Following on from the previous post, we have an update from zil0 on his GSoC project, which entailed implementing E2E support in the Matrix Python SDK.
The goal of my project is to implement Matrix's end-to-end encryption protocol in Python, as part of matrix-python-sdk. My mentors are Richard van der Hoff (richvdh) and Hubert Chathi (uhoreg).
Some parts of the work consist in wrapping around the cryptographic primitives implemented in libolm (via Python bindings), in order to handle encrypted events. Others are less straightforward, such as tracking device lists of users, or finding the right way to persist keys and related data between startups.
An interesting aspect of this project is that I am working on a new part of the Python SDK, while also having to integrate with existing code, which is a cool balance between freedom and guidelines.
As the encryption documentation is a bit outdated and incomplete, one (fun) difficulty is to look for information across old issues, Gdocs and source code (and asking my mentor when in doubt). For anyone trying to implement E2E, it should be better by the end of the project, as I am currently working on documenting the missing bits.
I have had a great experience so far. Working on an open source project differs from my previous coding experiences, as people are actually going to use what I write! I have learnt to think about the best design from a usability point of view, discuss different approaches, and I had to write tests and document my code, which sadly is not something I do on personal projects. I enjoyed reviews, and the discussions they led to. And of course I have learnt quite an interesting lot about the E2E voodoo, along with some new Python tricks.
Currently, the implementation is in a working state. Some of the code is merged, and some is awaiting review. It is possible to try it here before everything is merged. The project will be finished in about one week, after some tidying up and when I release device verification and key sharing, which should be the last missing features compared to Riot.
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