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17 Web Based Competitors to MS Office 153

prostoalex writes "Red Herring magazine takes a look at 17 projects in the Web 2.0 space competing with Microsoft Office for the attention of the office workers worldwide. The table lists Thinkfree, Zoho Writer, Writeboard, Google Writely, Rallypoint and JotSpot Live as Microsoft Word competitors, JotSpot Tracker, Numsum, iRows, Zoho Street as Microsoft Excel alternatives, S5, Zoho Show as PowerPoint contenders, ThinkFree, gOffice and Zoho Virtual Office as suite offerings. Even Microsoft Project has its fair share of Web 2.0 competitors: Basecamp and JotSpot Project Manager made the list."
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17 Web Based Competitors to MS Office

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  • Duh. (Score:4, Funny)

    by generic-man ( 33649 ) on Monday August 28, 2006 @07:45PM (#15997118) Homepage Journal
    And here I was, thinking I could write a text document without Internet access. How stupid of me.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      Heh, and if I didn't want to do it on the internet, how stupid would I feel.
       
      Laptop or Internet... Speed or Lag... Backups under my control, or trust a third party... Hmmm...
      • Re:Duh. (Score:4, Interesting)

        by muszek ( 882567 ) on Monday August 28, 2006 @09:45PM (#15997550) Homepage
        Taking all your crap wherever I go, how tired would I be. Forgetting or having no time...

        I use gmail for mail, moin moin [wikiwikiweb.de] (not exactly web 2.0 and not hosted by someone else, but who cares) for all our documentation, writely for documents I share with people outside of my project. I don't want to take care of spam, synchronize ~/.evolution whenever I switch computers, configure mail server (and any other service that's not necessary... hell, I even use afraid.org [afraid.org] so that I don't have to mess with bind. Web based solutions are great if all you care is ease of use, convenience and saving time.

        Haven't tried any spreadsheets yet, but whenever (not often) I have to edit something that we've done in Excell (long time ago), OOo v.1.x (some time ago, b4 Ubuntu Breezy was out, I think) and OOo v.2.x, it's a real pain in the ass (converting to ods, taking care of permission, so that others can overwrite files, etc.). Having some hosted, based on ODF spreadsheet solution would be sweet.
        • In the US, to have a truly "always on" Internet connection over a mobile network costs at least $60 per month, and that won't work on airplanes or in areas lacking cell phone coverage. Until all these JavaScript "competitors to MS Office" have off-line counterparts, count me out. I like being able to compose documents without paying $700 per year in Internet access charges.
    • by twitter ( 104583 ) on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @12:42AM (#15998067) Homepage Journal

      here I was, thinking I could write a text document without Internet access. How stupid of me.

      Just think, some people think they can share text without Microsoft Word. Amazing isn't it?

      That's really what this is about, being able to co-operate in authoring formated text without having to sync everyone's $400 text editor. If all you want is to mod a configuration file, by all means use a free vi. If you have to co-operate with ten other people to make formatted text output, these services will be much cheaper and easier than the brain dead method common in the fortune 500 world, "standardizing on M$ Office" and the swapping bloated results via email. For internal documentation, these people should be moving to wikis. For anyone who still needs paper, and I'm not sure why they do, web services are a great way to go.

  • by irtza ( 893217 ) on Monday August 28, 2006 @07:47PM (#15997120) Homepage
    that is my online word processor of choice. I keep all necessary apps on an SD card with a portable reader. My documents are secured. My home server is backed up to resources under my control. plus I can use it from any one of the computers at my place. Its like a mobile desktop.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Chineseyes ( 691744 )
      Yes but do you have a colorful G-O-O-G-L-E? huh do you?
    • I was just about to post the same damn thing. The responsivness is ehhh so-so but it works. Anyone know if the OOo folks are interested in doing a, ummm, HTTP:// version of OOo. OpenWebOffice or something of the like. That could be something nice and usable, standards compliant, open, familiar online and off.

      Just a thought...




