Editing progress in WebODF

The last months the WebODF community has been working hard to add editing features to WebODF. When we talk about editing, we mean stand-alone editing and realtime collaborative editing. We invite you to play with our editor. It is not ready for a release yet, but it is time to show what we have achieved so far.

Editing a text document alone

If you like to jump right in, go to our editor demo where you can open your own OpenDocument text files and edit them and save them again. This works without sending any data to the server. The editing is done completely in your browser and your text file is never sent over the network. The entire editing functionality is written in JavaScript and runs in the browser.

The new features are things that are pretty normal for text editors but we are excited nevertheless. We are proud of what we managed to achieve in a web browser. The editor supports changing text to bold, italic, and underline. Editing paragraph styles is possible. There is an undo stack and most importantly: you can open and save documents as ODF.

Editing a text document together

All editing code in WebODF works standalone as well as in collaborative mode. We have developed a server component that connects different users in real time. You can see what the others are editing as they are typing.

Above is a neat video of what is possible. The collaborative editing scales quite well: we have been having a great time editing a text file with 10 people at once. This was without fancy WebSockets, which is possible too, but with a simple pull mechanism. This allows the collaboration server to be very simple.

No file conversion

In WebODF, the document is loaded without changing it. All other office suites change files significantly when loading and saving them again. This can lead to loss of formatting or objects. Even though WebODF does not support all features that other office suites do, it will simply leave the parts that it does not recognize be and save them back to disk unchanged.


WebODF started at KO GmbH, but has attracted attention from a diverse set of companies. The current work was started as a pilot project for a customer and has been helped by a huge amount of excellent code contributed by QSR International.

We look forward to the next steps on our WebODF journey and invite you to join us. The possibilities are countless. You can integrate this new editor in nearly any application, desktop, mobile, CMS or other website. Adding functionality is a lot of fun and quite easy.