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Creating local-first collaboration software with Automerge

A talk at Amsterdam |> Elixir, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 28 Jun 2023


Many of us use collaboration software such as Google Docs, Overleaf, Figma, or Trello every day. While this cloud software is very valuable, it is also fragile: if the company providing it goes out of business, or decides to suspend your account, the software stops working, and you are locked out of all of the documents and data you ever created with that software.

Local-first software is an effort to make collaboration software less dependent on cloud services, and Automerge is an open-source library for realising local-first software. Automerge uses Conflict-free Replicated Data Types (CRDTs) to allow several users to concurrently update a file, and it automatically merges those updates into a consistent result. It provides data formats for efficiently storing this data and syncing it between users. It seamlessly supports both offline work and live real-time collaboration while users are online.

This talk will introduce our recent research on CRDTs, and provide an update on the latest developments in Automerge.