W00T


WOOT stands for ‘without operational transformation’. Operational transformation (OT) is a field of computing commonly used to build real-time collaborative systems like Google Docs. It’s notorious for being complex and difficult to understand, and WOOT proposes to be a much simpler model.

The paper is here in case you want to read it. A few years ago I would have dismissed it as a hack (a key to its implementation strategy is that it never deletes characters from the document). But a few years of experience in software engineering have taught me to appreciate it’s simplicity in implementation. Simple implementation and “good enough” feature set is sometimes the right move.

It’s pretty easy reading as far as academic papers go. It’s full of examples to make sure that you really know the edge cases of the algorithm by the time you’re done reading.

Below is a gif of my own toy implementation. You can find the code is on Github here.