Friday, October 15, 2010


web-based collaborative tools

“In the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed”Charles Darwin

The importance of teamwork is instilled in all of us as part of our education with a seemingly endless barrage of group work and team assignments, and the concept of collaboration usually follows us into our work lives, playing an intrinsic role in almost everything we do. Whether we have to work on a school project, a college research paper, or even a work assignment, chances are we will, at some point, want (or need) to collaborate with our class-fellows or colleagues. The powers of technology have made it possible for such collaboration to take place without the need to be at the same location, and various browser-based tools are making such collaboration even easier: no need to shuffle emails and messages back and forth; no need to install additional software; you don’t even have to sign up or create an account (although you have that option if you want to save your data online and use advanced features). And while you can always use Google Docs for this purpose, there are various standalone web-based services if you’d rather use something that doesn’t plug into Google. So if you have to write a group report, plan a meeting with co-workers, figure out the best route for a carpool, or even doodle with your friends just for fun, the following tools might be a good place to start:

1. iEtherPad ( Based on the EtherPad software, iEtherPad is a web-based word processor that allows multiple people to work on the same document simultaneously, instantaneously showing the changes that are made by any of the users. The service is extremely easy to use; simply open the website, start a public notepad right away, and invite your friends or colleagues to join in; you can also import your existing documents to iEtherPad, and export the final version and save it to your computer. If you want to share your documents privately within your team, then you can start a secure pad and create a password-protected team site to keep track of your documents.

2. Twiddla ( Twiddla describes itself as a web-based “meeting playground” and lets users brainstorm on a background of their choice, which can range from a blank canvas to a website, graphic, or photo. The website requires no plug-ins or downloads, lets you get right to work, and allows you to productively work with your friends without any hassle.

3. Stixy ( Stixy offers users an unlimited number of shareable Web-based bulletin boards (called Stixyboards) that let you organize your information. The website allows you to create tasks, appointments, notes, and bookmarks on your Stixyboards, and also add photos and documents using the drag and drop widgets. You can make your Stixyboard public and accessible by anyone anywhere, or share your boards with your friends only and give full or limited access to your colleagues as required.

- By Sameen Amer

Ink Magazine - Oct-Dec, 2010

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