      Place a curse on the RIAA MPAA and Microsoft [i-curse.com]
    • by Fyre2012 ( 762907 ) on Monday August 28, 2006 @08:09PM (#15997213) Homepage Journal
      That's all great for uber l337 folks like yourself, but what about the rest of the world?

      You think Joe (or Jane) Businessman has any idea what ssh is? Or why on earth you're saving something to anywhere other than your hard drive?

      I'll admit, you have a cool setup (as cool as ssh and vnc gets anyway), but it really doesn't help the average business person in the same way that many of TFA's apps do.

      Being able to access documents via the web from anywhere needs to be as easy as possible for regular joe's, otherwise they have no reason to leave MS Office.

      • by kfg ( 145172 ) * on Monday August 28, 2006 @08:35PM (#15997295)
        You think Joe (or Jane) Businessman has any idea what ssh is? Or why on earth you're saving something to anywhere other than your hard drive?

        That would depend a good deal on the basic competence of his IT staff, wouldn't it?

        KFG
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by FST777 ( 913657 )
        Indeed. Furthermore, all-webbased apps can be the future for enterprise computing. Have a couple of servers hosted under your own control and get some cheap thin-clients to work on them (with FF, offcourse :) )

        That way it can be much easier to access all resources from all over the world. Managers love that. Web-desktop can just be the Next Big Thing (TM) because it is available ANYWHERE with net-access.

        And you should know users. As soon as their company uses this tech, they will use it from home too.
      • You think Joe (or Jane) Businessman has any idea what ssh is?

        It certainly seems to me that if Joe or Jane doesn't know what secure protocols are, they probably shouldn't be sending company data over the Internet.

      • That's all great for uber l337 folks like yourself, but what about the rest of the world?

        For business users, their IT staff should be hooking them up with some sort of VPN, or at least SSL access to the businesses own web server. For home users, TFA's apps are probably good, but I, for one, don't particularly like my data on other people's servers (and I don't think I would even if I didn't know any better).

        Being able to access documents via the web from anywhere needs to be as easy as possible for re

        • The reason that I don't like to put my stuff on other people's servers is that I don't trust it to be available when I really need it. This is why when I was in school, and I went to print off a document, I usually FTP'd it to my school account, brought a copy on floppy disk, and put another copy on my web hosting service. This is just to ensure that if anything went wrong, I could still get access to the document and print it out. I guess i'm a little paranoid, with 3 copies, but it seems to me that oft
      • by dave562 ( 969951 )
        Being able to access documents via the web from anywhere needs to be as easy as possible for regular joe's, otherwise they have no reason to leave MS Office

        And with Micosoft SharePoint server (SharePortal Server), you will be able to access your documents from anywhere via the web.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Eivind ( 15695 )
        Normal users don't set up and configure online wordprocessors. They only use them.

        What is so hard about the following:

        • Insert usb-thumb.
        • Double-click the icon that appears on the desktop.
        • Double-click the "Word-processor" icon.
        • Enter your password when prompted.

        That's not really harder than say with writely:

        • Start a web-browser.
        • Type in the adress of writely (or google it if you forgot)
        • Type in your username
        • Type in your password

        Both procedures should be within the capabilities of most normal com

    • Likewise I use Remote Desktop to log into my home computer to use my MS Office applications. Works like a charm, except for pictures (can't wait until 1-2+ Mbps upload links become prevalent across the US). Remote Desktop even works nicely in Linux too! MS Office online is only a Remote Desktop application away!
    • OpenOffice.org is possibly the stupidest name ever. Why is the ".org" there?
      • Why is the .org there?

        From Wikipedia's OpenOffice.org article:

        The project and software are informally referred to as "OpenOffice", but project organizers report that this term is a trademark held by another party, requiring them to adopt "OpenOffice.org" as its formal name,[1] and abbreviated as OOo or OO.o.

    • You should try FreeNX.

      It's an order of magnitude faster than VNC, and you have SSH encription built-in.
  • Web 2.0 office apps (Score:4, Interesting)

    by DragonWriter ( 970822 ) on Monday August 28, 2006 @07:47PM (#15997122)
    Are they really competing with Microsoft Office that much? I'm not sure they really are: while there is some overlap (especially with where Office is headed), they seem to be somewhat different target universes of usess.
    • I'd like some clarification of your type-o. Is that "different target universes of users" or "different target universes of useless"? Because I could easily agree with it either way.
      • ...though "useless" kinda works, when you consider how much better, e.g., TeX with the appropriate packages is at lots of the things that Word (or PowerPoint) are used for.
    • by radtea ( 464814 ) on Monday August 28, 2006 @08:15PM (#15997237)

      The very fact that there are 17 of them tells you that at least 15 of them are not competing with Office any more than a kid on a bicycle is competing with Lance Armstrong.

      Office is a mature turnkey desktop office suite for enterprise accounts (that sucks). These things are one step away from vapourware serving no one in particular.

      Hype hype hype hype. AJAX hype AJAX.
      • by hritcu ( 871613 ) on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @03:32AM (#15998424) Homepage
        The very fact that there are 17 of them tells you that at least 15 of them are not competing with Office any more than a kid on a bicycle is competing with Lance Armstrong.

        For now they are competing with each other, but at some point they will get into the way of Microsoft. Hope they are rife enough by then.

        And remember that Lance Armstrong was a kid on a bicycle once too.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Imsdal ( 930595 )
          at some point they will get into the way of Microsoft.

          "will" is vastly different from the more correct "could possibly"

          Don't hold your breath waiting for that, though.

  • They missed... (Score:5, Informative)

    by The MAZZTer ( 911996 ) <megazztNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday August 28, 2006 @07:49PM (#15997131) Homepage
    Google Spreadsheets [google.com]
    • The article mentions Google Spreadsheets, but it's not in their list of Office killers:

      "In March, Microsoft's online nemesis Google acquired an online word processing startup, Writely. Soon after that, it introduced its own version of an online spreadsheet. "Earlier we were a lone voice in the wilderness, but Google's acquisition of Writely had validated the business," said Mr. Kang."
      • by hritcu ( 871613 )
        Yes they mention it ... but they forgot to put it in the table with the online spreadsheet apps. Not a big deal though.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      Google Spreadsheets competes with seeing Roseanne Barr naked. Both want to make you rip your eyes out and then commit suicide.
      • by Propaganda13 ( 312548 ) on Monday August 28, 2006 @09:23PM (#15997485)
        so it is competing with Excel then.
        • by Imsdal ( 930595 )

          so it is competing with Excel then.

          I knew you were being funny, but the fact of the matter is that while a bunch of applications in the Office suite sucks, Excel is just incredibly great. It does a million different things, some of them outstandingly well, most very well and almost nothing in an awful way.

          Excel is so incredibly versatile, which is a blessing (when you are the user solving that particular ad hoc problem) and a curse (when you are the IT person trying to put all of your company's data in p

          • by HuguesT ( 84078 )
            Excel is only nice if you've never used anything else to do number crunching. For a start Excel is inaccurate [umass.edu] and sometimes downright wrong [nyu.edu]. Microsoft has known this for a long time and not done much to correct the situation.

            The thought that Excel is used to do anything serious involving decision making beyond simple spreadsheet calculations in the real world gives me the creeps.
          • While it was funny, Excel does make me want to gouge my eyes out. It tries to be smart at the wrong times. When I try to do simplistic things that a basic spreadsheet program can do, Excel will do extra things that I don't want it to do. When I try to something that a smart program could interpret, it acts like a basic spreadsheet.
    • by ratbag ( 65209 )
      That link brings you to a page that highlights the short-term bane of these Web 2.0 things - "You're browser is not supported" - assuming you are using Opera. In reality I'm sure it works perfectly, but I'm not in the mood to tweak user agent settings right now...
  • Workflow (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TrippTDF ( 513419 ) <hiland@@@gmail...com> on Monday August 28, 2006 @07:53PM (#15997146)
    I think there are some really intresting places you can go with workflow with an online suite. Suddenly you don't have people emailing links to documents on a file server or changing a file name to denote a new version... yes, they are managers that will do that work for you, but these systems can make that flow effortless.

