Collaborative real-time editing has become an essential component of the hybrid work environments that have become the new normal across all businesses. Just like any other form of real-time collaboration, collaborative document editing will help improve business processes and workflows, irrespective of the location of the collaborators.
In fact, the popularity of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offerings such as Microsoft 365 and Google Docs is a testament to the prevalence and advantages of collaborative document editing.
However, just like other cloud hosted solutions, the trade-off for using the popular SaaS services is the loss of control over the documents, which will have to be transferred outside the safe confines of your corporate network. There’s also the issue of cost. While they are priced competitively, the mere fact that there’s a price tag associated with the service could be a deal breaker for price-conscious users.
That’s where Collabora Online comes into play. As its name suggests, Collabora Online allows you to edit documents collaboratively. The app is based on LibreOffice and provides a very rich editing experience that works with popular proprietary formats such as .DOC, .DOCX, .XLSX, and more, as well as open formats such as the open document format (ODF).
Collabora Online works right inside the web browsers, which makes it an apt-replacement for proprietary office suite services, such as Office 365 and Google Docs. Best of all, the office suite is available in several self-hosted versions, which makes it an ideal option for privacy-conscious users to collaborate on confidential documents with your colleagues without uploading them to remote services.
Collabora Online offers three different editions of its self-hosted on-premise versions of the office suite.
There’s Collabora for SMBs that supports upto 99 users and costs €17 or $18 per user/year. Larger businesses can opt for Collabora for Enterprises.
Then there’s Collabora Online Development Edition (CODE), which is free for small teams. It can handle ten documents, and 20 simultaneous connections, which makes it an ideal for small setups.
Also note the Collabora itself doesn’t suggest using CODE in a production environment since it is under heavy development, although on the flip side as a user of CODE you’ll be able to experience new features before they end up in the other editions.
CODE offers multiple installation options. You can grab it as a container from Docker Hub, or install it on top of your existing Linux installations, such as Debian, CentOS, Ubuntu, and openSUSE.