Collaborative text editors and screen sharing solutions usually suffer from the following problems:
Users are confined to looking at the same thing.
Only one user can edit at a time.
One person is usually stuck in an unfamiliar editor.
Only 2 people can work at a time.
We started building Floobits for ourselves to address these concerns.
Floobits allows multiple users to simultaneously edit any file using the text editors they already know.
If I use Neovim, can I work with someone who uses Emacs?
Can I work with someone who doesn’t have a paid account?
What are organizations?
See our org help page.
You don’t need to create an organization to collaborate with other users. They just need permission to edit the workspace.
How do permissions work?
Floobits has four permission levels which affect a given user or all the members of an organization.
None: this level is implicit.
Readable: this level allows reading from all files in the workspace.
Writable: this level allows writing to all files in the workspace.
Administrate: this level allows the user to change the other permissions, transfer ownership, or delete the workspace. Additionally, admin perms are required for write access to someone’s terminal (using flootty)
A workspace's permissions can be changed on its permissions tab. The owner of workspace cannot remove their own permissions.
What is a secret workspace?
Secret workspaces are unlisted under the owner’s profile page for anyone who isn’t an admin.
Why would I want a secret workspace?
Secret workspaces are convenient when you want to collaborate with someone who doesn’t have a Floobits account. For instance, you could use a publicly writable, secret workspace for interviews.
Just share the URL with them and you’re set.
What is the difference between public and private workspaces?
Your public workspaces are listed under your user profile, like https://floobits.com/ggreer.
If someone knows your username, they can see your public workspaces under your profile page.
Any workspace that is not readable by everyone is considered private. Secret workspaces are also considered private.
I’m not comfortable with public workspaces. Can I try out Floobits using a private one?
Yes! New users get one free private workspace for the first week after they sign up. Try it out and let us know what you think.
How does Floobits work under the hood?
Floobits integrates with native text editors and IDEs through their plugin interfaces and internal APIs.
This is often difficult and ugly.
The plugins ship patches to our backend over a persistent TCP connection using SSL.
The backend then sends patches to other clients in the workspace. It also attempts to resolve conflicting patches.
In general, only open buffers that are part of the workspace will be patched; we do not yet support on-disk file watching.
If someone changes a buffer you have closed, Floobits typically writes the file to disk in the background.
Why is Floobits centralized?
Here are a few reasons:
The backend is non trivial and is getting more complex as we move forward.
Setting up Floobits is hard and the vast majority of users aren’t interested.
Running the entire server stack out of a editor plugin also isn’t feasible.
Users shouldn’t have to deal with firewalls and we don’t want to deal with them either.
A peer to peer network would be even harder to build.
Minor increases in latency cause cascading failures as patches fail to get merged and cause conflicts.
Conflicts force us to do a costly rebase and/or drop the patch and lock the file to prevent the failure from spiraling any further.
Accounts of some sort are required for access control because most of you aren’t comfortable letting the entire Internet modify your code.
We currently support login via GitHub, but closely coupling our authentication to third parties is troublesome.
Finally, we fundamentally believe that business should make money by charging users.
Companies that grow as fast as possible in the hopes of finding a revenue stream later usually don’t.
And finally, businesses that charge customers directly are incentivized to make better services.
We understand your concerns‐ we’ve also been burned by services that shut down.
Ultimately, we want Floobits to stick around so we can keep using it and this is the best way to do that.
Do you have support for running behind our firewall or for private networks?
We use both Floobits and git to develop Floobits.
We typically create a workspace for each of our git repos.
Repos are great for tracking and sharing stable code.
Workspaces are great for writing and reviewing code.
In our typical workflow, only one person commits while we pair.
Sometimes, it is necessary for both people to commit to the same remote after some changes have already been committed: