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Viewing collaborative editing through a databases lens

A talk at Have You Tried Rubbing A Database On It? (HYTRADBOI), Online, 29 Apr 2022


Software that allows several users to collaboratively edit a document, such as Google Docs, has traditionally been ignored by the databases community. This is surprising, because managing the edits to a text document, spreadsheet, vector graphics file, etc. is very much a data management problem, albeit with a data model that is very different from that supported by most databases.

In our work on Automerge, a library for building collaborative software, we have been taking concepts from databases and applying them to the domain of collaborative editing. In this talk I will show how column-oriented data formats, multi-version concurrency control, log-structured storage, and other ideas from databases can be used to make collaboration software better.