• LaTeX in Etherpad

    Date: 2015.04.29 | Category: etherpad

    Inserting and collaborating on formulas in Etherpad is really easy by simply installing the ep_mathjax plugin.

    What are these things?

    Etherpad is an open-source collaborative editor.
    LaTeX is a high-quality typesetting system

    Getting started with LaTeX and Etherpad

    To install the plugin browse to http://youretherpadhere/admin/plugins and install the ep_mathjax plugin

    Once the plugin is installed click the ∏ button and you can begin writing LaTeX Markup. Submitting the form will insert the LaTeX representation of your text into the pad.

  • Multiple Etherpad instances on one host with Docker

    Date: 2015.04.24 | Category: etherpad

    These Docker CLI commands will bring up multiple containers / instances on one host..

    sudo docker run -d -e MYSQL_ROOT_PASSWORD=password --name ep_mysql mysql
    sudo docker run -d --link=ep_mysql:mysql -p 9001:9001 tvelocity/etherpad-lite
    sudo docker run -d -e MYSQL_ROOT_PASSWORD=password --name ep_mysql2 mysql
    sudo docker run -d --link=ep_mysql2:mysql -p 9002:9001 tvelocity/etherpad-lite

    This will bring up two unique Etherpad instances on ports 9001 and 9002. Each instance will have it’s own MySQL database.

  • Etherpad database tests

    Date: 2015.03.02 | Category: etherpad

    I was curious how much database affected Etherpad performance and with the new load test tool it was pretty easy for me to test.. I expect Redis will be the most performant as it is tuned for KVS, I expect MySQL will follow second and DirtyDB will come in somewhere behind..

    The idea behind the test is to do a snapshot of usage, simulating a lot of clients and authors generating and consuming a lot of content until the server can no longer serve responses to requests in a timely fashion (100ms)…

    I tested the following databases..

    DirtyDB 0.6.9, standard.
    Redis 2.8.4, standard.
    MySQL 14.14, MYISAM db.

    I used the following configs, obviously commenting out when not using a specific database:

    "dbType" : "dirty",
    "dbSettings" : {
      "filename" : "var/dirty.db"
    "dbType" : "mysql",
    "dbSettings" : {
      "user"    : "etherpad",
      "host"    : "localhost",
      "password": "test",
      "database": "etherpad"
    "dbType" : "redis",
    "dbSettings" : {
      "host"      : "localhost",
      "port"      : 6379,
      "database"  : 0

    Important notes:
    * I killed the Etherpad server process in between each run.
    * I ran the same test 3 times and took a mean average of the results.
    * The server ran on one of my cores, the testing client on the other.
    * The read write ops are ~ 5:1 (read/write) but Etherpad will be holding data in memory so it’s plausible the database is hardly being touched at all.
    * Node version is v0.12 – Etherpad sha is cc0eaba7e262ccc97aa0ce34b5e4d0f6eac4fd08

    The command used to run the test:


    Every 5 second this test creates new users in the ratio of 4 lurkers to 1 author, the author contributes content. After 50 seconds, 10 authors will be on the pad and 40 lurkers. All of these authors will be generating content. The test continues until responses are no longer processed within 100ms.


    Clients Connected: 304
    Authors Connected: 76
    Lurkers Connected: 228
    Sent Append messages: 15337
    Commits accepted by server: 15310
    Commits sent from Server to Client: 33638

    Clients Connected: 320
    Authors Connected: 80
    Lurkers Connected: 240
    Sent Append messages: 16607
    Commits accepted by server: 16506
    Commits sent from Server to Client: 32201

    Clients Connected: 308
    Authors Connected: 77
    Lurkers Connected: 231
    Sent Append messages: 15426
    Commits accepted by server: 15325
    Commits sent from Server to Client: 34636

    *NOTE: DirtyDB WILL have severly slow startup times
    after 1M rows. To simulate this I created 1M rows and ran the test again, this was the result.

    Firstly how to make dirty even dirtier..

