Developers creating apps that interact with Google Drive now have a simple way to integrate real-time collaboration.
Google has released a new application programming interface (API) that allows developers to implement real-time collaboration in Google Drive apps.
Users of Google Docs, as well as Spreadsheets and Slides, now have the ability to edit a document at the same time others are doing so, and each can see the changes input by collaborators in real time. This is made possible by a technology called operational transformation, also featured in the now-discontinued Google Wave, which ensures the rapid transference of changes over a network.
Now developers who create apps that rely on Google Drive for storage can provide their users with the ability to interact and work together in real time.
"With the new Google Drive Realtime API, you can now easily add some of the same real-time collaboration that powers Google Drive to your own apps," explained Brian Cairns, a software engineer at Google, in a blog post. "This new API handles network communication, storage, presence, conflict resolution and other collaborative details so you can focus on building great apps."
The makers of three apps have already integrated the Google Drive Realtime API into their code.
One is Neutron Drive, an online code editor. Using Google's Realtime API, Neutron Drive allows multiple programmers to make changes to the same file at the same time. Version control systems like Git allow a similar sort of collaboration, but not in real time -- changes to code stored in a Git repository must be merged, which may create conflicting versions of a file if the same lines of the program were revised by different collaborators. These conflicts can be reconciled, but real-time collaboration provides a way to avoid conflicts on the fly.
Paul Bailey, the developer who created Neutron Drive, said in an email that he found the API to be extremely useful because it makes adding real-time features so easy. "I think you'll see a new wave of apps that will use this technology," he said. "Before this API, I struggled with how to implement real-time features into Neutron Drive and now Google has made this easy and scalable -- two of the best things a developer likes to hear."
Bailey acknowledged that not everyone needs real-time collaboration capabilities. "A lot of developers are lone rangers who code by themselves," he said. "So for them, it probably won't make much of a difference. However, others like to pair program or may need help from a friend."
He also said he expects real-time collaboration will be useful in apps for students and teachers.
The two other apps that have been updated to utilize the Drive Realtime API are Gantter, a free online project-scheduling tool and diagram editor, and draw.io, a diagramming application.
In addition, Google has created a collaborative colored cube puzzle -- a Rubik's Cube for those not concerned about trademark lawsuits -- to demonstrate how frustrating it can be to have multiple people all trying to solve the same puzzle.
Attend Interop Las Vegas May 6-10 and learn the emerging trends in information risk management and security. Use Priority Code MPIWK by March 22 to save an additional $200 off the early bird discount on All Access and Conference Passes. Join us in Las Vegas for access to 125+ workshops and conference classes, 300+ exhibiting companies, and the latest technology. Register today!
InformationWeek Elite 100Our data shows these innovators using digital technology in two key areas: providing better products and cutting costs. Almost half of them expect to introduce a new IT-led product this year, and 46% are using technology to make business processes more efficient.
The UC Infrastructure TrapWorries about subpar networks tanking unified communications programs could be valid: Thirty-one percent of respondents have rolled capabilities out to less than 10% of users vs. 21% delivering UC to 76% or more. Is low uptake a result of strained infrastructures delivering poor performance?
In this special, sponsored radio episode we’ll look at some terms around converged infrastructures and talk about how they’ve been applied in the past. Then we’ll turn to the present to see what’s changing.