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Collaborative document editing can be a blessing when you are working with team members or family over the internet. Its a lot more simple, easier and efficient then mailing or otherwise sending your documents and then waiting for the edited document to arrive and then the bigger mess of managing all the versions of the documents that accumulates over time. Gobby is a collaborative text editor that helps you achieve real time collaboration on your document.

Download and install Gobby. Gobby is available for Windows, Linux and Mac. Linux users can also try the distribution’s package manager to install Gobby.

The first thing you would need to do to begin editing collaboratively once Gobby is installed is to “create a session”. Click on “create session” and fill in the details. Gobby lets you choose the port to be used for connections, the name that will be displayed, a color that will be used to mark the edits that are performed by you and it lets you create a password for the session so that only intended recipients may join in.

From the other side your counterpart would need your IP address, use ipconfig on Windows and ifconfig on Mac and Linux to know your IP address and send it over to the other person. The other person can then join in with the details you provided and can choose a display name and color for themselves just like you did. Gobby will let them know if what they chose clashes with any of the contributors currently in the session.

They will then be able to see the documents that are available for editing in the current session, click on one of them and hit subscribe to be able to edit it with you collaboratively. Gobby can be used to connect and bring together any number of contributors.

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Once connected Gobby allows you to chat with the contributors and edit the files and view changes made by others in real time. Gobby is excellent for source code editing as it recognizes and supports syntax highlighting for quite a lot of file types. You can view, add and remove file types and manage other preferences from the preferences dialog.

Gobby supports editing multiple files in collaboration with multiple users. This means that while you are editing file X the other users may be editing file Y together collaboratively and then you can view the changes in real time! You can even view all the contributors and the files they are working on. Gobby lets you save sessions for later use, so that all the details and document lists are preserved and you won’t have to set it up again.

If you don’t want to install Gobby then its worth mentioning that simple collaboration is also possible via Google Docs if you don’t need some of the advanced features of Gobby. Just click on “share” from within the Google Docs interface and enter the email address of the person you want to invite, then from that point on, you can edit the document together.

Have you ever edited a document collaboratively? Do you know about some other tools besides Gobby? Let us know in the comments.

  1. Varun Kashyap
    November 12, 2008 at 9:23 am

    Yeah and Mark Shuttleworth mentioned he liked it too :)

  2. Mackenzie Morgan
    November 11, 2008 at 1:01 pm

    If you're interested in Ubuntu development but can't make it to the Ubuntu Developer Summit, Gobby will be in heavy use there so that you can cooperate on writing specs from a distance.

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