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Subject: comp.groupware FAQ: Products-editors
This article was archived around: 1 Jun 1997 08:55:40 GMT
Copyright: 1995 (C) David S. Stodolsky, PhD
From: kochm@Informatik.TU-Muenchen.DE (Michael Koch)
Subject: WWW version of multi-user editor and co-authoring systems list
Date: 13 Apr 1995 08:16:14 GMT
As there is a big interest in a collection about projects and
products in the context of multi-user editors and co-authoring systems
I converted the list I posted some months ago to some HTML pages.
The list uses the unOfficial Yellow Pages of CSCW to store the project
descriptions and the CSCW bibliography to store bibliographic
information about the references mentioned in the descriptions.
With the YP-scripts, the project descriptions can be edited and annotated.
If you know a multiuser editor or a research group that is working on that
topic an is not mentioned in my list, than please send me an info
Additions, comments and corrections are also welcome and will be integrated.
Michael Koch +49 89 450552-33 email@example.com
Institut fuer Informatik, Technische Universitaet Muenchen, Germany
Lehrstuhl fuer Verteilte Anwendungen, Professor Schlichter
List of multiuser editors / co-authoring systems
From: kochm@Informatik.TU-Muenchen.DE (Michael Koch)
Subject: Multiuser editor list (long)
Date: 18 Jul 1994 07:34:23 GMT
by Michael Koch (ed.)
I'm working on a distributed multiuser editor / co-authoring system in
the context of distributed systems and computer supported work (CSCW).
As one basis for my PhD thesis I collected information on existing
>From my last question in the Usenet-Newsgroup comp.groupware I learned,
that such a list may be of interest for some other groups around the
world. So I spend a little extra work to make this list available.
There are many different definitions of what a multiuser editor is
and there are different types of editors even if you agree on one
definition. I looked for programs that match the following points:
- programs that support their users in jointly generating and
editing a document (that may be a linear or hierarchical text,
a hypertext, a graphic or any other medium)
- the programs should have a possibility to store the data and to
continue editing later
The sources of information have been several papers, technical
reports, internal reports, surveys and books (always refer-ed). Most
of the description text is pure cut/paste of some of the main ideas
from the publications.
It may be redundant or unpolished. That's because I didn't try to
write a book, just a information list. Corrections or more precise
descriptions are welcome.
!! This list is a first draft version
!! If you know a multiuser editor or a research group that
!! is working on that topic an is not mentioned in my list,
!! than please send me an info (firstname.lastname@example.org).
!! Additions, comments and corrections are also welcome and will
!! be integrated in the next versions.
1. alphabetically ordered list of system names
2. list of research groups
3. descriptions of programs/projects
1. list of system/program names
The attributes in parenthesis indicate if it is a editor for
synchronous sessions or asynchronous sessions, what medium types can
be edited and how the storage of the document is handled (central,
Alliance (async, structured text, central)
Aspects (sync, text, graphic)
CAR (async, text, central)
CaveDraw (sync, graphic)
CES (async, text, replicated)
CoAUTHOR (async, multimedia)
CoDraft (sync, graphic ,replicated)
CollaborWriter (async, text, central))
CoMEdiA (sync, async, hypermedia, central)
Contexts (async, hypermedia, central)
ConversionBoard (sync, graphic, replicated)
DistEdit (sync, async, text, replicated)
EHTS (async, hypertext, central-cache)
Ensemble (sync, graphic)
ForComment (sync, text)
GroupDesign (sync, graphic, replicated)
GroupDraw (sync, graphic, replicated)
GroupIE (sync, async, text, graphic, replicated)
GroupSketch (sync, graphic, replicated)
GroupWriter (async, text)
GROVE (sync, text, replicated)
Instant Update (sync, (async), text)
Iris (sync, async, hierarchical text, replicated)
KMS (hypermedia, central)
MACE (sync, async, text, central-cache)
MESSIE (async, text, central)
Mjolner-project (async, sync, text, central)
MultimETH (sync, text)
Neptune (hypertext, central)
PREP (async, text)
Quilt (async, text, central)
SASE (sync, text)
SASSE (sync, text)
SEPIA (sync, async, hypertext, central)
