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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

Displayed time zone: Beirut change

16:00 - 17:30
Onward! Essays - Session 1Onward! Essays at Templars
Local-first software: You own your data, in spite of the cloud
Onward! Essays
Martin Kleppmann University of Cambridge, Adam Wiggins Ink & Switch, Peter van Hardenberg Ink & Switch, Mark McGranaghan Ink & Switch
Next-Paradigm Programming Languages: What Will They Look Like and What Changes Will They Bring?
Onward! Essays
Yannis Smaragdakis University of Athens