Chat & collaboration

In order to facilitate secure real-time communication within D-PHYS and with the outside world, we provide a Matrix chat infrastructure. The service can be used from modern web browsers (up-to-date versions of Firefox, Safari or Chrome based browsers), mobile apps (Android, iOS) and standalone desktop applications (macOS, Linux, Windows).

Matrix (protocol/network)

Matrix is an open source project that publishes the Matrix open standard for secure, decentralized, real-time communication. Our Matrix homeserver for the domain phys.ethz.ch hosts your Matrix ID (@id:phys.ethz.ch) similar to an email address, your account settings and secure end-to-end encryption key backups, stores a copy of your rooms history and connects you to the whole Matrix network including any other bridged networks like IRC, Slack, Discord, Telegram and many more.

To access our homeserver you need a Matrix client, similar as with email where you need a mail client like Thunderbird or Outlook. Our recommendation is to use Element, which is a glossy and feature-rich javascript app running entirely in your browser. Examples for more clients (beta) include fluffychat (maths support), weechat-matrix, gomuks, Quaternion, Nheko or Fractal. Talk directly to the HTTP+JSON Client Server API or use your preferred SDK.

Element (client)

Connect to our Matrix server using Element Web:

See also Connect with Element (Web, Desktop, App).

Public rooms

After the first login you will be auto-joined to these rooms:

These rooms provide an excellent way for us to connect with you and inform instantly. The News room contains an RSS bot that sends all announcements from our blog, and provides an alternative to our newsletter. If you do not wish to participate in these rooms, opt-out at any time by leaving.

Please join our other rooms:

Customise your notification levels across the app and per room. Reduce the notification level of chatty rooms like the Helpdesk to 'Mentions & Keywords'. Keep the default for the News and Status room, where only moderators are allowed to send messages.

More public rooms can be found in our public room directory via the 'Explore rooms' button next to the search field.

Documentation

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

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.
  • To chat with D-PHYS external people, you need to invite them using their Matrix ID (@username:domain). Except for Matrix users on the ETH homeserver (staffchat.ethz.ch), where you can use the search function as usual.

Features

Matrix offers an extremely wide range of features and connectivity. The following list is currently implemented on the D-PHYS server and is considered to be stable:

Other features are either not tested as much or known to be buggy

  • 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, currently being reworked)
  • Shared whiteboard integrations (widget)
  • Community invite bot
  • Native maths support (labs feature) enabled in D-PHYS Element

Things we have on the radar and will be looking into

  • More bots as they come in from the community
  • More bridges to connect to other networks (like IRC, email)

Roadmap (probably in this order)

  • Improving performance & monitoring
  • Stabilizing 1:1 calls (turn) and jitsi (group calls)
  • ISG made bots

Disabled features

  • Add email or phone numbers to your profile (automatic discovery via LDAP)
  • Invite users via email (but you may very well search by email)