LibreOffice developers demo collaborative editing prototype

LibreOffice logoA group of LibreOffice developers have added experimental collaborative editing capabilities to the open source office suite. The feature allows multiple users to work on the same document simultaneously over the Internet. The collaborative editing functionality was implemented by grafting Telepathy to LibreOffice.

Telepathy is an open source instant messaging framework that supports multiple protocols. One of the key features of Telepathy is that it allows instant messaging protocols to be used as a medium for arbitrary communication between applications, like a form of real-time network IPC. Building LibreOffice's collaborative editing features on top of Telepathy eliminates the need to operate special servers for the purpose.

Four LibreOffice developers recently met for a small hackfest at the Cambridge offices of open source startup Collabora in order to work on the collaborative editing prototype. The hackfest was funded by The Document Foundation, the non-profit organization behind LibreOffice.

The developers published a video that demonstrates the functionality. In the demo, they show two instances of LibreOffice Calc editing the same spreadsheet. When a value was changed in a table on one instance, the change propagated to the other. A formula and chart in the document also updated to reflect the change.

Although much of the underlying code is implemented, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done to advance the feature from the experimental prototype stage to the point where it's ready to be released to regular end users.

The project is included in The Document Foundation's list of ideas for Summer of Code students. Developers who want to contribute to the effort or take a look at the prototype can find the source code in a LibreOffice git branch.

Source: Ars Technica

Tags: LibreOffice

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