A collaborative minimalist latex/math editor, inspired by muboard.
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A collaborative minimalist latex/math editor, inspired by muboard.

#What and why?

I sometimes want to talk to other people and quickly write down some math when I'm explaining things. Rather than having other people interpret the unrendered latex, or the ascii/unicode approximations I would write down, I could of course screenshot or screenshot muboard, but it's nicer and less effort to quickly share a link and type things out live. Having the entire thing be collaborative based on some CRDT approach was then simply the natural generalization/implementation of the concept.

#Hacking and deploying

To get up and running, you'll need yarn installed. Then simply run

yarn install

to fill your harddrive with^W^W^W^W install the dependencies. You can start the development server on http://localhost:3000 by running

yarn start

You can build a release/deploy bundle with

yarn build

which should place the files to be deployed in the dist directory.

Once the javascript bundle is built, it should be enough to simply put the contents of dist on some static web server.

Since I don't expect more than a few peers to be connected or working on a single page at any given time, it should work out fine with Yjs' webRTC connection and hence not need any extra servers (optionally, you could run and configure some extra signaling server).

#Why is it more complex and heavier?

Starting to use a CRDT inherently brings more complexity than simply typing in and rendering from a textarea element. Looking into practical CRDT implementations quickly leads one to the Yjs library, which already has bindings for several text editors, but no bindings for plain textarea or other html elements were to be found. Rather than spend a lot of time trying to roll my own bindings, I decided that using one of the existing ones would provide less resistance.

Most of the existing bindings provide a full-blown (and less convenient) rich-text editor with tendencies towards WYSIWYG, so I tried to take the least opinionated out of the options to have as stripped down an experience as I could get, and stay close to the UI spirit of the original muboard.

Needing npm dependencies in this manner anyway, and the bundling and weird other javascript stuff likely being needed already, I decided it could be a fun experiment to implement all of this in some framework that didn't look too horrendous. Note that the entire concept isn't really feasible without javascript, so here we are. Hence this being implemented in svelte.


Similar to the muboard project by which this was inspired, and from which some CSS was adapted, this project is licensed under the MIT license. See the LICENSE file for the details.


This would be a far bigger work without being able to stand on the shoulders of giants so here's a quick list of dependencies nuboard relies on to function properly.

  • The icon (e.g. the favicon) is the cuneiform sign nu, as a play on the meaning of the word/letter nu. This was created by Margret Studt and is available under CC BY-SA 2.5 at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nu_(cuneiform)#/media/File:B112ellst.png. The colors were adapted to be white on blackboard green.
  • LaTeX and mathematics are rendered by KaTeX
  • Markdown is handled by marked
  • Sanitization to avoid XSS in the rendered document is provided by DOMPurify.
  • The editor experience is backed by a miminalistic use of ProseMirror
  • The collaborative editing aspect is handled by Yjs and integration through y-prosemirror, with communication happening through y-webrtc. Some local storage/backup of documents is achieved through y-indexeddb.