides making it the best place to go if you have any questions or are looking to make the most out of CryptPad and its functionalities.

Calendar

CryptPad now includes a calendar application. Calendars can be shared like any other document, including with teams.

f425f6bdb59f3885.png

New forms application

CryptPad now allows you to create forms for polls and surveys. The first Beta version is already live, with improvements currently in development. The team gathered extensive feedback over the summer and is now addressing issues and adding functionalities accordingly.

6cd8be0c8a5161c5.png

Improvements for instance admins

Along with the new admin documentation, many improvements have been made to make managing a CryptPad instance easier. Some settings have been moved to the admin panel to avoid having to edit configuration files. The /checkup/ page provides diagnostics and guidance when installing CryptPad.

Better mobile support

After some prototyping, the team decided against developing native mobile apps and, instead, will focus on improving performance and making CryptPad more like a progressive web application. The result is both improved performance and layout on mobile devices, as well as a new caching system that will eventually allow CryptPad to operate while offline.

...& even more

In addition to these "big" features, many other improvements have been made to refine the stability, performance, and ease of use of CryptPad. For example, Spreadsheets are now much more reliable. Even more, thanks to a community volunteer, CryptPad is now fully translated in Japanese alongside French, English, and German. Many other languages are partially translated and open for contributions.

The team has also increased the communication about their work with the monthly status blog posts as well as a public roadmap to keep track of what they're is working on, the various research projects currently underway, goals, releases, and more.

Talks & conferences

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

FOSDEM

2021's events started with FOSDEM, as usual. The event was held 100% online, and while it couldn't come close to the live alternative, it was still a good reflection of it.

David Benqué, who joined the CryptPad team also two years ago as a designer, held a talk on Communicating CryptPad presenting some of what has been achieved and reflecting on the challenges ahead. 

During the XWiki " Collaborative Information and Content Management Application" devroom, Aaron MacSween, the project lead, talked about Living on the edge with CryptPad, touching on the technical challenges faced by the team during 2020 and the massive influx of users working from home which pushed to further scale CryptPad.

Open Tech Will Save us

In March, David took part in the monthly Matrix Open Tech Will Save Us meetup. This episode was an art & design special, with a great lineup, where he had the opportunity to talk about CryptPad and dive into what's it like working in a small team and div while splitting tasks between design and product. 

3rd Workshop on Obfuscation

CryptPad was featured as part of the 3rd Workshop on Obfuscation, a fascinating online event running on Open Source software. The team presented, in the exhibition space, a carefully crafted poster highlighting CryptPad's features, goals, and what it stands for. - poster

Things to look out for the rest of the yearEdit

With the Dialogue and Interoffice projects still under active development, there are many things to look out for on CryptPad in the months to come. New features and improvements are coming to Forms, and research is currently underway to determine which import/export functionality is most used/needed to move documents to and from CryptPad. Once the survey is complete and analyzed, the team will continue to work to improve these document conversions. To make sure you don't miss any of it, feel free to follow the updates from the team on Twitter, Mastodon, or check the dedicated releases page.

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.

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