Collaborative Editing

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This page is about Collaborative Editing for LibreOffice, a feature that is under development.

Also see LibreOffice Online and Track changes (which includes a short review of applications that support collaborative editing)

Definitions and terminology

Collaborative editing (synonyms: co-authoring, parallel editing) means that multiple users can work together on a document, spreadsheet or presentation, over the inter/intranet (e.g. saved in a CMIS). This term comprises real-time and offline collaborative editing.

Real-time collaborative editing (synonyms: real-time parallel editing, real-time co-authoring, simultaneous collaborative editing) means that multiple users can simultaneously edit the same document. If anyone else is working on the document, the user sees their presence and the changes they're making in real-time.

Offline collaborative editing (synonyms: offline parallel editing, asynchronous collaborative editing, synchronised collaborative editing) means that the user can keep working on the shared file, independently whether he/she is connected. When the user goes offline, the application switches from real-time collaborative editing to offline collaborative editing. If there are others editing the same document, they won't be able to see the changes while the user is offline. When the user goes back online, he/she will be notified of any changes that are available, and other users will see the changes made by the user.


Further remarks:

There are three ways to trigger synchronization (whereas the first is superior as it is actual real-time): 1. real-time exchange of changes; 2. constant saving the file every few seconds (autosave); 3. synchronization after user saves the file. In way 2.&3 the others' changes and the user‘s shared changes can only be seen by others after the file was saved.

There are two exchange options (whereas the first option is superior): 1. Exchanging only new changes; 2. Exchanging the entire file for synchronization.

Are we there yet? Is it Ready Yet?

No.

The closest we have at the moment is the LibreOffice Online.

If you're a developer, check out the #Development section below.

Current Status

2020

2015

2013

2012

2006-2010

Bugs


Competitive Analysis

  • Microsoft Office (desktop) supports real-time and offline collaborative editing on files saved in MS OneDrive or MS Sharepoint. Support in desktop applications (version 2019/365) varies: Real-time "co-authoring" in MS Word, Powerpoint, but MS Excel only via AutoSave. If the user is online: the user sees the presence of other users and the changes they're making in real-time. When the user goes offline, the application switches to offline collaborative editing and the user can keep working on the file. When the user goes back online, he/she will be notified of any changes that are available, and other users will see the changes made by the user. Collaboration is possible between desktop applications and MS Office online applications.

Development

Want to help out with collaborative editing?

Start at the developers page.

You'll need to get up to speed with the LibreOffice project and our development style:

  1. Get the code; build it
  2. Join dev list, introduce yourself
  3. Do a couple of Easy Hacks to get familiar with the workflow. This is also a good way to show people that you're committed to writing code for the project :-)
  4. Finally: Ask what's on the TODO list for collaborative editing.

Code is here:

  •  ???

More info here:

  •  ???

Builds

N/A

Notes

Reports from the Press

Also See