August 11, 2010

Collaborative editing

Are you still use Microsoft Word for editing documents? Are you emailing them to colleges for review or further editing? Are you having a headache because of all the various revisions and total loss of oversight of your documents? If you just answered yes, you've totally missed the IT train. And wasting time and energy.

Collaborative editing is the concept of viewing/editing document which is kept on an online server (this is cloud computing at its best). Having a document online has many priveleges like
  • you can access your documents anytime from anywhere; throw your floppies, throw your USB sticks
  • you can invite others to view or even edit the document, also from anywhere
  • you never ever have to worry about backups
  • most servers will allow revision history which allows you to look back and see how that document looked like, say 6 months ago
Google docs (Google is sooooo much more than Gmail and web search!) is one of many different collaborative editors out there. It has many advanced features, actually so many that I've replaced my MS Office setup completely and all my documents now exist in Google Docs. I will very probably write a seperate post about this some day, more than one, since Google docs is a revolution for it self. The main drawback using Google docs is that invited editors require a Google account for accessing the document to be edited and I don't have the time or energy to persuade my colleges to convert to Google (as much as I'd wanted it). Sometimes there's these small documents I want to share and edit collaboratively and I want minimal effort.
Actually Google wave (which was just closed down) was the ultimate collaborative editing tool and many have said it was years ahead of the world.
Let me introduce to you Titanpad. In short, you create a text document online without having to login. The link (URL) then is the key and you keep it in a good place. You don't need to save or do anything other than just keeping the link. You can then exit your browser and enter that link at home and voila, you're editing the same document. Send the link to your friends by email and voila they're instantly editing your document.

This is all but man isn't it beautiful - can't you already see the endless possibilites!!! Try it out - here is a short document I just created:

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