D-PHYS chat & collaboration

In order to facilitate secure real-time communication within D-PHYS and with the outside world, we provide a chat platform based on the Element messenger and the Matrix protocol. The service can be used from any modern web browser, mobile apps and a standalone desktop application. The messenger is based around 'rooms' and private chats.

Element

Quick start instructions:

  • Point your browser to https://element.phys.ethz.ch
  • Log in using: @username:phys.ethz.ch
  • Where username is your D-PHYS account
  • Use your D-PHYS password

See How to connect with Element (Web, Desktop, App) for detailed instructions with pictures, browser requirements and alternative methods to connect.

Matrix

Matrix is an open source project that publishes the Matrix open standard for secure, decentralized, real-time communication. We host a Synapse Matrix Homeserver for the domain phys.ethz.ch.

Documentation (sub-pages)

The documention for Matrix/Element is split into several pages. Please read on in the following order to get started:

Join our public rooms

Please join the rooms below to get updates from ISG:

Feel free to discuss, get more help or just say hello in:

Please note

  • It is not a file server! While you can upload and share files, please do so with reason. Use it to share a PDF or graph with your colleagues, but do not send research data - that's what our group shares are for. If data volume sent around on our Matrix homeserver gets out of hand, we will be forced to set a cap and/or delete old files.
  • Since we (ISG) use Matrix for our internal communication, it's also an excellent tool to get in touch with us. Come visit us in the #helpdesk:phys.ethz.ch room!
  • To chat with D-PHYS external people, you need to invite them using their Matrix ID (@username:domain) or possibly using a 3PID (third party identifier). Except for Matrix users on the ETH homeserver (staffchat.ethz.ch), where you can use the search function as ususal.

Stable features

Element offers an extremely wide range of features, only some of which we've so far had the chance to test or integrate.

The following list of features is currently implemented on the D-PHYS server and is considered to be stable:

  • Basic chat functionality (instant messaging)
  • Media uploads
  • Search user directory (username, display name, email, phone number)
  • End-to-end encryption and cross-signing (instructions)
  • Federation with "the internet" and other ETH homeservers
  • Basic bots (such as shown here), join #bots:phys.ethz.ch
  • Slack compatible Webhooks, join #bots:phys.ethz.ch

Experimental features

These currently implemented features are either untested or known to be buggy (not recommended for general use):

  • Direct (1:1) voice/video calls (basically works, but can still be buggy)
  • Group web-conferencing using Jitsi (rooms with more than 2 members)
  • Screen sharing (e.g. for helpdesk)
  • Communities (Known to lack features and can still be buggy)
  • Shared whiteboard integrations (widget)
  • Migrate Slack workspace to Matrix (export your workspace and contact us)

Disabled or broken features

Some features are not possible on our setup, known to be broken or completely untested by ISG. While we would prefer to correctly hide or disable it in the interface, this is not always possible. Please do not try to:

  • Reset passwords (please use account.phys.ethz.ch)
  • Register a Matrix account (disabled)
  • Deactivate your Matrix account (this is irreversible, but should be disabled)
  • Add email or phone numbers to your profile (you should already be discoverable via LDAP)
  • Invite users via email (but you may very well search by email)

Roadmap

List of features we will be working on next (probably in this order):

  • Integrations (collaborative document editing and other widgets)
  • Slack bridge (or puppeting bridge)

Radar

Things we have on the radar and will be looking into:

  • How to handle communities and associated rooms (check possibility for automated invites based on some DB)
  • More bots
  • Bridges to connect to other messaging platforms (like IRC, email)
  • Native maths support (KateX/LateX): should be coming in a future release
  • Markdown tables in Element