Consistency maintenance in real-time collaborative graphics editing systems
Real-time collaborative graphics editing systems allow a group of users to view and edit the same graphics document at the same time from geographically dispersed sites connected by communication networks. Consistency maintenance in the face of concurrent accesses to shared objects is one of the core issues in the design of these types of systems. In this article, we propose an object-level multiversioning approach to consistency maintenance in real-time collaborative graphic editors. This approach is novel in achieving intention preservation and convergence, in preserving the work concurrently produced by multiple users in the face of conflict, and in minimizing the number of object versions for conflict resolution. Major technical contributions of this work include a formal specification of a unique combined effect for an arbitrary group of conflict and compatible operations, a distributed algorithm for incremental creation of multiple object versions, a consistent object identification scheme for multiple object versions, and a convergent layering scheme for overlapping objects. All algorithms and schemes presented in this article have been implemented in an Internet-based GRACE (graphics collaborative editing) system.
ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction