1. Richard Dallaway
  2. woot



JavaScript and Scala Implementations of WOOT

For the impatient

To run the demo:

$ ./sbt
> container:start

...then open: This will give you a shared document, using the ACE editor.

What is WOOT?

WOOT is a collaborative text editing algorithm, allowing multiple users ("sites") to insert or delete characters (WChar) from a shared document (WString). The algorithm preserves the intention of users, and ensures that the text converges to the same state for all users.

Its key properties are simplicity, and avoiding the need for a reliable network or vector clocks (it can be peer-to-peer).

The key references are:

  • Oster et al. (2005) Real time group editors without Operational transformation, report paper 5580, INRIA - PDF

  • Oster et al. (2006) Data Consistency for P2P Collaborative Editing, CSCW'06 - PDF

WOOT stands for With Out Operational Transforms.


The JavaScript implementation is of the model: you need to bring your own editor and transport mechanism.

You'll find the code in src/main/webapp/wootmodel.js and it uses Underscore.js and RequireJS.

Example usage

// Empty model for site A, clock value 0.
var model = new WString("A", 0)

// Locally insert "a" at position 0.
// This returns an operation you can send to your peers.
var op = model.localIntegrate("ins", "a", 0);

// If you receive an operation:
model.remoteIntegrate(op, function(p) {
  if (op.op == "del")
    console.log("Delete the char at pos ", p);
    console.log("Insert ", op.wchar.alpha, " at ", p);

The remoteIntegrate call will update the model (the data-structure is mutable). It may not happen immediately. For example, if the model cannot integrate the remote operation, the operation will go onto a queue and be applied when preconditions are satisfied.

Queued operations are automatically tested on any remoteIntegrate call. You don't have to work the WOOT queue yourself.

For a full example of using the library via RequireJS, see src/main/webapp/index.html which imports code via main.js.

Data Structures


   site: "X",
   clock: N


   id: ID,
   alpha: "X",
   isVisible: true,
   prev: ID,
   next: ID


   op: "ins" (or "del"),
   from: "X" (site id),
   wchar: WCHAR

Jasmine unit tests

To run the Jasmine tests, open src/test/javascript/SpecRunner.html in a browser.


The Scala version of the model is intended to be a passive peer in a collaborative editing session. As such the integrate method is a remote integrate, and there is no equivalent of the JavaScript localIntegrate function. (Only because I don't need it -- it wouldn't be hard to add at all.)

The Scala WString data structure is immutable, which is another difference from the JavaScript version.

Example usage

import spiralarm.woot._
val s = WString()
val c = WChar(CharId("A",1), 'a', Beginning, Ending)
val s_prime = s.integrate(InsOperation(c, from="A"))
s_prime.text == "a"


To build the documentation:

$ ./docco.sh

and then open the files in the docs folder.

How to run the code

There are unit tests:

$ sbt test

There is a Lift application, which you can start with:

$ sbt 
> container:start

This is a single document example using the ACE editor, with Lift providing the transport. Running this example gives you a shared editor at

Debugging in the browser

If you see either of these errors in your chrome console...

view this Stackoverflow question for a solution.