Rustpad is an efficient and minimal open-source collaborative text editor based on the operational transformation algorithm. It lets users collaborate in real time while writing code in their browser. Rustpad is completely self-hosted and fits in a tiny Docker image, no database required.
The server is written in Rust using the warp web server framework and the operational-transform library. We use wasm-bindgen to compile text operation logic to WebAssembly code, which runs in the browser. The frontend is written in TypeScript using React and interfaces with Monaco, the text editor that powers VS Code.
Architecturally, client-side code communicates via WebSocket with a central server that stores in-memory data structures. This makes the editor very fast, allows us to avoid provisioning a database, and makes testing much easier. The tradeoff is that documents are transient and lost between server restarts, or after 24 hours of inactivity.
To run this application, you need to install Rust,
wasm-pack, and Node.js. Then, build the WebAssembly portion of the app:
wasm-pack build rustpad-wasm
When that is complete, you can install dependencies for the frontend React application:
Next, compile and run the backend web server:
While the backend is running, open another shell and run the following command to start the frontend portion.
This command will open a browser window to
http://localhost:3000, with hot reloading on changes.
To run integration tests for the server, use the standard
cargo test command. For the WebAssembly component, you can run tests in a headless browser with
wasm-pack test rustpad-wasm --chrome --headless
Rustpad is distributed as a single 12 MB Docker image, which is built automatically from the
Dockerfile in this repository. You can pull the latest version of this image from Docker Hub.
docker pull ekzhang/rustpad
(You can also manually build this image with
docker build -t rustpad . in the project root directory.) To run locally, execute the following command, then open
http://localhost:3030 in your browser.
docker run --rm -dp 3030:3030 ekzhang/rustpad
We deploy a public instance of this image using DigitalOcean App Platform.
All code is licensed under the MIT license.