    I've seen serveral groups of people already setup a basecamp and a writely account in order to colaberate on personal or non-work related projects, and it's starting to work. It's a new way of thinking that will take some time to bring to the light of day, but should make for an intresting "upgrade" to the current ways in which people work.
    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I think that the best solution is something along the lines of use whatever you want to create your documents but manage your workflow better. I've used http://centraldesktop.com/ [centraldesktop.com] before and it is great in this respect. It doesn't try to change the tools you use to create your work, just helps you manage and share it better with co-workers.
    • by gutnor ( 872759 )
      Unless the world of tomorrow is radically different, it will take some serious legal analysis.

      With recent affairs of laptop full a confidential information lost, some companies have become really paranoid about corporate information. I'm not certain they will jump at the first opportunity to store their most confidential documents ( internal memo, contract drafts, internal documentation, ... ) on a third party system. Just imagine IBM, Sun, Microsoft, Google, ... storing data on each other server ? If each
  • Can anybody summarize for me, what exactly, is the point of any of these products, and why I, or anyone else, should even consider using these things? Sure, they may be neat-o, but don't successful products generally have some sort of purpose?
    • Sure, they may be neat-o, but don't successful products generally have some sort of purpose?
      Insofar as they do, its not all too uncommon for the purpose to be thought of by some clever marketeer after the product exists. But the internet cafe phenomenon suggests that there is a large set of users for whom web-based applications and online storage make quite a bit of sense.
    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      To be fair, one useful point is to have collaborative editing, with built-in version control and the like. If you've ever had to do a group writeup for a project or tried to organize some kind of gathering, you'll appreciate the value of this. However the majority of these tools seem to be just cool tech demos to draw some investor money.
    • by dosius ( 230542 )
      Web apps are just the latest fad, and like every fad, they'll fade away when the novelty wares out.

      Now I'll just get back to hacking my text in nano, tyvm...

      -uso.
    • by OG ( 15008 )
      At least theoretically, it could make life easier for IT depts. Instead of having to push a new version of Office (or other non-Web based suite) out to hundreds or users, they update one central app. Google could provide a box that's plugged into the network. Documents are automatically stored on company servers, so there's one point of backup. Collaboration is more seamless.

      I don't see this being the perfect solution for home users. They're being developed on the Internet, but real revenue would come
      • by stubear ( 130454 )
        You can already do this with Office and Windows Server. If you really wanted you could use Terminal Services and use thin clients as desktops. If it s true what slashbots always say, these shoudl be powerful enough to use a word processor and Outlook.
      • Let's see: many workstations connected to a central server that contains all of the data storage and applications. All controlled by a central IT department. Where have I heard of this before?

        I hear the echo of someone behind a glass wall asking me why I need anything more than punchcards and green bar paper..
  • by DysenteryInTheRanks ( 902824 ) on Monday August 28, 2006 @07:59PM (#15997176) Homepage
    Listen, I don't know how to phrase this, so I'm just going to come out and say it: I'm from the future.

    I know that sounds crazy, but you have to believe me. When I went to sleep last night, it was 2006 -- nearly seven years from now!

    We had long since buried what you people, in this section of spacetime, circa December 1999, call "the new economy." We renamed that "the dot-com bubble." Over six long years, we learned to deeply regret having funded mediocre, copycat websites with humdrum ideas, cute names and wayyyy too much money to burn.

    This "Red Herring" you read so avidly went out of a business after peaking at 600 pages. All of the startups it writes about and collects advertising checks from will soon be out of business.

    I can't give away too much, because I've seen Back to the Future and know how dangerous it can be to frig with the timespace continuum. But I have a clue for you: when you see a cluster of companies whose names all sound like Atari 2600 games, WALK AWAY. I mean, seriously, "Rallypoint?" NumSum? S5?

