Anyone who’s ever tried to collaborate live on the web with other people, be it making a presentation, sharing a desktop or just talking about what they see, quickly learns the difference between theory and reality. The theory is web collaboration is so easy. The reality is you need to jump through multiple configuration hoops, sometimes poor network connections and overly paranoid firewalls to get a hurky-jerky 256 color thing sort of working.
Enter DimDim. Its no-install web collaboration free Open Source shared desktop/whiteboard/PowerPoint or PDF presentation service works well via an Adobe Flash plugin. The Open Source business model allows for a free service (20 attendees max). But you may want to spend $99 a year to get the Pro service to customize the interface with your own logo and have up to 100 attendees. There is also an Enterprise edition with even more features.
Steve Chazin, Chief Marketing Officer (love that title!) of DimDim took me through a demo of the service that will launch next week.
What was remarkable was that while he was on a PC using Internet Explorer and I was on a Mac using FireFox, as soon as I clicked the attend link in his email, it just worked. Fast. No fuss, no muss. None of the death by lag or weird color shifts I’ve been tormented with by other web collaboration services. DimDim takes care of the plumbing so you can actually spend your time collaborating, or reviewing, or learning.
DimDim, which has been in private beta since its debut at DemoFall07 will launch a public beta April 10th. The company plans to extend video support beyond the presenter and ramp up other features like providing the option to store and replay completed collaborations.
In one of my other roles in life I work with a lot of small software companies, also known as microISVs. I can see how they could quickly start using the free hosted version of DimDim to do remote training classes on their software for their customers, assuming they could resist the urge to download the full source code and start tinkering/extending.
Check out our overview of other collaboration packages. How do you think DimDim will compare?