ciphereditor is an educational and productive web application built by Wierk offering a fresh way of interacting with cryptography, ciphers, and data to make these subjects more approachable to everyone. It is the successor to cryptii, a project initiated in 2009.

A first alpha release alongside the source code of ciphereditor was published in July 2022, one year into the development process.

What’s new?

Among the major changes is the switch from a one-dimensional pipeline, where the result of one operation gets fed as input to the next operation, to a two-dimensional canvas, where operations can be placed and connected in many more ways than before. Similar to a spreadsheet any value in the document can be changed. Values flow through the connections from one operation to the next until all operations finish executing.

Unlike cryptii, ciphereditor is built from the ground up with extensibility in mind. Operations, the editor’s building blocks representing the ciphers and algorithms, are developed separately from the app itself in so-called “extensions”. Extensions may rely on existing code libraries and are only downloaded if they are used in the current document. In the future, extensions may be introduced by third-party developers, further expanding the possibilities of what can be done in a ciphereditor blueprint.

The feature most requested by cryptii users is already part of ciphereditor: You can save your work and share it with others via file or link.

These are some of the highlights that set ciphereditor apart from cryptii. There is much more to discover.

How it all started

It all started with cryptii, a web app offering modular conversion, encoding, and encryption methods in the browser. The project was initiated by Fränz Friederes in 2009 out of a curiosity for data formats and ciphers. It received its name “cryptii”, derived from cryptography, in 2011.

In August 2015 it got featured on the Reddit front page from which it grew in popularity. In 2017 it received a major overhaul introducing operations that can be chained together sequentially. So far, the web app served over 12 million users and gets requested over 10k times a day.

Who is behind it?

Fränz Friederes is the creator and main contributor of the ciphereditor and cryptii projects. He is joined by Open Source contributors on GitHub.

Fränz submitted his first apps to the App Store while graduating from a Luxembourgish high school with a specialization in computer science. Eager to learn more about strategy and design, he moved to Berlin to pursue a B.A. in Interaction Design, graduating in 2017.

After working for 2 years as a full-stack web developer, he decided in 2019 to return to his studies and deepen his computer science knowledge at the Humboldt University of Berlin. Forced to move back home to Luxembourg during the pandemic in 2020, he founded Wierk, a platform where he offers his expertise and develops his own products like ciphereditor.