Wednesday, July 15

#19 (Week 8) Web-based Apps: They're not just for desktops

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The availability and use of online productivity web-based applications (think word processing and spreadsheets) has exploded over the past two years and for good reasons! These powerful applications provide users with the ability to create and share documents over the internet without the need to install desktop applications. Some experts speculate that this emerging trend may mean the death to Microsoft Office and other software-based productivity tools, while others think web-based applications have their place, but not in the office (I'm thinking specifically of the DET firewall folks here - who have blocked Google docs for reasons best known only to themselves). But no matter which side of the office suite platform you side with, web-based apps are here to stay and are growing in popularity day by day.

One large benefit to web-based applications it that they eliminate the need to worry about different software versions or file types as you email documents or move from PC to PC. Another bonus is that they easy accommodate collaboration by allowing multiple users to edit the same file (with versioning) and provide users the ability to easily save and convert documents as multiple file types (including HTML and pdf). And, you can even use many of these tools, such as Zoho Writer and Google Docs to author and publish posts to your blog. It’s this type of integration with other web 2.0 tools that also makes web-based apps so appealing. Finally, they're free, which is an appealing price point for many students and small businesses.

For this discovery exercise, participants are asked to take a look at a web-based word processing tool called Zoho Writer*, create a simple document and then document your discoveries in your blog. If you're up to the challenge, you might even export your document as an HTML file or publish it through Zoho to your blog.

With Zoho and web-based applications, the possibilities are endless.

Discovery Resources:

A short list of web-based productivity applications – Note: I authored this list in ZohoWriter and exported it as HTML.

6 Tips to Help You Get the Most Out of Google Docs

Discovery Exercise:
Create a free account for yourself in Zoho Writer.
Explore the site and create a few test documents of two.
Try out Zoho Writer’s features and create a blog post about your discoveries.

Optional: If you're up for the challenge, try using Zoho’s "publish" options to post to your blog.

* Note: You can also explore Google Docs (formerly known as Writely), Google's online word processer, as an option for this exercise.

BTW: Here’s a document (viewable as a webpage) Helene Blowers mocked up in Zoho about some of the features she found beneficial.

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