Neil's News


25 June 2006

The content on this page has been superseded: MobWrite

Every month or so someone gripes that unlike most 'blogs', this website doesn't have the facility for user comments. Well, that's because I don't trust you guys. Would you trust you guys? Didn't think so.

However, I've had a good week, so let's see what happens. Below is a prototype of my new "Web-based Open-source Multi-user Real-time Plain-text Editor", or WbOsMuRtPtE for short (catchy huh?).

If you are really lucky, you'll be typing while someone else is typing. [You can pop open another copy of the window to simulate this effect.] There's 3,500 lines of server-side and client-side synchronisation code which quietly kicks in to prevent you from fighting with each other. Note that this is only a prototype. That's why it uses a simple HTML 'textarea' which results in the cursor losing position every time a remote change arrives.

Special thanks to Paul Johnston for his excellent JavaScript implementation of MD5. It's being used to detect if my code has failed, thus allowing fault tolerance. The entire project is one big non-deterministic race condition, so it's good to have a parachute for the occasional hiccup.

Most people reading this will also be keeping an eye on the cape this week. Especially in light of the unprecedented waivers. Now might be a good time to view Chris Valentine's video of Challenger and Columbia. Unlike so many others, it's not just an exercise in schadenfreude; this one's got depth.

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