Thursday, October 27, 2011

Complete your cloudoffice with latex

At university you often finds yourself in need to write a professional document, for example a homework or a paper. In many cases, you do that together with other students or coworkers. The quasi  standard to accumulate this, beside MS Word, is Latex. At present, in day to day use, documents are passed via e-mail between the coworkers.

One the other hand side, there exist many webbased tools, like google docs or etherpad, which allow collaborative work in real-time. While extremely powerful, they still lack in essential features to build complex documents like a thesis, a book or even a physics students math homework.

Now imagine the possibilities of combination of both worlds. A free and easy to use collaborative editor with the rendering capabilities of a Latex compiler. That would be pretty cool.

My brother and I thougt about it and we came up with the idea of taking an etherpad, wich in the new javascript-based version is easily implementable in webapps. We build an javabased usermanagment and implemented a rendering engine for latex based on pdflatex for linux. You will find more details in later post.

The name of it is CoLabTex

The Software is currently avaiable as Beta 0.3

The current features are:

- writing latex-sourcecode with others in real-time
- rendering in browser
- send pdf oder source as mail
- collaboration focused document-organizing

Give it a try, you can find a working installation at:

If you want to learn more, get your own installation or contribute, take a look over here: