p2p collaborative text editor

npm install hyperpad@0.0.10



The peer-to-peer collaborative text editor.

WIP Demo: http://pad.eight45.net

Current Status

It seems to function well on desktop Chrome and Firefox: you can edit documents on- and off-line, and collaborate with others in real-time.

Other desktop and all mobile browsers are untested, and may have some issues. If you find an interesting bug, file an issue!

Field tests by others is very helpful at this point. If you try out Hyperpad with some friends, please share your experience so I can direct my efforts as appropriate.

What is it?

Hyperpad is a free, open source, distributed text editor for use by groups and individuals. Document authors control who gets access, and nobody needs to pay for perpetual server hosting. No technical know-how is required beyond opening up http://hyperpad.io and writing a document.

Why another collaborative editor?

Some of the most popular collaborative document editors today include Google Docs and Etherpad.

Google Docs gets the fundamental piece right: real-time text editing. However, all of your data is stored by and readable by Google, Inc. It is closed source proprietary software.

Etherpad takes this a step further in multiple directions: it is open source, and can be deployed by anyone on any server. This lets any individual or group run etherpad and keep ownership and privacy to their data.

Etherpad is most of the way there, but Hyperpad goes the rest of the way in two crucial aspects:

1. No servers required

In peer-to-peer networks, all users are equal.

Nobody needs the monetary resources and technical know-how to run a server.

Unlike centralized services, you own each pad you create. Turn on encryption, and your data becomes unreadable to anyone but those you grant access to. There are no service providers to go out of business and lose your data.

Everything is client-side HTML and Javascript: you can just save the Hyperpad website and run it locally on your computer, and it will function just fine!

2. Works great offline

Not everybody in the world is online. Among those who are, many do not have consistent, broadband connections. People-respecting software must work excellently offline; no exceptions.

Forgetting this is the The Silicon Valley Privilege (TODO: link to article).

Hyperpad uses an eventually consistent data structure called hyperlog, which operates happily offline and will sync with other users whenever a network connection is available.

How does it work?

Hyperpad relies on the browser itself for storing documents, and powerful peer-to-peer primitives like WebRTC and hyperlog to organize and transfer documents to those with access.

The act of having a document open in your browser immediately lets a user act as a host for that document's data, sharing it in real-time with others with others. In the case that a user is offline, they can still freely make edits locally, which will propagate to others storing the document when they re-establish a network connection.

Hyperpad is built in a modular fashion atop a set of do-one-thing-well modules:

Coming Soon(tm)

  • Faster operations (batching in the hyper-string layer)
  • A nicer front-end editor
  • Encryption (with separate read/write privileges)
  • Secure app delivery (maybe hyperboot)