Local-First Software: Seven ideals for Collaboration and Ownership

Local-first software

I found this interesting article that highlights 7 ideals for the creation of local-first applications.

You own your data in spite of the cloud

In this article we propose “local-first software”: a set of principles for software that enables both collaboration and ownership for users. Local-first ideals include the ability to work offline and collaborate across multiple devices, while also improving the security, privacy, long-term preservation, and user control of data.

Motivation: collaboration and ownership

It’s amazing how easily we can collaborate online nowadays. […] Today’s cloud apps offer big benefits compared to earlier generations of software: seamless collaboration, and being able to access data from any device. […] However, in our research we have spoken to a lot of creative professionals, and in that process we have also learned about the downsides of cloud apps. […] To sum up: the cloud gives us collaboration, but old-fashioned apps give us ownership. Can’t we have the best of both worlds?

Seven ideals for local-first software

  1. No spinners: your work at your fingertips
  2. Your work is not trapped on one device
  3. The network is optional
  4. Seamless collaboration with your colleagues
  5. The Long Now (Longevity)
  6. Security and privacy by default
  7. You retain ultimate ownership and control

Here’s the article:

As an example of actual implementation, the local-first ideals described above are adopted by CoBox in Their Ethos.

CoBox is a very interesting decentralized FOSS project:

CoBox: Building blocks for a co-operative cloud

CoBox is a distributed, encrypted, offline-enabled data hosting cloud platform.