PolicyStat's Dev Blog

PolicyPad: Etherpad + Bring Your Own Editor

Real-time In-Browser Collaboration

Real-time collaborative document editing in a web browser is hard. Google docs can do it, EtherPad can do it, but can your app do it? PolicyPad is a tool allowing you to make it happen using your existing javascript-based editor. Thanks to the dedicated work of a small team of Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology students (primarily Jimmy Theis and Kevin Wells), we’ve put together a demo with github’d source demonstrating real-time collaboration using the standards-focused WYMeditor (What You Mean editor). 

PolicyPad is a library to help use any existing javascript-based editor in front of EtherPad to add real-time collaboration. This potentially allows your existing application, with all of your custom editor add-ons and integration, to add the goodness of Etherpad without the need to implement a complex server-side solution for diffing, version control, retrieval, etc. 

PolicyPad Architecture

PolicyPad architecture diagram

Future

Right now, the code is working well with WYMeditor, but we’d really like to add plugins for other editors, such as TinyMCE and CKEditor. We’d also like to fill the existing gaps where the default Etherpad editor provides functionality that we don’t yet mimick (real-time chat, stepping back through old versions, import/export).

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