Testing CodiMD

A CodiMD instance hosted by The Carpentries is now available.

Collaborative note-taking is an essential part of what makes our workshops a success. Workshop participants enjoy being able to see the exact syntax of a command that was shared by an instructor, share tips, or ask questions. Collaborative note-taking is also a powerful approach for the many online meetings that take place in our community. Up until now, we have been using Etherpad as the solution to do this collaborative note-taking.

While Etherpad seems to work very well for most people, we have heard recently that there have been some issues with pads getting corrupted and with people not being able to edit pads. The root cause of these issues is unclear.

Few alternatives offer similar functionalities to Etherpad. One possible contender is CodiMD (the free software version of HackMD). The project is very actively maintained and well documented.

One of the key differences with Etherpad is that CodiMD is above all a Markdown editor. While you can ignore this and only collaborate using text a lot of useful features of CodiMD come from using and collaborating using Markdown. In workshops or groups where some participants might already be familiar with Markdown, participants who are not might feel like they are not able to contribute to the collaborative notes at the same level. With its text-only mode, Etherpad put everyone on an equal footing.

There are a lot of other features that might be useful in our community (Slide show mode, generating graphs, managing who has access to the content and who can edit documents, export and publication of the documents).

As an experiment, we have made available a Carpentries-hosted instance of CodiMD that you can use for any Carpentries-related purpose. As a Carpentries space, the Code of Conduct applies to CodiMD the same way it does on Etherpad. Not all features have been activated (for instance, there is no social login, if you want to create an account, you have to use an email address). There is also currently no back up of the server and we make no guarantee that we will continue to support CodiMD in the future. If you create documents that you would like to archive, please export it and back it up yourself.

We also continue to be committed to Etherpad and we have no plan to stop using it at this time.

You can access the CodiMD instance at https://codimd.carpentries.org.

We welcome any feedback about what you like and don’t like about CodiMD by sending an email to team@carpentries.org.

Dialogue & Discussion