EtherPad: collaborative writing made easy

Posted: October 22, 2009 in organization, software
Tags: , , ,

etherpad-01

I stumbled upon a very interesting service the other day, EtherPad , and was so impressed with it, i thought it deserved a little more attention, or as much as my little blog can bring anyway.

It is basically a web-based collaborative word processor, that is so simple to use and convenient that i’m not sure why i hadn’t come across it before.  The process is simple.  Open a new document, invite your collaborators via email or pasting a simple message into your IM client and begin typing.

etherpad-04

Each participant is shown in a different colour and they have the option of changing their name shown on the screen so you can easily see who is typing what.  Below you can see me and another me adding to the file from my MacBook and my windows PC.  This is on a Public Pad as they call it so basically anyone is able to edit it (if you want to go private that is a paid option) but for most uses, this is a great way to get a start on a design concept, a specification section, a bulletin or letter, etc, the uses are nearly limitless.

etherpad-03

Being web-based means you can access it from anywhere and from any operating system, no need to worry about installing the latest version of some word processing software and saving it to a format that others can use and edit and sending it around and around getting marked up.  This is real-time, and its free for PUBLIC use.  How much more could you want?

This is the kind of software and open-thinking that i love to discover and write about.  As things become more urgent and immediate, real-time collaboration is a wonderful way to stop slowing down the creative process, it may just be the virtual brainstorming session you didn’t even know you needed, but once you try it, i think you’ll be hooked.

tcg

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