Shared Books (async, text, central)
ShrEdit (sync, text, central)
Vopex-2KM-Sun (sync, text, central)
2. list of research groups
- Brown University IRIS
(Meyrowitz) -> Intermedia
- Carnegie Mellon University
(Neuwirth) -> PREP
- Microelectronics and Computer Technology Corporation, Austin
(Ellis) -> GROVE
- MIT Cambridge
(Greif) -> CES
- University of Florida
(Newman-Wolfe, Pelimuhandiram) -> MACE
(Newman-Wolfe, Pelimuhandiram) -> Emsemble
- University of Michigan
(Dourish) -> ShrEdit
(Knister) -> DistEdit
(Fish, Leland) -> Quilt
-> Shared books
- Toronto University
(Baecker) -> SASE, SASSE
- University of Calgary
(Malcom, Gaines) -> GroupWriter
(Greenberg, Roseman, Webster, Bohnet) -> GroupDraw, GroupSketch
- University of Aalborg
(Wiil) -> EHTS
- Universite de Paris-Sud
(Karsenty, Beaudouin-Lafon) -> GroupDesign
(Decouchant, Quint) -> Alliance
- Frauenhofer Institut fuer Computergrafik, Darmstadt
(Santos, Tritsch, Hornung) -> CoMEdia
- Gesellschaft fuer Mathematik und Datenverarbeitung - IPSI
(Haake) -> SEPIA
(Haake) -> CoVer
- Universitaet Erlangen-Nuernberg
(Kirsche) -> CoDraft
- Universitaet Freiburg
(Hahn) -> CoAUTHOR
- Universitaet Karlsruhe
(Ruedebusch) -> GroupIE
- Universitaet Muenchen
(Borghoff, Koch) -> Iris
- Lund University
(Minoer, Magnusson) -> Mjolner-project
- ETH Zuerich
(Lubich) -> MultimETH
- Aston University, Birmingham
(McAlpine) -> CollaborWriter
- Dundee Institute of Technology
(Jones) -> MILO
- University College London
(Baydere, Sasse) -> CAR
(Sasse) -> MESSIE
3. program/project descriptions:
INRIA-IMAG France (Dominique Decouchant and Vincent Quint)
An asynchronous multiuser editor that is based on the single-user
editor Grif [Quint1986].
Collaborative editing of structured documents; fully replicated
application with central document storage (Sun NFS)
Supports roles; different roles for parts of the document; according
to the roles the document is automatically divided into variable-size
fragments, which are the sharing units;
multiple readers but only on writer/manger role per fragment
Notification about changes after a fragment is written back
- Aspects (Apple)
commercial (available since 1990)
info from email@example.com
Synchronous group writing, drawing and painting. Mainly tightly
coupled cooperation with the 'view-with-others' option. If this
option is disabled then loosely coupled cooperation is possible.
Floor control options:
free for all, taking turns and turn taking mediated by moderator.
University College London, Angela Sasse
Collaborative multiuser editor based on a central NFS filestore.
Use of SCCS in the filestore for locking and version and
Each section has a manager. The manager is responsible for the
version control when a section was freshly created, and put the
first version under SCCS control before releasing it for comments.
No special support for comment, just a policy: Comments are text
additions to the document so that they stand out from the
original text. No text should be deleted, comment with text:
'last text should be deleted/replaced'.
Commenters keep modification history on top of the file up to date
(by hand!), email authors that a comment has been made to their
Policy that only author changes his section. Use of video
conferences to talk about comments or suggested modifications.
Synchronous collaboration in local distributed teams for the
generation of text/graphic documents.
Semi-transparent drawing layers and drawing cursors with different
colors for the basic coordination. Every user has his own drawing
color. The distribution of the own drawing layer or the import of
the layers of other users is configurable.
Asynchronous means of interaction on replicated structured
text documents. Structure is fully replicated, contents are
stored by author. Coordination with the help of 'tickle locks'
(explicit locks that are released automatically after some time).
Access rights for document structure and contents.
Based on Argus, a development an runtime support tool for
distributed applications [Liskov1983].
Co-authoring system for hypermedia documents. Prototype that
provides a real-time environment for multiple authors who wish to
collaborate on the production of hypermedia documents, such as
technical manuals, surgeon reports, etc. CoAuthor documents have
recorded design history. Developed as part of Multiworks a ESPRIT-II
Technology Integration Project.
Multiuser Object-graphic editor; fully replicated application;
fully replicated document storage.
