Google just announced the launch of its Google Drive Realtime API, a new tool for developers that will allow them to bring the same real-time collaboration features that power Google Drive to their own apps. The API, Google writes, “handles network communication, storage, presence, conflict resolution, and other collaborative details so you can focus on building great apps.” Google partnered with three-developer focused tools, the collaborative code editor Neutron Drive, the project scheduling tool Gantter and the diagraming tool draw.io to test and launch this API.
To show off the power of the API, Google also developed a cube puzzle that uses the Realtime API, as well as a Drive Realtime API Playground for testing the API. Developers, of course, also need to sign up for the Drive API before they can use the Realtime API, too.
The API, Google writes, provides “collaborative versions of familiar data objects such as maps, lists, strings, and JSON values and automatically synchronizes and stores modifications to these objects.” In addition, developers can also add custom objects and references.
Because the API tracks the collaborators’ presence, developers can alert users when others join, leave or make changes to a document.
Just like on Drive, the Realtime API also ensures that local changes are immediately reflected in the local document thanks to Google’s use of operational transformation (OT) at the core of the system. This means your local app will continue to feel responsive, even on high-latency networks.