16 Comments

Summary:

Last week I read an interesting post by New York venture capitalist Fred Wilson. He was describing his experience with various writing tools he’d grown up using, including early struggles with handwriting and his eventually mastery of word processing software like the venerable old WordPerfect and […]

Last week I read an interesting post by New York venture capitalist Fred Wilson. He was describing his experience with various writing tools he’d grown up using, including early struggles with handwriting and his eventually mastery of word processing software like the venerable old WordPerfect and the current standard in business documents, Microsoft Word.

Now he’s a big fan of Writely, and rather than complaining about the lack of features relative to Word, he actually prefers its lack of what many (including myself) feel is the feature bloat endemic to Microsoft Office applications.

Personally, having been hand-coding HTML and the like for over a decade, I’m rather partial to plain-vanilla text editors, and my online archiving and publishing is accomplished through tools like GMail and, of course, blogs. When I deliver documents to clients, I do everything I can to avoid .doc files, preferring PDFs and using Illustrator if I’m doing any page layout more complicated than, say, a memo.

I haven’t really had a chance to sit down with Writely, but I’ve heard good things about it. Anyone out there have a preferred tool for writing online? How about an online archive service for digital documents, something that can preferrably allow for items to be set as public so that a link can be emailed instead of an attachment?

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  1. Personally I think Writely is great, and I used it for a while even before the Google days, but I have since started to do all most of my writing in Gmail. If its a document I can just copy and paste it to the appropriate program to get the file type I need of I can just email it out. If it had to go to html I can just move it to Dreamweaver and do the formattin there. Best part is I always have access to the files because I email them to myself and I don’t have to worry about losing them. Plus, I really like that it saves my drafts in real time.

  2. Writely is pretty good. Thinkfree also measures up really well. Thinkfree has the complete office suite including presentation module.

  3. I use writely all the time mostly because when it’s time to share it, it’s so easy to let other people view it even while you’re still editing it. Concurrent editing is no less than revolutionary.

  4. Garrett Johnson Thursday, October 5, 2006

    I have become helplessly attached to Google Notebook. All my notebooks are available everywhere I go, no worries about data loss, it has all the simple formatting options I need, the collaboration and sharing features are great, and the Firefox extension makes access a snap. Best of all, most of my writing is a product of research and notes, and well… that is exactly what Google Notebook was designed to handle. Whenever I need make a presentable file for print or sharing I usually whip up a PDF in InDesign.

  5. Writely is pretty great. I used it for the first time a couple of weeks ago because I wanted to have my sister edit something and we both have Google accounts.

    Also, I hear that Zoho Writer is as good or better, I just haven’t tried it yet.

  6. Constance Reader Thursday, October 5, 2006

    I’ve been using Zoho Writer for many months now, and I love it. The import/export function with MS Word and open office apps is smooth and easy, and has always worked without a bobble for me.

  7. Michael Kamleitner Thursday, October 5, 2006

    hm, I’m kind of torn.. agreed, Writely is great for memo’s, all documents without _any_ need for layout. but as soon as you want

    a) import from microsoft word without loosing layout
    b) print your documents
    c) produce documents which go outside your company

    you’ll probably stay with your desktop-word-processor.

    did a longer review of writely: http://nonsmokingarea.com/blog/2006/08/01/office-is-dead-5-google-writely/

    greetings,
    mike

  8. I’m a big fan of Writely, having used it since late last year, way before Google bought it. Obviously there are plenty of things it won’t do that Word does, but if you (as most people really) are just writing standard text documents, then it’s great.

    I use it mainly for its mobility functions, knowing that I can access my set of documents anywhere there’s a net connection (nearly anywhere now), with no more need to import and export files and worry about versions and so on. (Mostly, I use this to work on files at home and in the office).

    The import/export functions are good also, but I freely admit I haven’t even used the main collaboration functions, but it’s good to know they exist. The ability to have users anywhere work on documents together and see each other’s changes would be excellent for remote collaboration work.

  9. among all the bunch of online writers, i like writely because 1. its quick 2. its elegant 3. the most important reason is its with google, as i use many google services like To do list, personalized homepage gadgets and tabs, gmail, having writely with them, all at one place, adds to lot of convienience.

  10. Hi,
    Writely that’s the thing! I love it! And in a comment above I read about google notebook. I didn’t know it before. People, I love it minimum as I do writely! They are great. Light, fast, easy, free and I can use them indepedent of the place.

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