GSoC’23: Implementation of Web Interface of Retroshare – Part 2

Hello again folks 👋
If this is your first time here, then consider reading Part 1 of this blog, GSoC’23: Implementation of Web Interface of Retroshare.

Now, let’s continue.
The first phase of GSoC has been amazing, up until now. I was able to implement a lot of features, fixed bugs and issues, faced difficulties, got stuck and learned a lot. I am going to discuss my journey so far, so buckle up your seat belts.

Progress on the WebUI

I have been able to improve the Web Interface of Retroshare very much in terms of usability and a better UI. All thanks to my mentors and the community members.

Here is what the homepage looks right now.

File Search feature

During the start of the Coding Period, I was already working on implementing the File Search feature, so naturally It was completed in the first week of GSoC itself. This was a very difficult feature to implement as there were only a few options on how to do it correctly.

Previously, the file search results data was sent as a response to the request made to the endpoint /rsFiles/turtleSearchRequest. So, I thought of using Event Source, as It would create a persistent connection to get the data in stream. But it needed its own auth headers to be used properly. Also, there was some issue in the format of response coming from the backend, which was causing webui to crash. I had a discussion upon this with the mentors in the issue I created on GitHub.

Later the mentors discussed and decided that It would be better to make the results of file search as a stream of events which would be then captured at the frontend side and displayed. As there was already a way to handle events, It was not much of a problem. But the real issue was to update them in the UI after capturing them, as I was not sure how to do that in Mithril.js, and this was a perfect opportunity to learn something new.

And after some research, I found out that Proxy in JavaScript can be used to check for any change in the objects made using the handler defined in eventQueue. And, then I could manually trigger a re-render using `m.redraw()` in mithril.js to update the results in the UI.

// Custom Proxy code
const createArrayProxy = (arr, onChange) => {
  return new Proxy(arr, {
    set: (target, property, value, reciever) => {
      const success = Reflect.set(target, property, value, reciever);
      if (success && onChange) {
      return success;

const createProxy = (obj, onChange) => {
  return new Proxy(obj, {
    get: (target, property, reciever) => {
      const value = Reflect.get(target, property, reciever);
      return typeof value === 'object' && value !== null
        ? Array.isArray(value)
          ? createArrayProxy(value, onChange)
          : createProxy(value, onChange)
        : value;
    set: (target, property, value, reciever) => {
      const success = Reflect.set(target, property, value, reciever);
      if (success && onChange) {
      return success;

const proxyObj = createProxy({}, () => {

So, after some head banging and googling, I was able to implement this feature. Furthermore, I improved the small issues in next iterations. You can see the merged PR here.

This is how the File search looks currently.

Config Mail

After that, I started working on the config section, in which I implemented the feature to create and manage custom tags for mails in the mail config. The PR I raised is here.

Config Network

Then, I implemented some missing features in existing section of Config section. In the Network config, some options weren’t working. So, after discussing with my mentor, I implemented the Hidden Network Configuration for TOR/I2P Socks Proxy here.

Config Files

I implemented the missing options as well as fixed the options which were not working in the config files section also for this, I implemented the getQueueSize() function in libretroshare.

By this time, I was also getting a hang of How things were working internally in the libretroshare. And, my mentor Cyril Soler motivated me and supported me to start writing code in libretroshare for Doxygen to generate the JSON API for the required endpoint. I raised three PRs in total, where I also implemented an endpoint in the actual C++ code.

Honestly, this was more satisfying to be able to do this rather than writing code for the webui. You can view all of my libretroshare PRs here.

Fix UI of whole Interface

This was a very big task but didn’t take that long, I did it gradually in small bits. Improved the whole UI of the web interface, and it looks much better now. See all the changes made in this PR here.
I would not include any screenshots here as It would be too much.

Fix working and UI of mail Composer

Of all the features I have implemented so far, none of this were this confusing where I was fighting with the code. I was stuck trying this on my own for two days, since the code I wrote was fine on its own. But, there was something which was causing an issue, and I was not able to understand what it was. So finally, I asked for help from a community member, M. Saud. He is also the code reviewer of all of my PRs, since as far as I know he is the only JS dev in RSWebUI team.

He found the issue and told me some ways It could be done. Those seemed too complex to me, I read some mithril.js docs and tried to figure out ways to do it. And In the end, I found a very easy way to do it. You can read the discussion here on GitHub.

This is how the mail composer looks.

This PR is related to the mail reply as well, so this is still in the Draft version, And I am currently working on it to implement the features. You can see it here. Other than this, I have been doing some minor fixes and refactoring in the whole webui along with completing the major goals in the timeline.

So, this is the progress made in the WebUI until now. And, I have learned and still learning many new things while working on it.

What’s Next?

First, I will finish the PR#80 where I have to implement the Reply feature in the Mail Section, and then will work on the next set of goals as mentioned in the timeline which are :

  • Forums Section
    • Implement the remaining features from the Qt app in the forum section.
    • Implement a better layout of the forum and posts view, comment and reply feature etc.
  • Boards and Channel Section
    • Implement the remaining features and make them more user-friendly and easy to use.
  • Implement a feature for Configuring and Visualizing own shared files with features such as managing shared directories, user permissions etc.

Apart from these goals, I have also discussed with my mentor to work on more important issues and necessary features for the upcoming release of the webui.

Now, I will see you in the next and final blog of this GSoC series.

Thanks for reading and have a great day 🙂

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