ideapi Helps You to Collaborate on Briefs, Documents and Ideas

ideapi is a simple online tool for creating documents and collaborating on them with others. Unlike other collaborative document editing tools like Google Docs, each ideapi document is based around discrete sections. These sections can be commented upon and edited separately, which makes idapi ideal for creating and collaborating on highly structured documents like briefs and proposals.

Documents can be created using the app, formatted using the Textile markup language and then shared with others, who can be given permission to edit, comment on and approve each document. Documents can be tagged for easy retrieval and can also be printed. Templates can also be made to quickly produce specific document types.

ideapi has a number of collaboration features. Users with appropriate permissions (“Authors”) can edit documents directly. “Collaborators” can comment on the various sections in the document. Collaborators can also submit submit ideas for each document, which can also have files attached. Ideas (and their associated file attachments) are then approved or rejected by users with “Approver” permissions.

ideapi concentrates on document collaboration and discussion, and has no really advanced features like built-in project management tools. That simplicity means that it’s very easy to pick up and use, which should be useful if you want to  collaborate on a proposal document with a less tech-savvy client, for example. I can imagine it being very useful or putting together documents like briefs and proposals. However, there are a few improvements to the app that I’d like to see:

  • It would be useful if there was a way to embed ideapi documents on other websites, rather than having to get everyone you’d like to share the document with to sign up for an account.
  • It’s unclear as to why files can only be attached to a document via the “Ideas” interface; it would be good to have a separate page or tab for file attachments.
  • I’d like to have an easier way of adding images inline into document. While you can add them using Textile markup they need to be hosted somewhere online; you can’t just upload an image and insert it into a document.
  • Finally, the light green text used on the site sometimes appears on a light gray background, which makes it a little hard to read, at least on my monitor; a different color scheme (or, even better, a choice of color schemes) would be helpful.

You can sign up for ideapi here. It’s currently free to use, although paid plans will likely be introduced at some point in the future.