What do we want in Etherpad Lite?

Mozilla has a long history with Etherpad, as shown on etherpad.org:

It would seem a shame to ditch it now in favour of something ghastly like Google Docs. I can only assume there isn’t an official project to make Etherpad Lite more match our needs, because if there was I expect there would have been a much smoother transition from the old Etherpad. That leaves this project down to the community.

So, what’s missing from the old Etherpad which we need/want in Etherpad Lite ?

I’ve heard a reasonable amount of pining for the teams feature of the old Etherpad. From what I can remember, teams offered:

  • A unique namespace
  • A list of pads and recently edited pads
  • Privacy control (public/team/private)

Is there anything I’ve forgotten? Have I got something wrong?

Is there a need for teams anymore? Or is an ability to lock pads down to public/vouched/nda/private all we need?


Etherpad Lite exposes an API allowing one to control pads, users and groups from another application: http://etherpad.org/doc/v1.5.1/#index_http_api

This would seem like the easiest (if maybe not the most eloquent way) to implement features equivalent to the old Etherpad’s team features, by building another application which almost acts as a proxy to the actual Etherpad Lite instance. I believe this is how MyPads works: https://www.npmjs.com/package/ep_mypads

I feel like such an approach is rather a hacky solution to the problem, if we want something equivalent to the old Etherpad teams feature, and instead we should be implementing such things in the core code.

However, I have been floating a slightly crazy idea of integrating Etherpad Lite into Discourse around in my mind. It’s not completely coherent, but it would involve something along the lines of supplementing wiki topics with etherpads. So a wiki topic (or some wiki topics) would have an etherpad associated with them, with the same permissions, and every revision then being pushed back to Discourse to display a ‘static’ copy. This would remove the concept of teams, and instead have categories - with the permissions of the pads reflecting the permissions of that category. (I said it wasn’t completely coherent…)

Another idea which was floating around in my mind was integrating Etherpad Lite very tightly with Mozillians.org. Groups could serve as a replacement for teams, and permissions could be set on the basis of being vouched or having signed an nda.

Mypads is now an official etherpad plugin

It’s developed by framasoft a very active french non profit (they used crowdfunding for this project). Framasoft is one of the biggest etherpad hoster (their framapad). Mozfr has a lot of connections with framasoft (we know each other, contribute to the same projects, attend the same events). It’s a very reliable group that knows etherpad really well.

Neat, from the MyPads page:

MyPads manages :

  • users and their authentication
  • groups of pads per user, unlimited, sharable
  • attached pads, with choice between invite known users to use them, making them private with password or letting them public.

Regarding the need for teams, yes. I think that was much more important for most people than the ability to restrict access, though I know people did use the restricted access functions.

The API sounds neat. I’ve always wanted a browser extension to manage my etherpads. If you have too many open it really affects performance, an extension to remember the pads I’ve recently viewed and switch between them would be great.

Appears like at least one person I know prefers Google Docs to etherpad because it’s a mess to edit etherpad on a mobile phone.

That was the case with the old Etherpad. Etherpad-lite is nice on mobile. Have you tried to edit Google Docs on mobile from the browser? :wink:

Yes, etherpad lite is much better than old etherpad for in-browser editing from mobile. Although, in etherpad lite with small screens the chat window opens up and is difficult to get rid of.

But, google docs have a native app! :stuck_out_tongue: