WDD: 3 Applications For Real-Time Collaboration On The Web
September 17, 2013
•IADT General, Web Design and Development
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Familiar with Real-Time Collaboration?
There’s been a lot of talk about it lately – and a lot of Web designers and developers have turned their attention to improving RTC applications. Real-Time Collaboration has had a dramatic impact on a variety of workplaces, allowing workers to construct documents, presentations and manage group tasks collaboratively without having to leave their desks (or, in some instances, their homes).
The technology is continually developing and it’s time you’ve become more familiar with it. Here, you can read about three popular applications that are used for Real-Time Collaboration on the Web:
1. Google Drive
Google Drive is probably the most well-known collaboration application. Jack Rocheleau of Hong Kiat says, “When discussing collaboration in Cloud we cannot forget Google. Their pioneering products have pushed the limits in the field of Internet technology and placed free tools into the hands of entrepreneurs.”
This is especially true of Google Docs, which allows any user to create word documents, spreadsheets and presentations that can be shared with anyone. Rocheleau also admires the easy-to-use interface of Google docs. It’s intuitive and familiar. These documents can be edited simultaneously and offer many of the same features of Microsoft Word. In fact, you can export and import documents interchangeably between the two.
For improving the effectiveness of group work on Google docs, consider these tips from Santa Clara University Business Professor Terri Griffith:
- Set the ground rules around writing and editing roles, making sure everyone knows what their goals are.
- Create norms around expectations for different stages of work so people won’t be afraid to start typing.
- Discuss the time frame for the work so that everyone can stay on schedule
- Establish guidelines around who will work on what sections and when.
- Come up with a system for adding comments and noting approval.
2. Mozilla TowTruck
TowTruck is a new project in the works by Mozilla. According to Scott Gilbertson of Web Monkey, the application is aimed “at making it easy to collaborate on the Web in real-time – think real-time screensharing and co-authoring on any webpage.”
The application was originally created to help web developers create a live, co-authoring environment with HTML and CSS. Mozilla has stated that TowTruck is also useful for “mentoring, making travel plans, triaging bugs, navigating large sites or complicated interfaces.” The application works with Mozilla’s other RTC collaboration project, WebRTC, to offer chatting options for browsers as well.
Mozilla’s Ian Bicking told Gilbertson: “As a web developer, you simply drop TowTruck into your site and it just works. It provides the full out-of-the-box experience users need to get things done collaboratively. It will also give you the opportunity to extend TowTruck to enrich the authoring experience.” It has also been considered a great tool for teaching and sharing knowledge.
The application is currently in an experimental phase, but Web designers and developers can add it to their sites as Mozilla has made the codes available for testing. This is a good opportunity for Web Design & Development students to experiment with code and RTC applications.
Wunderlist is a web and mobile application that allows you to manage and delegate tasks in real time. Rocheleau notes that you can use it to organize tasks for “everything from marketing, content development, design/graphics and coding the frontend or backend of a website, plus consider any other important tasks which you need to get done.”
Basically, it is a list-generating application. It allows you to share with anyone in your network. You can share different lists with different people – meaning you can create lists for multiple courses and collaborate with different groups according to the course. Any new tasks you create automatically sync with your friends’ accounts and are available to them on their computer, Apple products and Android products.
This allows for seamlessly group collaboration. You know what your goals are and can see them achieved in real-time.
Interested in learning more about Real-Time Collaboration? Consider talking to your program advisor about how you can create RTC applications or how you can get more involved in the process. You can get ahead simply by familiarizing yourself with these applications and incorporating them into your daily routine.