In this post, we’ll walk through setting up Tiptap’s collaboration feature with Rails Action Cable and ReactJs. Tiptap is a powerful headless editor built on ProseMirror, and when combined with Y.js, it allows for real-time collaborative editing. We’ll use Mantine component libaray, but it’s not mandatory for this setup.

If you prefer to dive directly into the code, check out the example on Github

Prerequisites

Ensure you have the following installed:

  • Ruby on Rails
  • Redis
  • Node.js and Yarn
  • Your preferred mehtod of React Setup with Rails

Step 1: Setting Up Mantine

First, we’ll set up Mantine for styling. Follow the Mantine guide for Vite to install the necessary packages: (Same method worked for me using esbuild in my setup. You can do it you own way or choose not to use Mantine)

yarn add @mantine/core @mantine/hooks @mantine/tiptap @tabler/icons-react @tiptap/react @tiptap/extension-link @tiptap/starter-kit @tiptap/extension-placeholder @tiptap/extension-collaboration-cursor @tiptap/extension-collaboration yjs y-prosemirror
yarn add --dev postcss postcss-preset-mantine postcss-simple-vars

Note: This setup includes both Mantine and Tiptap. If you do not require Mantine, skip installing Mantine-related dependencies.

Step 2: Install Rails Dependencies

bundle add redis y-rb_actioncable y-rb

Here we are installing Y.js adapter for Ruby and Action Cable.

Step 3: Configure Tiptap with Collaboration

In the Tiptap setup, configure the StarterKit with history: false as the Collaboration extension comes with its own history management. Additionally, we’ll add a random color generator for collaboration cursors.

function getRandomColor() {
    const colors = ["#ff901f", "#ff2975", "#f222ff", "#8c1eff"];

    const selectedIndex = Math.floor(Math.random() * (colors.length - 1));
    return colors[selectedIndex];
}
const editor = useEditor({
        extensions: [
            StarterKit.configure({ history: false }),
            Underline,
            Link,
            Superscript,
            SubScript,
            Highlight,
            TextAlign.configure({ types: ['heading', 'paragraph'] }),
            Placeholder.configure({ placeholder: 'This is placeholder' }),
            Collaboration.configure({
                document: doc // Configure Y.Doc for collaboration
            }),
            CollaborationCursor.configure({
                provider,
                user: {
                    name: "Vikas",
                    color: getRandomColor()
                }
            })
        ]
    });

Code to connect with websocket provided by ActionCable. Don’t worry about the channel creation now, we will create it later. Assuming channel name will be SyncChannel we will add following code. (Here id is hardcoded, as this is just a demo. we won’t be using proper auth in backend as well to keep things simple)

// ... other imports
import { createConsumer } from "@rails/actioncable"
import { WebsocketProvider } from "@y-rb/actioncable";

const consumer = createConsumer();
const doc = new Y.Doc()

const provider = new WebsocketProvider(
    doc,
    consumer,
    "SyncChannel",
    {
        id: 1
    }
);

// ... other codes

You can see full frontend code in App.jsx. This contains everything in a single file which is not great but good enough for this case.

Step 4: Set Up Rails Action Cable

Create a new channel name SyncChannel at app/channels/sync_channel.rb.

# frozen_string_literal: true
class SyncChannel < ApplicationCable::Channel
  include Y::Actioncable::Sync

  def subscribed
    # initiate sync & subscribe to updates, with optional persistence mechanism
    sync_for(session) { |id, update| save_doc(id, update) }
  end

  def receive(message)
    # broadcast update to all connected clients on all servers
    sync_to(session, message)
  end

  def doc
    @doc ||= load { |id| load_doc(id) }
  end

  private

  def session
    @session ||= Session.new(params[:id])
  end

  def load_doc(id)
    data = REDIS.get(id)
    data = data.unpack("C*") unless data.nil?
    data
  end

  def save_doc(id, state)
    REDIS.set(id, state.pack("C*"))
  end
end

This has Redis initialized as REDIS, replace it with your Redis variable name. We also created a Session model for sync_for mehtod. You can check documentation for sync_for here.

# frozen_string_literal: true

class Session
  attr_reader :id

  def initialize(id)
    @id = id
  end

  def to_s
    "sessions:#{id}"
  end
end

And finally ApplicationCable::Connection will be as follows

module ApplicationCable
  class Connection < ActionCable::Connection::Base
    identified_by :id

    def connect
      self.id = SecureRandom.uuid
    end
  end
end

Step 6: Add Styles for Collaboration Cursor (Option)

Everything should be working by now. In this step the cursor was looking odd, so some CSS can be add to make it look good.

Finally you can run your rails server and it should be good to go once we add all missing piecies specially authorisation.

Conclusion

By following these steps, you should have a real-time collaborative editor up and running using Tiptap, Y.js, and Rails Action Cable. While we used Mantine for styling in this demo, you can customize the styling as per your requirements. This setup provides a robust foundation for building collaborative applications with rich text editing capabilities.