Draft.as - simple, text-based collaboration

This is also a while off, but I wanted to get some early conversations going around our collaboration product, Draft.as.


A collaboration tool tightly integrated with Write.as. Meant to be used for asynchronous text-based collaboration – e.g. a writer and an editor. Basically a lightweight Google Docs.


(A tentative list of features)

  • Revision history
  • Import existing Write.as posts
  • Edit a document anonymously / without signing up
  • Publish final document to a Write.as account / blog


If you collaborate with others on blog posts or other documents:

  • what does that process usually look like for you?
  • what tools do you normally use?
  • what has been missing from the tools you’ve used before?

What would you like to see in a really simple collaboration tool?

Would you find something like this useful at all?


This project sounds great! I don’t know if this discussion is still active, but here’s my two paisa.

First, disclaimer: I’m not on write.as or WritingExchange; my friend and I run a publication on Medium. (I’d like to switch to Fediverse publication sometime though).

We use Google Docs, mainly for its simultaneous editing feature. (Apart from that and comments, most of its features go unused). This is mainly when planning a joint post, so one of us would paste an outline into a Google Doc, and then we’d both work on fleshing it out together (ideally at the same time). When it’s done, it’s copy-paste to Medium or email (depending on what it was we were drafting)

We also have a “Writers’ Programme”, where other authors paste their work, and we add comments or suggest edits to help them shape their story. If the edits are simple we do it in a Medium draft using private notes, but if we want to do more drastic edits, we use Docs so authors can review/accept/reject changes

  • Google Docs
  • native Medium editor

The problem with Medium is that (a) people can’t review edits before committing them, and (b) multiple people can’t edit at the same time. Google Docs, has all the features we need, but it’s got a bit too many features—which means it takes a really long time to load, especially since I have a slow Internet connection.

Your feature-list sounds good. There are a few more advanced features that would make it useful for me, which I’m listing here in order of importance (descending):

  • Private notes (where one can leave a comment inline, similar to Medium)
  • Simultaneous editing (allows multiple people to edit the document at the same time)
  • "Suggest edits" mode (people can suggest chunks of text to be replaced, and those suggestions can be accepted or rejected to actually save the changes)
  • Chat (we often have an ongoing chat while editing documents simultaneously. Something like an XMPP plugin would do)

If there was one deciding feature, it would be simultaneous editing. It’s what a lot of collaborative editing tools (both free and non-free) are missing. Of course, that means it’s probably pretty hard to implement :stuck_out_tongue:

Hope that helps (and sets the ball rolling). All the best!


How far could the revision history possibly go? I can imagine a scenario where the revision history includes versions of a post that were deployed by another user. Something like forking found in Github or Smallest Federated Wiki.

I’d love something like this, but my projects are usually longer form. I’d be most interested in using it as a markdown replacement for google docs, where it could significantly speed up parts of our long-form book-publishing process.


Yes! Please. I work with 2-4 people on collaboration projects, which include some combo of co-author, proofer, editor, and me. Current process is bulky and ugly. Ulysses to .docx where they use Word to comment and track changes, and I edit from that (via Pages) back into Ulysses, from which I publish either to a blog, submitting elsewhere, or ebook via Vellum.

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It would be great for Draft.as to allow up to five total collaborators under a single Pro account. This would help expose folks not using write.as and friends to the .as family and it’s delightful simplicity, and prevent the need for them to join to be a barrier to entry/experience.

Hey Matt! Any chance there is a beta in the works? Hoping for something soon! Grin.

Hey @DeaconPatrick, not quite yet. Still have our eyes on other priorities at the moment :slight_smile: But I’ll keep everyone updated here once that changes!

@matt Definitely interested in Draft.as. I co-create a podcast and writing show notes isn’t easy anywhere. We have de-googled for obvious reasons. Used Dropbox Paper then discovered it was not possible to export markdown in their mobile apps, which was a deal breaker.

Required Features

  • Markdown support
  • Easy to invite guests to collaborate without a complex account setup
  • 100% reliable syncing (well, 99.9999%, with backups). None of the iCloud flakiness that lost people’s data :scream:

Definitely interested in this too.

I think feature wise the ability to fork & comment would be amazing.

Happy to be a guinea pig for this is development has progressed.


Bumping this … any ideas on timing for draft.as?

Bumping again. Hoping for an update. From your mini-me posts, @matt, it looks like the foundational bits are coming together?

@matt, per: I would very much like to write two or three new blog posts at once right now,... — Micro Matt,

I actually write pencil to paper, then type it in, so that isn’t my issue, but as you no doubt already ken, I’m hopeful for collaboration possibilities that are simple and easy via draft.as.

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Thanks @DeaconPatrick, that’s good to know. I do think Draft.as is around the corner for us, probably early next year.

Hi @matt , I think for this you should have a look at what the guys behind Help This Book (helpthisbook.com) are building. I’d love to have something like that, but for my blog. I especially like their feature that nudges reviewers to highlight fragments and mark them as boring/insightful/interesting/confusing, instead or as an alternative to free writing a comment.

I would personally LOVE to see this come to light. I really enjoy the experience of write.as. It’s my ideal writing experience and so … pleasant compared to all the overly busy workflows.

Collab editing is the main feature I’m really missing! +1 and +infinity and beyond or however many votes I get!