How to install Etherpad on Hidora: online editor for collaborative working on documents
Let’s figure out how Etherpad can be useful for you. It is often necessary to edit together one document with your colleagues whether a press release or blog article. Sending one document back and forth via e-mail is very uncomfortable and requires a lot of manual actions: send a document, wait for a response, make changes, send again and repeat all these actions until you achieve a result that satisfies everybody. And don’t forget to control that every time you send the latest version. Eventually, such communication spends a lot of your time and nerves.
Fortunately, there are services that can help you create and edit documents with others at the same time. You must be thinking of Google Docs?
If these documents are important and you want to be sure that they are safe you should know where your data is stored. In this case, Google Docs won’t be the best solution for you.
In this situation, Etherpad application deserves your attention. This is an open source online-editor installed on own server which enables to minimize the risks. Etherpad allows to work together on documents at a real-time, to leave comments and chat with other members using a built-in chat.
In Etherpad you can format text, change the type of font, size, color, and style as well as align a text.
This open source project is based on original Etherpad product (from AppJet) made of AppJet Inc., later acquired by Google that opened key libraries needed for the creation of Etherpad Lite.
Etherpad is a very simple editor. In the terminology of Etherpad, any document is called a pad. An author of the document can invite for editing any quantity of other users by e-mail (the registration is not required; to get access you just need a unique URL of a pad). Each user gets his own colour to highlight his editing. All editorial corrections made by one user immediately become available for everybody.
Another additional option worth mentioning is a built-in chat. It allows to have a chat with each other and not to overwhelm the document with the comments. An additional advantage is that chat history is saved when you reload the file and when you are back to the editor.
You can also import and export the text in the supported formats: txt- and HTML- files, Word, PDF or OpenOffice. Etherpad is available for Linux, Mac and Windows.
Etherpad keeps all versions of your page, so you can always check how it looked before on any stage of document creation. Any user can save the current state of the document as a revision and go back in the future to any intermediate versions or simply view it (but with the restrictions – only in a simple text format).
It is very convenient that a unique address is assigned to every intermediate version. You can share these addresses with your colleagues or just bookmark them – documents will be always available. In case you have a right to edit you can start working right away with an intermediate version.
It is worth noting that you save the revisions manually, not automatically like in Google Docs.
I think this is the right thing to do because in most cases a document is updated at the very moment when a user is typing text. That’s why scheduled automatic saving will not be a good solution. I think it is great that editors can decide by themselves when to create intermediate versions.
It is very useful for learning or discussing code issues between developers. Or for pair coding by following popular XP methodology – you are not required to sit at the same table and share one computer, you can be anywhere, and work together.
How to Install Etherpad on Hidora
Why does it make sense installing Etherpad on Hidora? The answer is that Hidora provides you with a secure Swiss cloud hosting that respects your privacy. Moreover, it is easy to install Etherpad using Hidora’s marketplace as 1-2-3.
First, open Marketplace section in the Hidora dashboard. Find Etherpad there and click Install button.
Then enter the domain name of your Etherpad application. Note: you can bind your custom domain name afterwards.
The installation process takes a couple of minutes and, once it is completed, you can start using Etherpad. For example, you can install a dozen useful plugins that extend its functionality.
Jean-Luc is a Junior Full-Stack Tech Engineer at Hidora with a strong IT background. He is consulting clients about DevOps and also helping Hidora’s customers to make automation deployments and migrate their environments.