Issue 103436 - Calc: Improve Collaborative Editing of Spreadsheets
Summary: Calc: Improve Collaborative Editing of Spreadsheets
Alias: None
Product: Calc
Classification: Application
Component: code (show other issues)
Version: DEV300m49
Hardware: All All
: P3 Trivial (vote)
Target Milestone: ---
Assignee: AOO issues mailing list
QA Contact:
Keywords: needhelp
Depends on:
Reported: 2009-07-09 11:24 UTC by discoleo
Modified: 2014-01-13 11:48 UTC (History)
4 users (show)

See Also:
Issue Type: FEATURE
Latest Confirmation in: ---
Developer Difficulty: ---


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Description discoleo 2009-07-09 11:24:37 UTC
Calc: Improve Collaborative Editing of Spreadsheets when collaborations span
multiple regions

This feature request is derived from issues witnessed when working with MS
Office 2007. It was not tested using OOo (m49 selected to be able to post
issue), but, considering that MS Office allows for collaborative editing for
quite some time, and is pretty advanced in this field, I do not expect that OOo
fares better than the competition.

Multiple users from different regions editing collaboratively a spreadsheet over
the web.

While editing collaboratively a spreadsheet over a local network works
acceptable, when the users are dispersed over a wider region and use connections
over the web/internet to access the spreadsheet, any work becomes a nightmare.

It takes long even with MS Office 2007 to open a decent sized spreadsheet, it
takes long to save the changes, but most notably, it becomes really frustrating,
when you are unable to save the changes, because the spreadsheet is locked by
someone else. You can't just run across the office and ask the person to close
the spreadsheet for a couple of minutes until you saved the changes.

Considering the global nature of commercial businesses, this is an area that
would give the edge over the competition.

The whole collaborative spreadsheet editing should be rethought. A couple of
issues need to be solved:

1.  Aggressive locking and de-locking
Once a user opens, or performs a change to the spreadsheet, it should post a
lock-request. Once it receives the lock, it should rapidly save the changes.
Once the changes are saved, it should immediately release the lock. This way,
every user is able to save the changes without substantial waiting times.

2.  Implement rsid's
Recent posts describe the usefulness of rsid's.
This feature would allow much better merging capabilities for collaboratively
edited spreadsheets. This spreadsheets are likely not as computing-intensive as
standalone spreadsheets, so rsid's could be used in these settings without any
performance penalty.

3.  Implement merging capabilities
One of the most disturbing things is managing a comflict: you either have to
discard the other users work, or do it all over again. This should not happen.
Implementing advanced merging capabilities and conflict resolutions should be
implemented. Rsid's would offer additional benefits in these settings.

4. Temporary data-exchange
Instead of saving the whole spreadsheet, implement a temporary data exchange
container, something similar to the '.lock' file, e.g. a '', where
only sequential changes are stored. All users working in the spreadsheet will
have their spreadsheet updated based on this data, so they always work on the
latest version of the spreadsheet.

Collaboratively editing a spreadsheet poses new challenges in this globalised
world. It is not uncommon to have offices spread over different countries and
continents. Even two distinct regions will introduce various latencies in the
network communication, so that classic collaborative editing becomes highly

People from 4 countries over 3 continents are involved in a project I am
assigned to. But even smaller projects, involving only 2 European countries
showed the limitations of the existing collaborative editing model. However,
there are plenty of new technologies and software should evolve and solve these