SwellRT is a free and open-source backend-as-a-service and API focused on ease-of-development apps with real-time collaboration. It supports the building of mobile and web apps, and aims to facilitate interoperability and federation.
The GRASIA research team at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, as part of the EU-funded project (2013-2016). In 2014, the developer Pablo Ojanguren took the lead in forking Apache Wave, dropping several components, re-engineering it, and building a “Wave API” to build applications on top. In 2015, such Wave API became a standalone product named SwellRT.
In 2016, several discussions took place within the Apache Wave community, aiming to tackle the stagnation and crisis state of the project. The Apache Software Foundation Mentor of Apache Wave, Upayavira, was concerned about the project stagnation, but framed SwellRT as Wave’s potential savior: Once more Wave is on the brink of retirement. However, this time, it is a fork of Wave itself, and it has been agreed to be of a particular nature. It is my understanding that many of the complexity issues have been resolved in SwellRT. Eventually, Wave was approved to continue within Apache incubator program, and a copy of SwellRT codebase was placed in the Apache Wave repository in order to grant the Wave community access to it. In this regard, the Intellectual Property of Swell was submitted to the Apache Foundation in 2017.
In both 2016 and 2017, SwellRT participated in the Google Summer of Code as part of the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University. In both years, the contributions were highly relevant. In 2016, SwellRT replaced its XMPP-based federation protocol (inherited from Apache Wave) for the Matrix.org federation protocol. In 2017, end-to-end encryption was implemented, following an innovative approach to encrypt communication in Operational Transformation Collaborative Documents. SwellRT received international recognition within the fields of decentralized technologies and real-time collaboration. In the Decentralized Web Summit, organized by the Internet Archive in San Francisco, it was selected as one of the current innovative decentralization technologies. It was also selected by the Redecentralize advocacy group, which was interviewed by SwellRT, which was awarded to open source developers in India. And the project has been presented in the Center for Research in Computing and Society at Harvard’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and in several international conferences. SwellRT was one of the first adopters of the Covenant code of conduct. And the project has been presented in the Center for Research in Computing and Society at Harvard’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and in several international conferences. SwellRT was one of the first adopters of the Covenant code of conduct. And the project has been presented in the Center for Research in Computing and Society at Harvard’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and in several international conferences. SwellRT was one of the first adopters of the Covenant code of conduct.
SwellRT is a fork from Apache Wave, inherits some of its architecture and technology stack. However, it’s growing beyond the limits of Wave, as it’s growing as a backend-as-a-service platform. Its current technical approach
SwellRT provides a programming model based on collaborative objects. A collaborative object is a JSON-like object that can be shared by some users (or groups) that can make changes in real-time. Changes are propagated (and notified) in real-time to any user connected to the object. A collaborative object can store properties of simple data types (string, integers, etc.) as well as rich-text and references to files or attachments. This approach is suitable for any collaborative document like text editor or spreadsheets. Objects and participants are uniquely identified on the Internet by different federated servers.
SwellRT facilitates the development of mobile / web apps, and thus has several uses of this technology. Apart from the demos provided by SwellRT, third-party developed other apps such as a Q & A site, an extension to extract keywords, a collaborative scrollbar, a political participation Android app, a Trello-SwellRT connector. Besides, two fully-fledged apps are currently using SwellRT technology: