AskDev: Real-time group project collaboration tools?

kenbellows profile image Ken Bellows ・2 min read

Hey DEV! I'm in grad school, and I'm taking a course for the summer semester all about Education Technology. The class is structured almost like an independent study, where we spend the semester researching a topic of personal interest and producing something (original research, a tool to solve a problem, or some educational content). As a web developer with a long-time interest in accessibility, I'm exploring a few different angles for building a tool to address accessibility issues with online courseware (MOOC platforms, learning management systems, that kinda stuff).

So, I have a question for the community: are you aware of any software/web applications focused on long-distance group collaboration, such as for team projects and stuff? I'm looking for examples with real-time communication capabilities, file sharing (and ideally editing/reviewing) capabilities, shared notes, etc. I haven't had a reason to use this sort of app in the past, so I'm not familiar with any popular platforms or anything. My first thought is the Google suite (Hangouts/Chat + Google Drive basically), but are there more focused platforms out there?

Thanks in advance!


To clarify, I'm not looking for a tool to use myself, I'm looking for tools to examine for accessibility, and I'm thinking about building an alternative myself. So I'm especially looking for full-featured combination tools if they exist, especially tools specifically aimed at coursework and student group projects.

And to clarify further, I'm definitely also interested in more general solutions that are often used by student groups for collaboration on school projects (e.g. G Suite, Slack), so let me know what you've used, especially if you're a current student!

Posted on Apr 22 '19 by:

kenbellows profile

Ken Bellows


Full-time web dev; JS lover since 2002; CSS fanatic. #CSSIsAwesome I try to stay up with new web platform features. Web feature you don't understand? Tell me! I'll write an article! He/him


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  • For real-time communication Discord or slack are good options.
  • For file sharing (and ideally editing/reviewing) capabilities, shared notes, Google suite or Microsoft office 365 are good options. but a GitHub repo works as well with features such as issue tracking and repo wikis which are really good for keeping notes and documentation with the project.
  • if you are looking for real-time coding collaboration then both VS live share for both VSCode and Visual Studio and Atom teletype for atom are excellent options. another thing about VS live share is the Live Share Extension Pack has Extension's for slack and Discord

Microsoft office 365 is the only tool here with no free plan


Thanks! The angle of coding collaboration is pretty interesting; I've never really looked into the accessibility of IDEs and web-based coding environments like CodePen, that could be very interesting


I have used VS live share, myself a few times. works quite well. just be aware that CLI tooling and build tools need to be run by the host. and dev server's ports need to be forwarded. you also do the same with the terminal.


I’ve used it for years. So good.

I suspect that it’s not particularly easy to find a comparable full-featured service for coursework. However, quip could be used for that depending on what to do. It’s a collaborative document editor but keeps growing in features.


From A-Z solutions, try CSio. Check the explainer video on here.