Design mode, document editing, and you

I was checking out a certain internet tablet and was wondering about the ability to write, share, and collaborate on documents using such a device. I imagine being in a conference, or meeting, and having a small tablet in which I have my own notes and share with others. I want it to be platform independent, unlike the very excellent, though Mac OS X only, SubEthaEdit.

Furthermore, being web-based, (like other web-based apps), syncronization is au gratis. Several very nice options such as Zoho Writer and the apparently very popular Writely are you slick, Ajax/Web 2.0 style interfaces.

Sadly, Writely does not work with the Nokia 770. This Opera Web Browser which is included with web -based editing landscape, as well as a support email from Writely confirms that Opera does not support "design mode", which is the trick they're using to do HTML editing in the web-browser.

WikiWYG is a WikiWiki that uses design mode to handle the inline text editing. Personally, I've just used my homegrown inline text editor.

Zoho Writer at first seems to work well within the embedded Opera browser, but doesn't actually let you view or edit any of your documents. The interface is there, but no one is home. I assume Opera isn't handling some of the Javascript calls for displaying available docs or the editing toolbar. Also, Zoho even on a desktop has the annoyance of not automatically saving. Therefore, you can be halfway through a new document, click a document from your library on the right, and the doc you were working on is gone. Yay, loss data - I'm always a fan of that.

Update: the developer of Zoho is aware of the issues regarding Opera/Safari & the possible loss of data when changing documents (there is apparently a 45 second auto-save of documents) and they are working on updates.

So, the result? Online, collaborative, sharing document editors are quickly rising, and there are no extreme barriers to entry on the bandwidth or technology front. Now comes the hard part, developing good, consistent User Interfaces, stability, and hopefully a little love from the community.

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Andrew Turner is an advocate of open standards and open data. He is actively involved in many organizations developing and supporting open standards, including OpenStreetMap, Open Geospatial Consortium, Open Web Foundation, OSGeo, and the World Wide Web Consortium. He co-founded CrisisCommons, a community of volunteers that, in coordination with government agencies and disaster response groups, build technology tools to help people in need during and after a crisis such as an earthquake, tsunami, tornado, hurricane, flood, or wildfire.