Have you heard of EtherPad? EtherPad is an online document collaboration tool which works in real time. In other words, EtherPad has allowed multiple people to work on the same document at the same time over the Internet. Real time collaboration could have many benefits such as collaborative note taking during meetings, have a team draft a document together in real time, and even allow for team programming.
Recently EtherPad announced that they have been acquired by Google in order to help develop Google Wave. One step they’ve taken is to open source the code so others can run their own Etherpad servers allowing the functionality to live on (instructions).
Well, Chris Pirillo, along with partner Jake Warner, have taken the challenge and have “frozen in time” the functionality of EtherPad and have created the site TypeWith.me which turns out to be a quick and dirty document collaboration tool. Free, easy, point and click functionality. In fact, they don’t even require any registration. Let’s take a look at what TypeWith.me can do with online document collaboration.
The front page makes beginning the process super simple and gives us one humongous button entitled “Click to Create a New Document.” To begin, click the button (obvious, right?)
You have now begun your online document collaboration process. The very next screen is the beginning of the document you will be working on. Notice that although your document is technically “public”, no one will see it unless you share the personal URL for it.
TypeWith.me makes sharing this URL very easy. You can have up to 15 other collaborators at any point but more can join as people leave.
Each collaborator chooses a color to indicate changes they have made. In the right sidebar you will see those who are currently collaborating and a chat window.
Beneath the sidebar there are buttons allowing you to hide/show the sidebar and toggle the use of the whole window. In order to get more use out of TypeWith.me, check out the tool bar along the top of the screen. The options menu allows you to enable/disable authorship colors and the line numbers and to change the font type.
There are several file formats you can import and export.
One of the cool features of TypeWith.me is that you can save the document at any time and you can revert to any point you have saved in the past.
Another cool feature is the Time Slider which lets you go back and watch a recording of the document being worked on. The stars indicate points that have been saved.
That’s it! So basically it turns out to be a no-nonsense online document collaboration tool; no frills. What makes it this way?
- No registration required.
- Point and click ease of use.
- Best of all… free!
Like I mentioned before, the previous owners of EtherPad are now working on Google Wave and have released the code so sites like TypeWith.me can use it. Right now Google Wave is in private beta and is arguably complicated. There are other services that offer online document collaboration but TypeWith.me is a quick and easy one. Check it out.
What online document collaboration tools do you like to use?
More articles about: