Switch branches/tags
Nothing to show
Find file Copy path
Fetching contributors…
Cannot retrieve contributors at this time
101 lines (46 sloc) 2.93 KB

#Co is a collaborative text editor
based on WoOT (Without Operational Transform)

What is WoOT?

  • Recurse Center resident Martin Kleppmann talked about ways of dealing with data where you just hold on to EVERYTHING that has ever happened, so you can always rebuild to the current state.

  • talked about Collaborative Text Editing, mentioned a Conflict-free Replicated Data Type ( CRDT ) used in an algorithm called WoOT

  • WoOt == Without Operational Transform

Operational Transform is what Google Docs uses. You get an operation and you transform it so that it fits with the state of your document.

Supposedly this is very annoying.

How does WoOT Work?

In WoOT every character is a little object (a WChar) that holds on to:

type alias WChar = 
				id: WId
                , next: WId
                , prev: WId
                , vis: Int
                , ch: Char

When you add a character, you tell WoOT what you just did Insert 'b' 4, and it will spit out a WChar.

Send this WChar to all the peers and they will integrate it in to the list of WChars, (a WString) that represents their version of the document.

Integration is where the conflict-free stuff happens.

The way that it integrates in keeps in mind:

  • the person who made it (lower ids have precedence)

  • the prev and next chars' positions

  • when that person made it (only compared to the other characters they have made)

####if you scramble up all the WChars of a document, and give them to a new client, they will for sure integrate them into the correct order!

#####another cool thing:

We never delete a WChar. We simply mark it invisible.

Yeah, this takes up space, but it helps us avoid confusion when different peers are working with different versions of t*he document. The document is eventually consistent.


Because the server doesn't need to do any work, I decided to use a WebRTC library, Peer.js to make all (most) of the communication peer-to-peer.

I followed the model of a "mesh" network, in this case, where every peer talks to every other peer. The peers join by talking to the server, and the server tells them about all the existing peers. Then they contact the peers and let them know they've arrived. After that, all communication is broadcasts of updates to WoOT.

How I did it:

front end -> CodeMirror text editor

client logic -> Elm implementation of Woot algorithm

networking -> peer.js 'mesh' network with minimal server interaction

server -> node express server

To Do:

  • Deal with issue of "late joiners". Ensure we have sent all the updates when someone new joins