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Thread: Groupware recommendations?

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Groupware recommendations?

    Just curious if anyone here has worked with any groupware. I have been researching it (and, technically, every online class I have taken has involved a form of groupware) because I do so much work online with folks at a great distance. Last night, I put together a folder on my business website of some samples of things in order to work collaboratively with a Canadian friend. We have collaborated before by putting stuff up on our two websites and sending links or by sending attachments via e-mail but this is a more comprehensive project, with more pieces, and she commented that our conversations via e-mail are just too scattered. I still need to gather more resources together, but I also happen to be researching groupware for a couple of other projects I am involved in.

    Any experiences, thoughts, suggestions?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by Michele Zone
    We have collaborated before by putting stuff up on our two websites and sending links or by sending attachments via e-mail but this is a more comprehensive project, with more pieces, and she commented that our conversations via e-mail are just too scattered. I still need to gather more resources together, but I also happen to be researching groupware for a couple of other projects I am involved in.
    Are you mainly dealing with text, or with binary files (such as gis maps)?

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by monkeyflower
    Are you mainly dealing with text, or with binary files (such as gis maps)?
    I share a lot of files ... PowerPoints, pictures (mostly jpgs so far, but also gifs, etc), word documents, html documents. I am not clear yet what all will be shared in this GIS partnership but I already do a lot more than just text. I would be interested in comments about both/either.

    Thanks.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by Michele Zone
    I share a lot of files ... PowerPoints, pictures (mostly jpgs so far, but also gifs, etc), word documents, html documents. I am not clear yet what all will be shared in this GIS partnership but I already do a lot more than just text. I would be interested in comments about both/either.

    Thanks.
    Were you to just want to share text back and forth--say, for co-authoring a report--I'd recommend a wiki-style setup ("wiki" is a kind of group-editable webpage that doesn't require knowing html, see http://c2.com/cgi/wiki?WikiWikiWeb for example); I know several groups of planning students who have shared research notes and report sections for courses that way. (Downside: wiki isn't very secure, and won't give you much in the way of non-text.)

    As for other stuff, I actually just yesterday saw somebody ask basically the same question on another forum, and receive the answer, "It really, really sucks how this isn't a Solved Problem yet. Someone get me half a million dollars in funding, and I think I can fix that inside 18 months." As an almost-good-enough solution, though, that person suggested FolderShare: http://www.foldershare.com/

    I've never used FolderShare, so I can't vouch for it in any way, but from a quick look at the website, it looks like it might be what you're looking for. The main problem the other folks were citing with it is that you can't have multiple versions of a document--when you upload a revision, it deletes the old version, so you can't easily revert if you decide the revision was bad.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    I have looked at Wiki, which is a hosted platform. I have also looked at Twiki, which is open source software with similarities to Seed Wiki that I could host myself on my website. I also looked at Moodle, which is, again, a hosted platform and appears to be more of a discussion format (similar to Cyburbia). For security purposes, my preference is a software, not a hosted platform. That would give me more control.

    As an online student, technically, my online classes exist due to groupware. I have been an online student on and off for 5 1/2 years -- which is a long time for the Internet. Online classes have evolved considerably and I have taken online classes with a number of different colleges (plus ESRI's virtual campus). So I have been exposed to a variety of platforms and various levels of secure or non-secure interactions (including online final exams). With a business partner on the other side of the planet, I need something more reliable than IM (in terms of getting together consistently rather than when we bump into each other) and more collaborative than E-mail. I am thinking that I need some or all of the following features: Document sharing that allows people to edit each others work (a la Wiki), a calendar (a la my college classes, where we get due dates and curriculum posted), possible chat or discussion feature, and a place to keep common resources -- samples from work projects we are collaborating on, idea files, etc -- and possibly some other stuff, but that is what comes to mind off the top of my head.

    I have a couple of websites and the people I collaborate with typically also have a website of their own. (We are all Geeks.) Historically, we have been able to publish stuff to our websites and e-mail the link as an effective means for sharing certain kinds of files for collaborative efforts. We have also e-mailed attachments and IM is also a means to share files. But I need something with a higher degree of interactivity -- a shared workspace -- and a means to pulll it all together so the information is not scattered across numerous unrelated links and throughout numerous e-mails. All of that has worked so far for website development, document editing, sharing graphics, etc. I will soon sign on to a GIS site whose purpose is to broker RFP's. At that point, I need to be able to discuss RFP's with my business partner and hammer out the details of what kind of work we are offering and price -- and who gets what.

    Sem-related: Last night, I added a paypal button to my website so my client in Ohio can pay me online. All of our collaboration has been online so far and sending a paper check seemed really silly to me, and inconvient for both of us. Payment becomes an issue at some point as well, and, persumably, that payment needs to be done virtually.

    Geez, I might need to grab a web developer/computer professional friend of mine and see if he can help me brainstorm this.

    Anyway, maybe those ramblings will give folks a clearer picture as to what I have in mind....(clear as mud, perhaps).

  6. #6
    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
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    Wiki is open-source software.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jordanb
    Wiki is open-source software.
    Do you have a link? I may be confusing it with something with a similar name. I am thinking of "Seed Wiki", which might be based on the software?

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  9. #9
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Thanks Jordonb. I am still trying to find the time to really check that out. Sorry I am such a slacker in the "thanks" department.

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