    Oh, also? There's going to be a presidential election soon. No matter how alike you think the candidates are, vote for the one from Tennessee, not from Texas. The Texas guy is a FRIGGIN' FRIGTARD.

    Anyway, I gotta go try and crash some dot-com parties [blogspot.com] before I go to sleep tonight and end up back in 2006. Adios dot-com amigos!
    • Red Herring used to be like Business 2.0, but they moved to India a while ago and went paperless (Net/Web-only). About the time I stopped reading them, was when I stopped investing in Chinese IPOs (made a mint, got out before people realized it's hard to liquidate your holdings in Chinese corporations that are normally held more than 50 percent by the Chinese government).

      They used to be insightful, but IMHO, their main target audience is now in India and that region of the world.
  • I really can't say I trust the trend towards "online only" and that other trend, "document vaults". Borrowing functionality at the price of depending on a certain type of access disturbs me. I thought we learned about stuff vaporizing from 1999, as mentioned elsewhere.

    Not counting special exports into MS office products, I don't do anything fancy with word processing. So I really have my eyes on Open Office Calc (and perhaps Thunderbird). Calc is in "Beta 2" as I recall. Let's say they're a year out from si
  • Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by east coast ( 590680 ) on Monday August 28, 2006 @08:13PM (#15997232)
    How is a word processor considered a competition for the entire office suite? Especially when you consider that MS Word is coming for free with a lot of systems and that Wordpad is just about as good as some of these web apps?
    • I'm not sure that I'd call Basecamp a competitor for MS Project, either.

      I'm doing work on one project right now that's making use of both. For my purposes, Basecamp is more useful, but I don't see project manager types replacing MS Project or other PM systems with it any time soon. It's just not the same kind of thing.
    • How is a word processor considered a competition for the entire office suite?

      If you read so much as the summary, you would have noticed spreadsheets and presentation tools too. Those will go a long way to competing, even if they don't have as many features.

      If you understand what M$ is selling with M$ Office, you understand why the new services are such a great threat. What M$ is selling is the ability of "information workers" to co-operate in the creation of "complex business documents". What that b

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Imsdal ( 930595 )

        Those will go a long way to competing, even if they don't have as many features.

        This reads like a joke but from the tone of the rest of the post, you sound serious. If so, I pity you and the coworkers you select applications for, if there are any. (Somehow, i doubt that.) Features are the very reason you buy stuff. Not all features are valuable to everyone, of course, but a complete lack of features is useless to everyone.

        You also talk about the reliability of web services. I wish you were right, but yo

      • If you understand what M$ (sic) is selling with M$ (sic) Office, you understand why the new services are such a great threat. What M$ (sic) is selling is the ability of "information workers" to co-operate in the creation of "complex business documents". What that boils down to is formatted text with a few graphs, figures and equations along with a presentation with the same.

        So far, so good, spelling errors aside. The feature race Microsoft got into with WordPerfect Office and Lotus SmartSuite created a lo

    • by l3v1 ( 787564 )
      considered a competition

      Easy, if you don't talk about the rest as being "competitors", however smartass ide that might be, you can't make MS Office a winner, or do you ? Nothing new.

      • however smartass ide that might be, you can't make MS Office a winner, or do you ?

        What are you trying to say?
    • by hritcu ( 871613 )
      Insightful? Read the Fucking Article before you post!
  • by bgfay ( 5362 ) on Monday August 28, 2006 @08:18PM (#15997248) Homepage
    but the fact of the matter is that if I had a truly portable, cross-platform office program even with limited functionality, it would make my life easier. I'm using Writely now and so far like it. I want to be able to write (that's what I do) and not have to worry too much about installs and upgrades and the like. The fact that writely saves in ODF format is great.

    Put it this way: I've been thinking about getting a MacBook but haven't wanted to run NeoOffice on it while running OpenOffice everywhere else. Beyond that, OpenOffice is a beast that can do most anything even when 95% of what I do is type plain text with minor formatting. Having the option of Writely that works in Firefox which, in turn, works on everything, is a bonus for me and opens up all sorts of options.

