Collaborative Tools

Short introduction to Collaborative Tools used in the PUNCH4NFDI consortium.

The PUNCH4NFDI consortium has started to set up a few collaborative tools in order to organize the common work. This page provides an entry point with relavant links and some general description of these tools.

Some more inside details can be found on the PUNCH internal page. You need to have registered with the PUNCH GitLab and login there. PUNCH-AAI (see also below) is supported.

Descripton of Tools and Technologie

Authenticaton and Authorisation Infrastructure (AAI)

To enable the usage of services and resources without the creation of additonal local accounts there are efforts ongoing that allow the usage of e.g. the credential at the users' home institution to log into other services. PUNCH4NFDI builds on ongoing developments by DFN-AAI and Helmholtz-AAI, that include already a number of research centers and universities, that are also engaged in the PUNCH4NFDI consortium.

A detailed description how to register to the PUNCH AAI can be found in the following documents: PUNCH-AAI-registration.pdf (PDF, 921KB) Punch_AAI_invitation_procedure.pdf (PDF, 18KB)

If your institution is already included, details about your identity can be managed via PUNCH-AAI Login Portal. If your institution is not yet enabled, you can use your ORCID credentials or from GitHub or your Google account. Once your institution or university becomes ready for PUNCH-AAI, the accounts can be linked to the same identity within the PUNCH-AAI.

A generic documentation about the Helmholtz AAI including concepts, guidelines and policies as well as instructions how to register a service or how to join as an Identity Provider can be found here.


Meeting organisation: Indico

Meetings and workshop that are of relevance within PUNCH4NFDI are managed in the PUNCH section of the DESY Indico instance. Since Dec 2021 also login via AAI is enabled. To use this select "Login with DESY Keycloak" at the bottom. Then you can use your login from your home institution. If you had a local Indico at DESY and the system recognizes you, pay attention to the instruction to merge the accounts. There might be issues that require an Indico admin to manually fix this

Some content of the PUNCH meetings is protected. Right now you need to know a password. It has been communicated via relevant mailing lists. If you lost it, ask other PUNCH members, e.g. someone from the Management Board or the Executive Board.


Chat platform: Mattermost

Mattermost is an open source implementation of a communication platform, that aims to be similar to the commercial Slack product, which is only offered at a service. In contrast Mattermost can be hosted on site. The PUNCH Mattermost instance, that is presently hosted at the AIP, can be used by every user, who got registered in the PUNCH Gitlab.

There is a wide range of clients available, spanning from phone apps over desktop apps for common operating systems to a browser app, that works without any pre-installed software.


Code management: Gitlab

Gitlab is a common and widely used code management platform, that also includes features like issue tracking and workflow pipe-lines. It is available open source and can be hosted on site. The interaction with git command line tools is not different from the commercial Github service.

The PUNCH Gitlab is hosted at the AIP. It provides access via PUNCH-AAI and each collaboration member is eligable to use it.


Internal documention

Documentation that is relevant for the work program of PUNCH is meant to accessible for every consortium member, both for reading and updating. A Wiki-like solution would be a good match. However a quick survey among various partners concluded, that on short time scale there is no good solution at hand. Reasons were licensencing issues or worries about sustainability.

As a pragmatic approach for the start, PUNCH went for a solution based on its GitLab instance. The intra-docs-content project hosts a skeleton for all Task Areas to be filled with initial documentation. Files can be easily edited using the internal markup editor provided within Gitlab.


Shared Cloud folder (still in its setup!)

For the exchange of small data, e.g. talks and documents, a self-hosted cloud storage solution is a good match. Like many others PUNCH also opted for a Nextcloud based solution. Nextcould is a self-hosted (mostly storage) cloud solution, that was forked from Owncloud a few years ago. The PUNCH shared storage is part of the DESY Sync&Share instance. The instance supports login with PUNCH-AAI. In addition online editing of various common office documents is provided by the Onlyoffice extension for Nextcloud. This provides similar features like GoogleDocs.