Collaborative code

May 19, 2009 at 5:30 am

| Gabriel |

A friend recently told me about a collaborative text editor. I’m perfectly happy having an entirely local text editor because I tend to do most of coding by myself (I’m a loner, a rebel). Although I co-author a lot, there tends to be sufficiently clear division of labor that I can just send data files and output to my co-authors and vice versa. For instance on one project I did all the cleaning and my co-author did the analysis. Nonetheless, not everyone works like this so I figured I’d pass it along.

The program my friend told me about is Etherpad. This is a totally cloud solution and is very quick to set up. Unfortunately it’s really bare bones, for instance it highlights by author (which is good) but doesn’t highlight syntax for anything but Java.

There are also local clients with remote sync. A popular solution for collaborative coding on the mac is SubEthaEdit. On the plus side there is Stata syntax. On the downside both authors need to have Macs and buy the software (30 euros).

A cross-platform, free, and open-source solution is Gobby. Although there is no Stata syntax file it uses a well documented highlighting standard so it should be feasible to write one. In principle Gobby works on the Mac but there’s no binary so good luck getting it to compile. If you’re a Mac person who can’t get Fink to work my suggestion is to use the Linux or Windows version through virtualization.

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