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Realtime text collaboration with Node.js, Express.js and Now.js

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NowPad: Realtime Text Collaboration

NowPad adds realtime text collaboration to parts of your website such as textareas, allowing multiple people to work on the same document at the same time (while seeing each others changes as they are applied). The benefit of this over traditional collaborative editing is two people would be editing the same document, they've both made changes, one person saves, and the other has to make the choice "lose my changes, or lose his changes". Nowpad keeps and applies both your changes as they happen.

It Uses

  • Node.js - Server Side Javascript
  • Express.js - The "Server" in Server Side Javascript
  • Now.js - Server and Client Side Communication
  • CoffeeScript - JavaScript Made Easy
  • Buildr - (Java|Coffee)Script Bundling Made Easy


You can try it right now online with no installation right here


  1. Install Node.js

  2. Install CoffeeScript

    npm install -g coffee-script
  3. Install NowPad

    npm install -g nowpad

Running Installed Demos

  • The default demo

    nowpad # http://localhost:9572/
  • ACE Code Editor demo

    nowpad ace # http://localhost:9572/
  • If for some reason the nowpad command doesn't work, use the following instead:

    git clone git://
    cd nowpad
    coffee bin/ # http://localhost:9572/


  • Server Side

    # Include NowPad
    nowpad = require 'nowpad'
    # Setup with your Express Server
    myNowpad = nowpad.createInstance server: yourExpressServer
    # Create known documents
    myNowpad.addDocument 'doc1', 'this is doc1'
    myNowpad.addDocument 'doc2', 'this is doc2'
    # Handle unknown document
    # Fires when an unknown document is requested
    myNowpad.requestDocument (documentId, callback) ->
        # nowpad.addDocument documentId
        # callback true
        callback false
    # Handle sync request
    # Fires when a change is synced to the document
    myNowpad.bind 'sync', (document, value) ->
    # Handle disconnect request
    # Fires when all the clients have disconnected from a document
    myNowpad.bind 'disconnected', (document, value) ->
  • Client Side

    • Include Dependencies

      <script src="/nowjs/now.js"></script>
      <script src="/nowpad/nowpad.js"></script>
    • Using NowPad with a Textarea

      // Without jQuery
          element: document.getElementById('myTextarea'),
          documentId: 'doc1'
      // Or With jQuery
      $textarea = $('#myTextarea').nowpad('doc1');
    • Using NowPad with ACE

          element: ace.edit('pad'),
          documentId: 'doc1'



  • v0.12 July 28, 2011

    • Fixed out of date packages issue
    • Fixed basic demo
    • Fixed focus issue with multiple pads for the same document
    • Made ace demo the default
    • Fixed native textarea elements delay - they had change instead of keyup
  • v0.11 May 20, 2011

    • Now supports multiple instances of nowpad for multi server configurations
  • v0.10 May 18, 2011

    • Added nowpad.addDocument(documentId,value) and nowpad.delDocument(documentId) and nowpad.requestDocument(requestHandler(documentId,next(added))) for extra security
    • Namespaced now events and callbacks
    • And other fixes
  • v0.9 May 15, 2011

    • Rewrote in CoffeeScript
    • Added support for multiple pads, and mutliple documents
  • v0.8 April 29, 2011

    • Nowpad now works with ACE and TextAreas
  • v0.7 April 29, 2011

    • Nowpad is now a npm package
  • v0.6 April 26, 2011

    • Greatly improved performance
  • v0.5 April 26, 2011

    • Ignores internet explorer and console less browsers
    • Now will only apply syncs once the user has finished typing
  • v0.4 April 25, 2011

    • New algorithm which ensures data will never get corrupted
  • v0.3 April 24, 2011

    • Server now keeps a copy of the document
  • v0.2 April 24, 2011

    • Working on a type together basis with two people
  • v0.1 April 24, 2011

    • Working on a start and stop basis


Licensed under the MIT License Copyright 2011 Benjamin Arthur Lupton

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