About the project
Project Name: CryptPad
Collaboration suite, end-to-end encrypted and open-source.
Team: Aaron MacSween, Yann Flory, David Benqué and Ludovic Dubost
CryptPad is built to enable collaboration while keeping data private. All content is encrypted and decrypted by the browser. This means documents, chats, and files are unreadable outside of the session where you are logged in. Even the service administrators do not have access to your information.
Achievements from the first phase of the DAPSI programme
As a part of our NGI DAPSI project. we made CryptPad a lot more interoperable with popular office formats while preserving privacy through end-to-end encryption. We completed most of the technical work on converters that enable CryptPad to import and export MS Word, MS Powerpoint, CSV, and Open Document formats (in addition to MS Excel that was already implemented). These formats are taken for granted, but most platforms perform these types of conversion on the server, which means it must have access to the content of documents. We used Web Assembly to perform conversions in the browser, meaning no un-encrypted data leaves the user’s device, as it is the case with the rest of CryptPad. We also added additional imports/exports following feedback from users: Trello boards can now be imported to CryptPad Kanban. Our Rich Text application can now export Markdown, and the import/export of Calendar is improved.
We introduced two new applications to make the most out of these new conversion capabilities: OnlyOffice Document and Presentation. We released them as early access to test them with our subscribers on cryptpad.fr and opt-in instance administrators. This new way of releasing new applications was part of broader conversations about future strategy with our DAPSI business coach.
Preview of the new “Open in…” feature. Right clicking a compatible file in the drive shows this menu
We started integrating the new conversion in the CryptPad interface. Previously, office formats uploaded to CryptPad were treated as static files. They can now be converted into a CryptPad document and then be edited in the relevant application. To inform further user-interface work in phase 2 we also conducted user research through a survey and one-to-one interviews. This helped us assess people’s needs in terms of import/export of documents to ensure CryptPad fits well in existing workflows. Analysing the survey results, we were able to assess that our technical work covers nearly 70% of the import/export pain-points reported by users at the start of the project.
Being part of DAPSI phase 1 funded our time to work on some long-awaited document conversion features for CryptPad. Making our product more interoperable is key to its long-term success, as it will allow people to more easily transition away from big platforms and towards our more privacy-focused alternative. DAPSI’s support did not end with funding development time however. The addition of business training and mentoring sessions helped us refine our strategy to make CryptPad financially sustainable.David Benqué