Writing With the Web

16 Comments

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?

16 Comments

Brian Solis

I started with Writely, jumped to ZOHO, went back to Writely…now I find myself really using approver.com quite a bit.

Terrance

LIke other people, I started using Writely before Google bought it, and after trying Zoho and another online wp, I found myself going back to Writely. It and Google spreadsheet have become my virtual office suite. I usually create and work on documents in one of the two and only export to a desktop app when I’m sendnig it to someone who can’t quite figure out how to do the online collaboration thing.

Pierre

I am a fan of Zoho writer and Google spreadsheets.

M$ Office has lost all appeal to me. There’s no need for it.

John

The timing of this post is funny. I have always just kind of ignored writely until recently. I have multiple copies of my resume and coverletter in MS word format from each of the different jobs I have applied to. I got tired of keeping track of so many versions of my resume and converting to pdf, text etc. So I decided to give writely a try. I actually love it. The biggest benefits to me were:

– allow multiple users to change the same document even at the same time and keep track of changes automatically
– compare versions, eg. 10 minutes ago vs. 13 days ago.
– export to pdf, MS Word, Open Office, html
– publish online, publish to blog
– nice searching
– you can email documents in with a special email address

It is so much nicer to use than word if multiple people are editing a document. I don’t miss any features so far, but I am not sure how to add headers/footers and page numbers for printing.

Another bonus, if you are logged into gmail, you don’t need to log in to writely.

my 2 cents

Andy C

Just started to write all personal documents in Writely. I find it fast and responsive with a sensible set of features that I actually need (compare with Word) and great value for money. I can then access my documents from any PC anywhere.

For hardcopy printouts, I save locally to PDF to remove the header line which I keep as a reference copy.

Also, similarly (and recently) smitten by Google Notebook for random jottings.

Andy C

Just started to write all personal documents in Writely. I find it fast and responsive with a sensible set of features that I actually need (compare with Word) and great value for money. I can then access my documents from any PC anywhere.

For hardcopy printouts, I save locally to PDF to remove the header line which I keep a reference copy.

Also, similarly (and recently) smitten by Google Notebook for random jottings.

Silvio

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.

Roop

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.

Steve Turner

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.

Constance Reader

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.

John Beales

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.

Garrett Johnson

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.

Travis Reeder

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.

Krish

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

Sal Cangeloso

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.

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