Encryption in matrix tunnel
Image: alexskopje/Adobe Stock

When you’re working on a complex project that requires secrets, you don’t want to keep those secrets stored in an unprotected file on your network. Should anyone hack into the system housing that file, they could wind up with the keys to many a kingdom. Instead, you should be storing those secrets in an encrypted vault.

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Secrets can be several things, but most importantly they are private bits of information that are used as keys to unlock protected resources. Secrets can be passwords, tokens, SSH keys, certificates, API keys, encryption keys and more. Because secrets vary, sometimes a typical password manager won’t do. That’s why there are apps like Projectpad.

Projectpad allows for the management of secret credentials and server information that are required for developers to do their job. The app consists of two pieces: a GUI and command-line tool.

What you’ll need to install Projectpad

Projectpad can be installed on Linux and macOS. To install the app on macOS, you use cargo and must first install the rust compiler toolchain, gtk+3, gtksourceview3, adwaita-icon-theme on homebrew and the sqlcipher library with development headers.

I’m going to demonstrate the installation on Pop!_OS Linux, but Projectpad can be installed on any distribution that supports flatpak.

How to install Projectpad

To install Projectpad, log in to your Linux machine, point a browser to the Projectpad Flathub page and click Install to download the necessary flatpakref file. Save that file into your Downloads directory.

Once the file has been downloaded, open a terminal window and issue the command:

flatpak install ~/Downloads/com.github.emmanueltouzery.projectpad.flatpakref

Answer y to the questions and allow the installation to complete. Once the installation finishes, log out and log back in so the Projectpad entry is added to your desktop menu.

How to use Projectpad

When you first launch Projectpad, you’ll be prompted to create an encryption password for the database (Figure A).

Figure A

Creating an encryption password for the default Projectpad database.

Type and verify your password and click Start.

After creating your encryption password, click + in the top left corner of the Projectpad window (Figure B).

Figure B

The Projectpad main window.

In the resulting pop-up (Figure C), give the new project a name, select the environment(s) the project should be associated with, and click Save.

Figure C

Creating a new Projectpad secrets entry.

After creating the new project, click the Gear icon and select Add Project Item (Figure D).

Figure D

Creating an item for our new project.

In the next pop-up, select the type of item to be added (Figure E).

Figure E

Adding a new project item to our project.

Say, for example, that you want to add a server. For that, click Add Server. In the resulting pop-up, type all of the necessary information for the server (Figure F).

Figure F

Adding a server to our project.

After finishing up, click Save and your new item has been added. Once you’ve added the Server, you can then add items to the server.

For that, select the newly-added server and click the gear icon in the top right corner. From the resulting pop-up, click Add Server Item and then select the type of item you want to add (Figure G).

Figure G

Adding new items to our server entry.

Secrets storage made simple

Once you get started with Projectpad, you’ll find it can become a must-have application to help developers and teams access the secrets they need to get their job done. The only caveat to Projectpad is that it’s a client-based application, so there’s no group access. You can, however, export an item and then import it into another Projectpad instance.

Give this app a try and see if it doesn’t become a must-have for your development project workflow.

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