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Collaboratively edit and synchronize JSON-style data with Node.js
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Collaboratively edit JSON-style data using Socket.IO by synchronizing all modifications of an shared/planetary object.

Every client will receive all modifications in the exact order as they are incoming to the Planet server. This greatly simplifies concurent editing and does not require locking nor OT. This approach guarantees the exact same state on all clients and has been proven to work reliably in other projects. Planet is inspired by the netpd approach.


  • post - recursively merges any objects into the current state
  • put - sets data at a specific location
  • remove - deletes a property at given key (string) or path (array)
  • get - fetches a property at given key or path
  • delete - resets the current state and removes everything

Planet is optimized to edit structured data (nested objects, arrays, strings, numbers) and does not require to do OT. If you are looking for text editing have a look at ShareJS.


npm install planet -g


# or
cd bin/

Client Examples

Run the server and browse planet/examples/

var local = {},
    socket = io.connect('//');

socket.on('connect', function(){
    // fetch the current state
    socket.emit('get', function(data){
        local = data;

    // listen for any client putting data onto the planet
    socket.on('put', function(key, value){
        local[key] = value;
        console.log('the state has been modified', local);

    // put data to all clients
    socket.emit('put', 'time', new Date());
    socket.emit('put', 'color', '#00d');

    // delete everything
var local = {},
    socket = io.connect('//');

socket.on('connect', function(){
    socket.emit('get', function(data){
        local = data;

    // listen to incoming objects
    socket.on('post', function(){
        for (var key in data){
            local[key] = data[key];

    // post an object
    socket.emit('post', {
        color: 'white',
        time: new Date(),
        birds: {
            doves: 34,
            owls: 4,
            parrots: 3,
            penguins: 12

    // expects key to be a path
    socket.on('put', function(key, value){
        local[key[0]][key[1]] = value;

    // put data at specific path (array)
    socket.emit('put', ['birds', 'penguins'], 13);
    socket.emit('put', ['birds', 'woodpeckers'], 5);

    // listen for removeing keys
    socket.on('remove', function(key){
        delete local[key[0]][key[1]];

    // removes a property at path (array)
    socket.emit('remove', ['birds', 'parrots']);

Client API

Planet uses Socket.IO custom events to communicate with the planet server. Only the standard Socket.IO-Client script is required on the client side. Client side deep mergining has to be implemented manually at the moment.

  • connect(uri, options)

  • on(string, callback)

    Client events: 'connect', 'disconnect' Planet custom events: 'post', 'delete', 'put', 'remove'

  • once(string, callback)

    Same events as above

  • emit(string[, data, callback])

    Emit custom methods: 'post', 'get', 'delete', 'put', 'remove'

  • disconnect()

Client Events

Standard Socket.IO events.

  • connect()

    Fired when handshake is successful.

  • disconnect()

    Fired when the client disconnects.

Custom Events/Methods

List of commands that are both:

  • Methods that are sent via emit()
  • Events that are subscribed with on()/once()

Every connected client will receive the all commands in exactly the same order. This includes the client that is emitting the command.

  • post(object)

    Sends an object and recursively merges it into the current state. Arrays are not treated as objects and will not be merged.

  • put(key/path, data)

    Puts data (strings, numbers, array, objects) at a given key (string) or path (array). The value will overwrite the current data and not be merged.

  • remove(key/path)

    Removes a property at given key (string) or path (array).

  • delete()

    Deletes the complete state.

Custom Methods

  • get([key/path, ]callback(data))

    Asynchronously fetches a data at key (string) or path (array). Returns the whole state if no key is omitted.


git submodule update --init --recursive

Run ./planet and run the tests from a server or cli

node tests/run.js


node --stack_size=8192 planet # prevents exceeding maximum call stack size

(you might have to set ulimit -n 1024 if you want to connect with more than 200 clients)

node bench/run.js


  • strict (option for disallowing auto-creation of putting keys)
  • predefined model (option for predefining a data structure and disalow posting/putting inexistent keys)
  • latency optimization
  • review cli api
  • tests for cli
  • cleanup error messages
  • eventually use instead of optparse
  • eventually provide a client side script for merge, get and set modification


Dev Dependencies

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