Every instance has to be in contact with all others and inform
them about modifications and receive such informations from the
other instances. Synchronization by locks. Session-Join only
if invited by a member of the session.
Global-view is possible (whole drawing area with working areas
of users marked)
Aston University, Birmingham
Built around a writing model presented by Sharples and Pemperton.
SGML to define how a document could be structured; logical document
structure as essential to the coordination of the collaborative
Concurrency control with versioning based on an oo-database with
- CoMEdiA (cooperative hyperMedia Editing Architecture)
Frauenhofer Institut fuer Computergrafik, Darmstadt
Documents with a hypermedia structure; create new node and link
it into document. Every node in one file. Central storage of
files on one or more server; time-stamp-ordering for
Locks on parts of the document and lock on the cursor position.
The lock for the cursor position enables a very tight cooperation.
Private and public annotations (graphic or text), telepointer,
multi-cursors, follow co-author, roles (chairperson, author, commenter,
on-line voice communication (conferences)
Multi-user hypertext system. Extension to a system called Neptune,
allowing users their own private views or contexts of the hypertext
database, and may make modifications within this view. When
alterations are completed, they can be released to other project
team members by merging the users private view (context) with the
shared master view. Supports document versioning: integrating
modifications in view is only done if no conflicts (e.g. branches)
occured, display of differences is possible
- ConversionBoard, SimpleDraw, NormadicDraw, ...
Fully synchronous oo graphic editors realized on the basis of
single user applications with the help of the Rendezvous toolkit.
Do actions locally and distribute them. Synchronization with
No means to display modifications of other users in a special way.
Toolkit to build cooperative multiuser editors. Supports the
re-implementation and the modification of existing single-user
editors. Uses the ISIS communication toolkit for reliable
Fully replicated document storage.
Version 1 [Knister1990] provides primitives for inserting and
deleting of strings, for the propagation of the cursor position
and for the transfer of the floor.
Only one user has the floor for the whole file and can modify
the text; the others can watch the actions of that master-user
or read anywhere in the text. A user can request the floor; the
floor is transfered if the floorholder agrees.
Version 2 [Knister1993] changes the floor concept; now there are
implicit and explicit locks (tickle locks);
Lock-Step-Mode to change text very tightly coupled.
All operations are still based on the insertion and deletion of
strings; a simple transaction mechanism is added;
- EHTS (Emacs HyperText System)
University of Aalborg, Denmark
Multiuser hypertext system consisting of a text editor and a
graphical browser. Text editor is the Emacs editor with additional
Central storage of the document in 'HyperBase', a active multiuser
database for hypertext systems in C++;
client-server model, support for collaboration among users by
providing event (notification) mechanism and fine grained lock
Caches at clients; use of notifications from server to invalidate
Object graphic editor; part of the conference system DCS
Multi-user asynchronous editor. Supports circulation comments, and
revisions of documents. Separates the authors from the others who
have commented the paper.
Laboratoire de Recherche en Informatique, Univ de Paris-Sud
Real-time multi-user drawing tool (close to GROVE)
features to compensate the lack of group memory: history, age
(display of the time since the last modification with a color) and
identification (display of user who created object with a color),
time-relaxed WYSIWIS (privacy while working), audio echo,
realized with different modi: synchronization view
(localization mode), identification mode,
Fully replicated document storage; Synchronization by high-level
asynchronous protocol: distribute events, use logical clock to
timestamp events, list of received events, if received event then
undo all events with more recent timestamp, do event and redo the events
University of Calgary
Multiuser object graphic editor;
WYSIWIS with scrolling and access rights (private objects that cannot
be seen by the other users)
Locks (can be granted by the object owner(=creator): so the state
of an object can only be received from the owner;
the granularity of locks is a handle (one object can have several
handles, e.g. a line has two);
- GroupIE (Group Interaction Environment)
Integration of a multiuser editor, a conferencing tool and a email
system; implement in Smalltalk-80; fully distributed/replicated;
supports text, graphic, video objects and compound objects
OO graphical multiuser editor with integrated email functionality.
Distribution with distributed Smalltalk; remote method call based
on proxy concept.
Parameters of cooperation (granularity, notifications, ...) are
University of Calgary
Synchron, implicit interaction on common text/graphic documents
in local distributed groups. Users may execute every action, there
is no synchronization/coordination. No concurrency control, all
events are distributed to all other users; multiple active cursors
that show user names and current action (draw, delete, ...);
Central registration daemon that handles newcommers.
