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SPLASH 2019
Sun 20 - Fri 25 October 2019 Athens, Greece
Wed 23 Oct 2019 16:00 - 16:45 at Templars - Onward! Essays - Session 1

Cloud apps like Google Docs and Trello are popular because they enable real-time collaboration with colleagues, and they make it easy for us to access our work from all of our devices. However, by centralizing data storage on servers, cloud apps also take away ownership and agency from users. If a service shuts down, the software stops functioning, and data created with that software is lost.

In this article we propose local-first software: a set of principles for software that enables both collaboration and ownership for users. Local-first ideals include the ability to work offline and collaborate across multiple devices, while also improving the security, privacy, long-term preservation, and user control of data.

We survey existing approaches to data storage and sharing, ranging from email attachments to web apps to Firebase-backed mobile apps, and we examine the trade-offs of each. We look at Conflict-free Replicated Data Types (CRDTs): data structures that are multi-user from the ground up while also being fundamentally local and private. CRDTs have the potential to be a foundational technology for realizing local-first software.

We share some of our findings from developing local-first software prototypes at the Ink & Switch research lab over the course of several years. These experiments test the viability of CRDTs in practice, and explore the user interface challenges for this new data model. Lastly, we suggest some next steps for moving towards local-first software: for researchers, for app developers, and a startup opportunity for entrepreneurs.

Wed 23 Oct

splash-2019-Onward-Essays
16:00 - 17:30: Onward! Essays - Onward! Essays - Session 1 at Templars
splash-2019-Onward-Essays16:00 - 16:45
Talk
Martin KleppmannUniversity of Cambridge, Adam WigginsInk & Switch, Peter van HardenbergInk & Switch, Mark McGranaghanInk & Switch
splash-2019-Onward-Essays16:45 - 17:30
Talk
Yannis SmaragdakisUniversity of Athens