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GWDG Pad (https://pad.gwdg.de) is an alternative solution to Etherpad, providing the possibility to collaboratively edit documents in real time. It is based on the tool CodiMD. GWDG Pad allows users to create so called notes and to share and edit them via a web browser. The 'MD' in the name CodiMD stands for MarkDown - a beginner friendly language for formatting (web) documents. Some importants hints and functionality concerning the use of GWDG Pad are listed on this page. In case of further questions or issues, don't hesitate to contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Privacy: Per default, all notes in GWDG Pad are readable and writeable for each user if they have the link to it. As soon as a person knows the URL to a note, whose permissions are set to 'FREELY', he or she can read and edit/delete the contents of it. Sensitive data should, therefore, not be stored in GWDG Pad. However, the permissions can be changed by selecting the dropdown menu with the text 'FREELY' on the top right of the preview window. A detailed description of the permissions can be found at https://pad.gwdg.de/features#Permissions.
Deletion of old notes: All notes will be deleted after 12 months of inactivity! In order to make the users aware of the upcoming deletion, the owner of a note will be send an email one month and one week before the deletion. Therefore, GWDG Pad is not an ideal long term storage for data. This is a precaution we must take to prevent the number of inactive pads increasing massively over time.
Conditions of use
In order to use CodiMD you need a web browser with an internet connection. Additionally, everyone who wants to create notes needs a user account at the GWDG. If you want to create a new account to be able to use GWDG Pad, you can register for free via https://www.gwdg.de/registration. Before creating a note one needs to log in by clicking on 'Sign in'. Editing notes, if the URL to it is known, is possible without a user account.
GWDG Pad provides a large variety of different useful functionalities. A current listing can be found at https://pad.gwdg.de/features - example code can easily be copied and modified for your own projects. Some of the most important features at a glance:
- MarkDown: allows text formatting using simple commands, a small cheat sheet can be found at the '?' button on the top left, CodiMD also uses auto completion to assist you further
- Different views: only text field, text field and preview, and only preview
- Permissions: per default, everyone can read and write to notes if he or she knows the URL (!), but this setting can be changed by clicking 'FREELY' on the top right of the preview window (more details to the permissions at https://pad.gwdg.de/features#Permissions)
- Export of documents: select the desired format in the menu bar on the top right below 'Download'
- Embedding resources: images, PDFs, slides, videos, mathematical formulas, many types of diagrams and much more can be embedded (see /features)
- Slide Mode: Editing of slide shows, visit https://pad.gwdg.de/slide-example?both for an example
- Publishing notes: independently of the permissions, one can publish a note and create a new link to a read only preview version
Differences to Etherpad
Here is a small comparison between Etherpad and GWDG Pad in case you used Etherpad before:
- GWDG Pad only allows to create new notes (equivalent of pads in Etherpad) with a GWDG user account
- Setting the permissions of notes allows to set read/write access individually for each note
- Support of Markdown for formatting