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Inko, a peer-to-peer collaborative whiteboard app for iPad and Apple TV (medium.com/creaceed)
65 points by archagon on June 30, 2018 | hide | past | favorite | 10 comments

If this could broadtcast to a non-apple device, I’d buy it instantly. I do online tutoring. Dsmned hard to get a good whiteboard. They’re so easy to make that no one has a good business model, and most whiteboard companies go offline within a year or so.

We've been providing online whiteboards, mainly for online tutoring, for the past 20 years:


We were the first online whiteboard, and there have been quite a few that have come and gone over the years. As you say, many seem to be run as a hobby, with minimal support. There are many free online whiteboards out there, and it's difficult to make money from it that way unless you have some kind of paid-for premium version. Our software is used by the largest online tutoring company in the UK, as well as many 1-person online tutors.

Does it have select + cut/paste? Didn’t see it.

Yes, our Groupworld product has that. The free version doesn't.

Try https://qkast.com this is whiteboard broadcasting tech that works in a ubiquitous way with any web content out there. It works via a chrome extension that doubles as a web clipper. It's free.

This is delightful!!! Especially their attempt at MPC or CAS, and they get huge points for their research on CRDTs (something our Open Source library handles for you https://github.com/amark/gun) and OT (not P2P, requires a centralized resolver). Key quote:

> We have opted for a centralised repository-like approach that would store editing operations from different users. This is also the basis of the per-user undo system, and we combined that with a local database to store transient snapshots (canvas is bitmap based), so that we can redraw any point of the repo history with minimal number of operations. Repository also implements automatic pruning of older history to limit complexity for longer sessions.

They then mention a star configuration, yet they clearly demonstrate the app working without WiFi, could somebody on the team explain more what they mean by that? Just that the data is in a star configuration (not the network)?

Incredible work :) :) :) it is very rare I see legit P2P tech out there, definitely worth the upvotes!

Thank you! I'm from the team, I'll try to answer your question.

One tablet creates the drawing group, and other tablets join that group. The host centralizes the data submitted by participants (guests), and it redistributes it to all other.

So it's "star" because one manages the data, and it's "peer-to-peer" because it uses an Apple Wi-Fi extension that enables direct NxM networking of devices (no Wi-Fi access point needed). Also works with Apple TV.

Hey! I'm not the person you're responding to, but since you're here anyway, I have a quick question. I found your article by Googling "MultipeerConnectivity" and "CRDT", to see if anyone had put the two technologies together. I was wondering: why did you decide to eschew MultipeerConnectivity in favor of your custom solution? What was missing from that framework?

Also, what's the Wi-Fi extension that you used to implement your tech? Haven't heard anything about this, would be very interested in investigating further!

Hasn't this been tried multiple times before, and why should it catch on this time?

Besides, I find supposed communication tools that are limited to a single platform a little off-putting.

For the record, this isn't my app, but I thought the P2P tech was quite fascinating! Perfect use of the tablet form factor.

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