    All that said, I know that there will be times when the network will be down. I'll have other options. But as the network reliability has increased I worry less and less about this sort of thing.

    Say what you want about this or that other solution or about the redundancy of this, but couple it with Gmail and it's something on the order of a killer-app.
    • Sounds like what you need is LaTeX. Seriously, if what you do is type plain text with minor formatting, and you want something that's portable and available (nearly) anywhere, LaTeX seems like the best option.

      Plus, your documents won't look like ass. Major bonus.
      • by bgfay ( 5362 )
        I think that LaTeX would be fine if I wanted to take the time to learn another formatting language. Back when I was at Clarkson University (before failing out, alas) I used something called Galahad which was a text editor on which users could apply formatting if they new all of the dot-A commands (.a ll=something or other and so on). I used to know most of those commands. I don't anymore.

        I've been using Gmail as a kind of portable text editor that keeps track of all my files online and it's good, but these
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by dunng808 ( 448849 )
        LaTeX is hardly minor formatting. It is unsurpassed in creating good-looking printed output that must conform to a specific layout. Academic articles, books, screenplays, term papers. It is equally good at creating PDF files, the point being that these are virtual paper pages.

        People who are already handy with LaTeX can use it to do just about anything with it, but I would make the same observation about PowerPoint users.

        LaTeX is not an editor. When I work with LaTeX I actually use Lyx, a GUI editor designed
    • Same here. Once in a great while I might need a spreadsheet. Nothing fancy, just a basic spreadsheet. I really don't want to install some giant thing on my computer knowing that I will only use it three or four times a year.
    • As much as the Neooffice people want you to think that the only solutions for the Mac are MS Office and their fine product, it is simply not true. I began to run OO.org on my mac a few years ago and have never regretted it. My reasoning was much like yours. I had to work on a PC and a Mac, and I had to have no document hiccups. I could access my .mac disk from all machines, and since all machines were running the essentially the same program, it was not a problem.

      The common complaint is that OO.org ru

    • Put it this way: I've been thinking about getting a MacBook but haven't wanted to run NeoOffice on it while running OpenOffice everywhere else.
      Did you know that you can install OpenOffice on your MacBook? [openoffice.org]
    • It won't be a killer app when you fire up the browser one day to read that your preferred silly-name company has gone out of business, sold to a commercial competitor, or worse... been hacked and all your documents are now freely available to be read be anyone (you may not care that your letter to mum is leaked, but a lot of companies that used this tool for all their sales documents will be pi**ed).

      This means that there is definitely marketspace for desktop, offline-based office apps, and the web tools are
  • Don't you think that the word "competitor" is a bit strong? Come on! That's like saying your dad singing in the shower is competition for Adrea Bocelli.
  • I kind of feel like Microsoft is either dead, or its limbs are dying while its head remains talking. Meanwhile the little companies are nibbling at the carcass of what used to be its market share. But I could be wrong about that. After all, I am using Windows now. But then again, I am using little of Windows except the core OS: I use Firefox, Thunderbird, and Vim. The parts of Windows that I use could be handled by many other OSes.

    Anyway, check out what MS has been up to (the short list) http://home.comc [comcast.net]
  • Sadly... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Null Nihils ( 965047 ) on Monday August 28, 2006 @08:48PM (#15997341) Journal
    These sorts of "applications" would have been news half a decade ago if Internet Explorer hadn't paralyzed the Web. After all, the idea of remote apps running on thin clients (or brower-type software) has been around since the beginning. Really, the MSIE trick was brilliantly executed... a combination of the "bundling", and also beating the "competition" (Netscape) at the games MS already played best. Once MS had all but destroyed Netscape and the browser market, all it had to do was leave IE completely untouched, preventing anyone from using existing cross-platform standards to extend the Web to its inevitable conclusion: Remote applications that don't require playing nice with Microsoft's "platform", or following the "off the shelf software" rules. Had MS not shoved IE down everyone's throats with such timing and precision, things would be very different today... especially for Web developers, who would be writing fun, crazy stuff right now instead of drudging in ancient, stagnant pools of HTML, browser-compatibility workarounds, and hacky "AJAX" scripting.