    # get the current size
    wc -l var/dirty.db
    # do until wc -l shows ~1M
    cat var/dirty.db{,} | sponge var/dirty.db 

    DirtyDB 1M Rows
    Clients Connected: 308
    Authors Connected: 77
    Lurkers Connected: 231
    Sent Append messages: 15108
    Commits accepted by server: 15007
    Commits sent from Server to Client: 33238


    Well I must say I did expect database choice to have an impact on editor performance but it doesn’t look that way under the tests I performed.. I’m going to go back to the drawing board to find a test that will should help us decide once and for all which is the most performant database for Etherpad!

    My thought for a new test is:

    1) Remove all Lurkers, they are just putting load on the test app and it’s the test app that’s maxing out, not the server.

    2) Send messages more frequently (See 1 but also go beyond normal human rates of contribution)


    Since I did the original tests I modified the load test tool to create authors only, here are the results…

    Redis Authors only
    Clients Connected: 180
    Authors Connected: 180
    Sent Append messages: 20553
    Commits accepted by server: 20452
    Commits sent from Server to Client: 22866

    MySQL Authors only
    Clients Connected: 184
    Authors Connected: 184
    Sent Append messages: 23045
    Commits accepted by server: 22944
    Commits sent from Server to Client: 20369

    DirtyDB Authors only
    Clients Connected: 204
    Authors Connected: 204
    Sent Append messages: 28555
    Commits accepted by server: 28454
    Commits sent from Server to Client: 21565

    DirtyDB 1M+ rows Authors only
    Clients Connected: 202
    Authors Connected: 202
    Sent Append messages: 26319
    Commits accepted by server: 26218
    Commits sent from Server to Client: 18200

    Conclusion #2

    With these tests it seems that the database doesn’t affect performance of heavy editor usage. My only assumption is that when the database gets large enough selects and puts will be slow enough to warrant a complex database. DirtyDB has obvious disadvantages of being unable to take home to your mother.

  • How to write a bug report

    Date: 2015.01.15 | Category: developer, developing, development

    You found some behavior you think isn’t right in a piece of software and you are thinking about reporting a bug.. Wait, stop, read this first as it will save you time in back/forth with the developer.

    Is this actually a bug or desired behaviour?

    Ask on the mailing list for the software first. Most developers do things for a reason.

    Does a bug already exist for this?

    Look through the bug tracker / issues for this software, it’s possible a bug already exists. If so you can throw a +1 at it, +1 is a universal “bump” to show your interest. You can also track issues on tools like Github.

    Are you reporting the bug in the right place?

    Etherpad, as an example doesn’t take plug-in bug reports on the core bug tracker. Plug-in bugs should be reported on the individual plug-in bug trackers.

    Want it fixing quickly?

    Create a bounty. You will be more likely to get a fix in a timely fashion. This is especially true for feature/enhancement requests.

    Provide information

    Bug reports like “I can’t click on anything” are completely useless. Include information such as:

    • Operating system
    • Your browser
    • Your browser version
    • The page you are on

    Provide Steps to replicate.

    Provide how you got the problem to happen.. IE

    • click on page X
    • click on element Y
    • do Z.

    Don’t be a leech.

    When you file a bug developers will look at your repository and if this is your first ever bug report and you don’t contribute anything back to any other projects it’s likely you will be ignored.

    Provide Expected behavior

    It’s useful for the developer to know what you actually expect to happen IE:
    Expected behavior: Z element gets big.
    Actual behavior: Z dissapears.

    Be polite

    Actually, I don’t care about this. I’d rather you were clear.

    Other things to consider..

    Is this a security issue? If so use the software packages responsible security disclosure. Can’t find it? Post to the mailing list or bump them on IRC.

  • Finally releasing Etherpad 1.5

    Date: 2015.01.03 | Category: etherpad

    It’s been a long road but I’m super happy to say Etherpad 1.5 is finally released after some intense hacking at 31C3 with my German counterparts! Thanks everyone.. Here is a short video explaining what’s new..

    That’s that milestone met, huzzaa… Next…

    My official announcement