Three years of Matrix Wrench

As a developer of Matrix bridges, I often need to administrate Matrix rooms. This includes inviting users, kicking users, changing the permissions of users and inspecting the state of rooms.

From 2020 to 2023, my job at Element included the maintenance of the matrix.org bridges. Most often, I interacted with the matrix-appservice-irc that bridged Matrix to Freenode and later LiberaChat.

On 13th June 2021, I uploaded the first code of Matrix Wrench. Back then it was still called Matrix Navigator. I needed a very basic web application to replace the tedious work flow of looking up URLs and parameters in the Matrix Spec. Instead of manually constructing a curl command for every interaction with room states, I wanted a nice user interface to remind me of parameters and prevent the most basic typos.

The more Matrix Navigator became a tool to also modify a room’s state, the more I thought about renaming it. I had considered Matrix Multitool and Matrix Screwdriver, but Matrix Wrench won because of its simplicity and the analogy that you need a quick, powerful tool to fix the biggest mistakes.

I’ve given many presentations of the tool and held workshops to get some user feedback. This included FrosCon, the Matrix Community Summits, the Matrix events before FOSDEM and chill evenings at c-base. I was hoping that Matrix Wrench would get adopted more widely, however, I’m already quite proud of what users can avchieve using it and I want to improve it further.

So… here we are. Three years later. To celebrate its birthday I’m releasing a small update. The new version v0.13.0 brings dark mode. Happy birthday, Matrix Wrench!