Skip to Main Content
In distributed Web authoring, shared documents can be accessed concurrently by multiple authors who must be coordinated to avoid conflicts. The current Web standard for distributed authoring and versioning uses a two-phase locking to coordinate concurrent access. As the degree to which authors work concurrently may vary though among cooperative sessions, it is necessary to extend the aforementioned standard so as to support a multitude of lock granularity levels. In this paper, we first examine related protocols from the database literature, and then, we comment on their suitability for distributed authoring in the World Wide Web. Our main contribution is a multiple-granularity locking protocol, in which the locks are optional and they convey the meanings of access mode, locking scope, and locking effect. This protocol allows synchronous collaboration by guaranteeing a conflict-free environment and avoiding update loss while it also supports version control. Specifically, by identifying and timestamping object versions, the protocol preserves author intention and operation causality, which were possible so far with operational transformation only. The protocol's efficiency, finally, is demonstrated by a real test with human users and evaluated with simulation experiments, which reveal significant advantages over other protocols of this kind.