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GSoC 2021

The Beginning

Hello, I’m Kai. I’m a computer science student at the KIT in Germany. This year I am participating in my second Google Summer of Code at the GNOME foundation to work on Fractal. My mentor is Julian Sparber, who works towards end-to-end encryption in Fractal and already gave me a warm welcome. I created this blog to keep everyone interested updated on my progress over the course of the summer.

Fractal Logo
Fractal Logo

For those who don’t already know, Fractal is a messaging client for the GNOME desktop powered by the Matrix protocol. In the last year the ecosystem on which Fractal is built changed dramatically (GTK 4, matrix-rust-sdk) and the current code base shows its weaknesses. With those considerations, Fractal’s developers came to the conclusion that a rewrite from scratch is the best way forward. This undertaking is called Fractal NEXT.

My goal for the Summer of Code 2021 is to bring Fractal NEXT to feature parity with the current Fractal code base. There has already been a lot of work on the architecture and groundwork for the new Fractal over the last months, but the current implementation is still bare-bone.

The main features remaining to be implemented are room management and account management as well as support for more message types. I will start by implementing the elements required to work with rooms and its members. This will mainly manifest in a room settings panel that allows editing of the room avatar, title and description, inviting and kicking members and managing their power levels. Account management will resemble the account page of the current Fractal with options to edit the user’s avatar, name, third party identifiers and the device list, and also the possibility to deactivate ones Matrix account. Another small but important thing will be the addition of shortcuts for all actions, so Fractal is more accessible, and power users will feel at home.

I am very glad to be able to work on Fractal for this Summer of Code and hope it will be a lot of fun.

Also check out Alejandro’s blog, who, too, contributes to Fractal this summer by implementing multi-account support.

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