Knowledge Science Institute, Univ. of Calgary
Notion: should contain all the features of existing commercial
wordprocessing systems. full versioning facilities, being able to
maintain multiple versions, reproduce older versions and compare
different versions; complexities can be hidden by the user interface
Using a commercial wordprocessing engine as its core element
Text editor; storage granularity is a paragraph; linear text
structure; versioning for paragraphs and for the structure;
possibility to choose between alternative paragraphs (versions)
or to merge alternative paragraphs (with help of the system).
The existence of different alternatives is indicated by marks
in the editor window. Annotations are indicated in the same way.
Microelectronics and Computer Technology Corporation
* text (mainly short document, outlines)
* very tight coupled cooperation (two users editing the same word ...);
propagation of actions by character, WYSIWIS (strict and relaxed)
* text is fully replicated
* special concurrency control method; ordering and transformation of
* access rights, different views possible
- Instant Update
On Technology (for Macintosh)
(info in MacUser Jan 92)
Sister product of Meeting Maker. Timestamp paragraphs and sorts
changes different users have done to the same document. A push on
the 'update-button' updates other users changes to the
document. Users may edit off-line. The users get a message if the
'master-document' is changed.
Technische Universitaet Muenchen, Michael Koch
Iris is distributed multiuser multimedia editor. It handles
hierarchical structured documents. The handling of the medium
contents is separated from the storage of the structure.
The storage is fully replicated (in the moment only realized for
the structure, text contents and graphic contents).
Synchronization is handled with locks. Concurrency control is based
on a voting scheme. In the future a optimistic versioning scheme will
Hypermedia system, single logical database (physically distributed
across network): master server;
optimistic concurrency control: does not guarantee that one is able
to save changes after editing!
Linear version thread for the individual frames and framesets
- MACE (Mother of All Concurrent Editors)
Computer and Information Sciences Department, University of Florida
Text editor; tightly coupled, synchronous cooperation and loosely coupled,
asynchronous cooperation is supported. Synchronization with explicit
locks of any size (no pre-defined granularity).
Multi-level server architecture; concurrency control by central server
University College London, Cambridge University
MESSIE is a environment for collaborative editing, that supports the
collaborative creation of larger documents by teams of geographically
distributed authors, that work on heterogeneous systems.
Shared filestore via Email; all authors may read all files in the
filestore and may add comments.
Requirements: system should be simple to install, maintain and
port; storage overhead for the documents should be kept to a minimum;
it should be possible to manage documents remotely as well as locally;
Policy-free collaboration; not everybody has synchronous connection or
possibility to work remotely on another machine
Implementation by the integration of existing tools: shared filestore,
electronic mail, version control tool
Lund University, Sweden
Semi-(a)synchronous collaborative editing for hierarchical
attempt to integrate synchronous and asynchronous editing.
Based on the Mjolner project (oo software development environment)
concurrency control by fine grained versioning
awareness: 1 evolution graph; 2 presentation of active diffs (shows
differences between revisions or alternatives of the document)
Allows small distributed workgroups to jointly edit multimedia
documents and to conduct an audio conference at the same time. The
prototype system is based on OSI upper layer protocols and runs over
a variety of networks including TCP/IP...
Part of a conference system;
chairman, who chooses access control policy in conference: none
(social protocols on audio channel), access control by tokens,
invite by chairman
Documents are hierarchical structured (ODA), hierarchical locks of
access writes on sub-trees
Distributed multiuser hypertext system (storage for CAD systems);
central server; transactions
capability for complete version histories at the granularity of
'writes' from a text editor; it is possible to see any version
of a hyperdocument
- PREP (work in preparation editor)
Carnegie Mellon University
Same goals as Quilt: support of asynchronous implicit interaction
by change of text documents and annotation.
Basic coordination by access rights.
