Collaborative editing, often also known as real-time collaborative editing, allows multiple users to make changes to a shared document simultaneously. Changes made by one user are instantly visible to others. This method facilitates a more dynamic and instant form of teamwork.
Example: Google Docs is a well-known platform that supports collaborative editing. When multiple users access a document, they can see each other's edits in real-time, with each user's input identified by a unique color.
Concurrent editing permits multiple users to edit a document at the same time, but changes are not necessarily instantly visible to all users. Instead, changes are merged, often with the aid of version control systems (VCS). If two users make conflicting edits, the system might flag a conflict, requiring manual resolution.
Special Mention: Concurrent editing is typically found in Version Control System (VCS) based ECMs (Enterprise Content Management systems). VCS like Git, Mercurial, Subversion, and ByteUnited allow for tracking of file changes and merging of edits, making them ideal for concurrent editing scenarios. This method is particularly suited for scenarios involving large amounts of files and sizable teams. Its merging capabilities make it possible to efficiently coordinate and integrate changes from many contributors simultaneously.
Lock editing is a more restrictive approach. When a user begins editing a document, others are "locked out" and cannot make edits until the initial user has finished and released the lock. This method ensures that edits don't conflict but can slow down collaborative processes, as only one person can edit at a time.
Example: Many traditional content management systems use this approach. When a user checks out a document for editing, it's checked in or unlocked before others can make changes.