With my writer’s group, we’ve been recently exploring the means in which we can share our work via the Internet. Our demands are simple; collaboration must be free, easy to use, and able to allow members to post feedback on a piece of writing.
There are two services I really like are;
Google documents includes a spreadsheet as well as a presentation service all of which are free and online. This is not a program you download, but you go to http://docs.google.com and sign into an account. Once signed in, you can create, edit, and save your work both online or export to a file to save on your hard drive. Options include emailing, saving as a web page, and other features.
You can save in MS Word, OpenOffice, or even HTML. Other formats include RTF (Rich Text Format) and PDF (ebooks). You can import most formats as well.
Another feature I like is the revision history. Your document is saved periodically over time as you revise and save, and you can revert back to any point when you want to. This has saved me hours of work when I deleted a section of a document before realizing my mistake.
The collaboration feature is available for Google members, which is free to join. This will allow people you select to view, and edit your document. This works as collaboration. You also have the option to publish to the Internet, which your document is provided an URL (web site address) and anyone can view it. No one, however, can leave notes.
I find I like Zoho.com more than I do Google mostly due to the number of services available as well as the download feature of having a desktop. Sign up with them, and all services are available to you. I feel their interface is easier to navigate.
The services are free and include:
Writer– An online processor with many of the same features as Google Documents.
Sheet– An online spreadsheet service.
Show– An online presentation service.
Mail– An online email service that allows for collaboration.
DB – An online database service to keep track of all types of data.
CRM (not free) this is a sales and inventory management service.
Projects– An online projects’ service that allows for collaboration and sharing features.
Meeting– An online service that allows for desktop sharing.
Wiki– An online wiki service you can create and manage yourself.
Creator– Web based database applications.
Notebook– An online service that I find very interesting because you can easily create web sites with this, and allows for collaboration as well.
Planner– An online planner to keep track of appointments, to do lists, and more.
Chat– Free online chat service that integrates with the meeting service they provide.
The word processor has more features to create and edit your work. Like Google, the features of sharing, collaborating, and viewing documents works the same. All you need is a person’s email address to view, but in order to fully collaborate, only Zoho members are allowed.
Here are samples of the viewing documents services. Collaborating would allow you to actually edit the documents, but for purposes to illustrate the use of Viewing, I’ve created two samples;
Google Document– As you can see, there is no means people can comment. They can view what I typed out, but that is all they can do.
Zoho Document– This document not only looks more appealing to the eye, you can see ‘comments’ near the bottom thereby allowing anyone to leave criticisms and comments on the document.
If any readers wish to know more, please leave a comment.