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Introducing Observable Collaboration

Feature update

  • Melody Meckfessel

Update December 2021: Observable Collaboration is now standard. This notebook will remain for history, but it is no longer necessary to enable experimental features to use Observable Collaboration.

We’re excited to announce some major improvements to collaboration on Observable: you can now invite up to 4 people to edit or view your notebooks. Collaborators can view each others’ edits and cursors in real-time — so called multiplayer. It’s like Google Docs or Figma, but with code.

We’ve been testing these features internally for the past few months, and now welcome your feedback on the new editing experience. Help us make the product better for everyone.

To try our improved collaboration, enable experimental features.

To learn more, read about Observable Collaboration and browse the collection. 


FAQ

What are the benefits of early participation?

You will have an opportunity to provide early input on the new features on the platform. The feedback you provide will shape how the features evolve. We want to hear what feels worse, what you miss, and what’s broken or buggy. We also want to hear what you like. All feedback is welcome.

What differences should I expect with Observable?

As a participant, you will be able to share with up to 4 other people in the notebook. You will be able to simultaneously edit with other people in the same cell. You will see the avatar of your collaborators as you work together, and their real time changes in the notebook. You will also see improvements to other features, such as an improved help pane.While we have done our best to find and address bugs, it is likely you'll encounter some. However, you should not see regressions in your work within the notebook. Please see the release notes for more details.

How will this work?

Opt-in by enabling experimental features in user settings. You will be able to switch back and forth between our experimental and “classic” editor using the “Switch to Classic” and “Switch to Next” actions in the notebook menu in the top-right corner.For more, see Working with Observable Collaboration. You can also opt-out at any time by disabling experimental features.

What about existing features not yet in the experimental version of Observable?

We are working to integrate existing features such as "visual dataflow", "history", etc. in with the experimental features. You will notice that in the UI, these features are listed in menus but greyed out, to indicate they are being worked on and will be coming in future releases.

How will you provide feedback or ask questions?

We are super excited about these changes. But we know Observable can always be better, so there’s nothing we’d love more than to hear from you. What’s it like to collaborate with peers in a notebook? Please comment on this cell, ask a question on the forum, or open an issue in our feedback tracker.

What’s next?

We are going to keep working away. We will continue to deploy changes and fixes. We may reach out to ask questions on issues.

Interested in learning more about collaborating with data?