Monday, March 27, 2006

Word processing on the web

If, like most of the world, you tend to do most of your document creation in Microsoft Word, here's something you might be interested in.

AjaxWrite is a web-based word processing program that uses Ajax (a new "cool" language that's pretty hip on the web these days.) This certainly isn't the first, Web-based word processor out there. Writely was one of the first and it was bought out by Google a couple of weeks ago.

I particularly liked the FAQs on the site (which is still in Beta, but seems to work pretty well). Here's an example:

I heard that Sun and Google are partnering to create Google Office. How does ajaxWrite compare?

Google Office is vaporware meaning people talk about it, but it exists only in the press' imagination. People interested in a traditional office suite should absolutely try because it's a capable office suite available at no charge. But not even Google's engineers can turn the giant semi-truck like OpenOffice into a hybrid vehicle that can run over the net like ajaxWrite. The OpenOffice software suite is approximately 65,000kb in size while ajaxWrite is just 400kb or to put it another way 150 times smaller. Now it's not an entirely fair comparison because is multiple programs, not only a word processor. But any way you measure it, it will not be possible to transform into a snappy web delivered software program like ajaxWrite.

Since I already own multiple copies of Word for all of my various computers, I didn't think I'd have much use for an online version. But when I tried it, I was pleasantly surprised. It really does work much like the regular program. The people behind it claim that the on-line version has about 85% of the features of the real program, which should satisfy most users' needs.

What is really interesting though is that you don't have to sign in or offer up your email address or anything. You just open the page and start working. You can load up any document off your hard drive (or a USB drive, if you're working somewhere else) and save it back when you're done. It's cool and kind of fun to play around with.

Ajax is a very neat application and is one of the "go-to" products of the new Web 2.0 world that everybody loves to talk about. Right now, I'm having trouble keeping up with a lot of this stuff. But this is a program I could find a use for.

There's nothing to it. Just go to the website and try it for yourself. I'd be interested to hear what you think about this. And if you want, you can submit your feedback to the site's owners. They're looking for comments on what they've done.

UPDATE -- I didn't realize it, but AjaxWrite requires the Firefox browser to work properly. If you aren't using Firefox, my apologies. On the other hand, you really owe it to yourself to download a free copy and give it a try.

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Paul said...

I'm assuming you're using Firefox in order to use Ajax? Do you like this browser?

Paul said...

I also want to thank you, Dave, for posting this cool techno stuff on your blog. I don't need to receive alerts from various websites to keep me up-to-date in this fast-paced world -- I just visit your site!

Dave said...

You're welcome. And thanks for posting comments. For some reason, I keep getting email from readers, but they're not leaving comments, which is how we get a conversation going.

As for Firefox, I hadn't realized that it was required to use Ajaxwrite. But I guess that's no surprise really. I do use Firefox. I think it's a great browser and I highly recommend it to everyone I know. And it works on PC and Mac.