An overview of Collaborative Editing, for Instructors and Tutors

What is Collaborative Editing?

Collaborative Editing is when two or more people edit the same document, simultaneously, and collaboratively.

Collaborative Editing is when one person invites others to edit their document, in their Noteable user-space.

Collaborative Editing is not Collaborative Development - multiple people cannot run the code in the joint notebook.

Collaborative Editing is only available in the newer JupyterLab interface.

Starting a Collaborative Editing session.

To start a "Collaborative Notebook", select Standard (Collaborative session) or Geoscience (Collaborative session) from the personal notebook server drop down menu.

Showing that one selects a notebook and ticks the appropriate checkbox

This will start the Notebook Server with the newer JupyterLab interface and the Share option for Collaborative Editing.

Working in a Collaborative Editing session.

When inviting someone to collaboratively edit a notebook, you are bypassing all other login/authentication processes, and inviting them to access your personal workspace. Noteable imposes two restrictions, as a result of this:

  • any files that you wish to share with the guest must be stored in the noteable-collab directory, guests cannot access any other part of your personal workspace.
  • guests cannot execute code in your personal workspace.

The button to share a server link is found by expanding the Share tab in the top ribbon. To share the link click the Share Jupyter Server Link button. Note that the link available from the right-click menu on a filename does not create a Collaborative link: it is missing the authentication token details.

You will see the cursors from other users with an anonymous username. This username will only appear for a few seconds to make room for the document's content. The guest can write all types of cells and execute markdown cells.

Showing that the cursor for other users is shown in the interface

To re-emphesise this point: The guest can also access, modify, move and delete all files in, or under, the noteable-collab directory.

You can collaboratively edit Notebooks (.ipynb files), MarkDown (.md) documents, or plain text files.

Limits to editing.

It is important to be aware that editing the same document using different editors will result in a lack of synchronization.

For example, in JupyterLab, you can open a Notebook (.ipynb file) using the default Notebook editor, or a plain text Editor. If you modify a Notebook with both editors simultaneously, JupyterLab will prompt a warning message indicating that the document's content has changed:

Showing the Cancel / Reject / Overwrite popup from an updated document