Quilt supports asynchronous, implicit interaction on text documents;
different types of annotations (private note, public comment);
asynchronous messages to selected partners;
Basic coordination by the access rights, roles;
common database for the documents;
Realized on the basis of standard software: Orion database,
Quilt hybrid of a multi-user hypermedia, computer-conferencing and
multimedia electronic mail system. people have different roles in
the production of a document. centralized database system. document
structure consists of a basic tree (consisting of base document with
n annotations), comment text or voice (private comments, public
comments, directed messages), system and user log (system log:
system messages like 'edited section 2.2 for 2 hours; 15 of 45
paragraphs changed', user log: messages by user)
Prototype system for collaborative synchronous writing. Designed to
support both focused and independent work. Assumes that people will
communicate via telephone or an AV connection. text modifications
immediately appear on all text windows. telepointers are
provided. users are provided continuous feedback of other
collaborators working locations in the document with color coded
scroll bar for each user, indicating the current locations of
collaborators. The text is locked at the users text selection
level. This means that it is possible for collaborators to work
within the same line of text.
SASSE: support for brainstorming, outlining, reviewing. views
provides information about who the collaborators are, where in the
document they are working, and what they are doing. An annotation
mechanism have been added to allow authors to exchange notes and
comments. A version mechanism shows which part of the document where
changed by whom.
Non-optimistic locking of regions
Supports synchr. and asynchr. collaborative creation of
hyperdocuments such as manuals, articles, proposals etc. Provides
several different activity spaces, which could be seen as
task-specific browsers. The users interact with four activity space
browsers dedicated to the tasks of the content generation and
structuring, planning, arguing and writing. The basic objects in
SEPIA are atomic nodes, composite nodes and labeled links. Multiple
browsers on the screen displays different composite nodes. The state
of an object is signaled by using colors. Used in collaboration
SEPIA supports three different modes of collaborative writing
(individual work, loosely coupled and tightly coupled mode) and a
smooth transition between them. WYSIWIS in tightly coupled mode.
Hypertext authoring system consisting of various activity spaces
used for structuring, planning, arguing and writing documents under
a rhetorical perspective. three modes of collaboration: individual
work, loosely coupled mode and tightly coupled mode. smooth
transition between these modes of collaboration with automatic node
locking and 'author awareness' when somebody is in the same node for
loosely coupled work; shared views, telepointing, audio-visual
connection for tightly coupled work.
current CSCW systems do not support different collaboration models
at the same tome, nor do they allow for parallel work on a shared
information base or alternative states of a shared information base.
-> individual work, loosely-coupled work, tightly coupled work
transitions between the modes are triggered by the authors
navigational actions or by explicit conference requests
CoVer, a contextual version server (hypermedia version server,
realized as extension to cooperative hypermedia server CHS)
represents versioned objects by so called multi-state objects (mobs)
mobs hold history of a single object, tasks store history of a group
CoVer offers task oriented version support
- Shared Books
'publication management' system based on the Xerox ViewPoint
document processing system.
Container for different documents (or parts of documents).
These can be accessed by several users at the same time;
explicit locking per sub object; simple revision control;
collaborative editing of one object is not possible;
University of Michigan
Co-authoring system for Macintosh. WYSIWIS editor. Multiple users
may edit the same file. can be used with MacWrite, MacDraw and
MacPaint. Similar to 'Aspects' but locks on the character level.
Each collaborator has an identical view of the document the group is
working on (WYSIWIS). To enter text, you select an insert point and
type normally. Your input is automatically sent to the server if you
are idle for a specified time period. If you place your cursor at a
point someone else has selected, you are locked out until that
person finishes. The status window shows who is currently editing
and who is tracking (i.e watching what someone else types as it is
being typed). users with sufficient memory can run two ShrEDIT
sessions under Apples multitasking system, enabling them to maintain
seperate planning and text documents. A local word processor could
run as a third task for private notes. Interaction parameters such
as the number of seconds of idle time before new text is sent to the
server can be set by the users.
Synchronous group writing system which allows for the fine grained
editing of text. no prescribed structure for collaborative work,
relying on the authors to form some method of working
together. private and shared (public) views, track another authors
locks shared windows at the level of text selections. no telepointers.
"find" other users; "track" other users
lack of structure
minimal system constraint: synchronous shared editing tool designed
for use in face-to-face design meetings. users can work
simultaneously in any part of the document, although insertion
points are locked, so that no two insertion points can be
Shared Editor on a single screen (two mice, two keyboards ...)
4. See bibliography-editors FAQ
David S. Stodolsky Euromath Center University of Copenhagen
firstname.lastname@example.org Tel.: +45 38 33 03 30 Fax: +45 38 33 88 80. (C)