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HomeUncategorizedLaunch HN: Tiptap (YC S23) – Toolkit for developing collaborative editors

Launch HN: Tiptap (YC S23) – Toolkit for developing collaborative editors

Hi HN! We're Nick, Patrick, Philip, Sebastian, Sven, and Timo from Titap (https://tiptap.dev/), an open source developer toolkit for building collaborative editing apps. Our editor framework, based on ProseMirror, is at https://github.com/ueberdosis/tiptap, and our real-time collaboration backend, based on Yjs, is at https://github.com/ueberdosis/hocuspocus.

Building editor interfaces like Notion or Google Docs in your web app takes a lot of work and time. Our open source tools and cloud services let you build collaborative content editing faster—in days or weeks, rather than months or years. And this is just for the editor. If you want real-time collaboration or other advanced features like version history in your editor, the overall workload quickly escalates—you will need a robust and serious backend infrastructure that requires even more time to set up and maintain. This doesn’t make sense for most frontend developers or most startups.

We spent eight years as a digital agency developing applications with complex content editing functionality. We learned the hard way how limited the existing editors were. After building Tiptap as a headless editor framework with an extension-based architecture, we needed to allow multiple users to edit content simultaneously, which got complicated. There was no simple solution that could be integrated quickly. So we built that too.

The Tiptap editor is based on the JS framework ProseMirror, which is a good foundation for editors. The learning curve for ProseMirror is steep because it's complicated to understand and lacks simple APIs and documentation. It takes a lot of code around ProseMirror to develop a modern user experience. We’ve taken care of that for you.

Tiptap is headless, so it will work with whatever frontend or design you have in mind—we make no assumptions about your UI. You can use it to develop block-based editors like Notion, classic interfaces like Google Docs, or whatever you need. It's also framework agnostic, so you can use it with React, Vue, etc., or vanilla JavaScript. And it's highly customizable through our extension architecture. We also provide an API to access ProseMirror's internals through Tiptap if you want to dig deep into the core.

Adding real-time collaboration to your editor is as easy as installing and configuring an extension. Our collaboration backend, called Hocuspocus, uses Yjs. This is a widely used implementation of CRDTs (conflict- free replicated data type). Hocuspocus makes it easy to set up a Node.js websocket server to handle communication between multiple peers to synchronize data. Like the Tiptap editor, Hocuspocus is designed to be extensible according to your needs. Also, Hocuspocus can work independently of Tiptap with other editors like Lexical or Slate.

An earlier version of Tiptap got discussed a couple years ago at https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=26901975. We’ve been enjoying wider adoption since then. For example, Substack uses Tiptap for their editor that allows creators to write content on substack.com, and YC uses Tiptap in their Bookface forum (which is basically HN for YC alums).

With the Tiptap Cloud, we offer managed backend services if you don't want to build and maintain every feature yourself. For real-time collaboration, we provide a cloud infrastructure with multiple datacenter regions where you can deploy Hocuspocus. The Tiptap AI integration beta is a service where you connect your OpenAI API key to our backend and install the Tiptap editor AI extension to get AI writing experience in your editor. Here’s a demo: https://ai-demo.tiptap.dev/

We invite you to explore Tiptap's capabilities in your app, contribute to its open source development, and (hopefully!) join our welcoming community. We'd love to hear what you've already built with Tiptap or what's stopping you from creating something with it 🙂 We look forward to all of your comments!

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