    All is not lost, of course, because MS got lazy - or just plain dropped the ball - during the time it had bought itself by crushing Web development, what with the Vista delays, and the chair-throwing headache of their inscrutable arch-nemesis Google, et cetera. And lets not forget the heroics of Firefox!

    Anyways, people have a good reason to be skeptical about the actual apps in TFA, but keep in mind: These are but the first generation of a breed of software that has waited a long, painful time to become reality.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Doing web apps from a browser is going to involve ugly hacks simply because web "standards" were not designed for applications from the beginning. If IE had always been 100% standard compliant it wouldn't have made any difference.

      If the industry really wants to a have a clean design for web apps, they need to come up with a new set of protocols that are designed specifically for these applications. Otherwise it's going to be cookies and scripting as far as the eye can see.
  • by Mean Variance ( 913229 ) <mean.variance@gmail.com> on Monday August 28, 2006 @08:54PM (#15997369)
    I've become hooked on EditGrid [editgrid.com] for an online spreadsheet. I see them trying to compete with, and building a better product than, Google as much as MS. For many reasons, I had been looking for a good online spreadsheet and when I heard about Google, I was eager to give it a try. When the news was posted on Slashdot, someone made a reference to EditGrid.

    I sampled both and have committed many useful spreadsheets to my EditGrid account. They are constantly updating features and have yet to screw it up in the process from what I've seen.

    In many ways, I find the online features more useful than Excel:

    • Constant backups and rollback including labeling versions
    • Real-time multi person collaboration (yes, I really have used that feature)
    • Easy backup and download of entire spreadsheet portfolio in Excel format
    • Good API that they're constantly updating

    On the other hand, you couldn't pry my copy of Office 2000 (in particular Excel) from my cold dead hands. It's a very powerful, fast, and well established tool, period.

    • by hritcu ( 871613 )
      I think the only feature that would make web office suits worth it would be real-time multi person collaboration. You said EditGrid can do that. How responsive is it? Does it allow text messaging or voice? Does it allow commenting? I'm just curious.
  • First of all there was a time when a few companies had word processing, spread sheet and other "office" software that was competing with Microsoft. They either did not market their products well enough or those products did not offer the funcitonality and/or compatability of the MS Office suite and for the most part fell by the wayside. MS was not the leader in "office" type software, I know I had to use the other crap when I was in the Army and was relatively greatful to see some of the other products ditc
  • So... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by shodai ( 970706 )
    Which one of these Web 2.0 Buzzword technology enhanced applications come as the default for nearly every computer? It's not competition if nobody knows about it or cares to learn it because Windows apps are already right there.
  • We've [iqfoundry.com] used Basecamp for the last year successfully for our business, which is great for working with our remote clients. We have had the opportunity to heavily use Writeboards [writeboard.com] within our Basecamp account for the last few months with our clients.

    The great thing about being web based is that we all see the same thing, and the document history of Writeboards is great to flip back through time to see the changes we have made.

    Now I don't see this as a replacement to Word for daily business use, but for document collaboration it is truly a great tool.

    Good job guys.
  • The state-of-the-art has benefited from Microsoft's 333 pages of Internet Standards and Protocols [amazon.com] as well as their upcoming, 400+ page Guide to Defect Prevention [microsoft.com]
  • by Lord Fury ( 977501 ) on Monday August 28, 2006 @09:11PM (#15997439)
    When I'm at home, OpenOffice does everything I need. When I'm anywhere else, I always use Portable OpenOffice [portableapps.com] from my flash drive.
  • In my experience, old versions of Office(starting from '97) have 99% of the functionality needed. With all those copies sitting around...who needs to pay MS for new versions?

    Office is the one thing Microsoft got right, and it's done, finished, paid for.

    The google thing looks nice, but there's no logical need to be online, so why? To decrease user privacy and gain more marketing info?
  • This is great (Score:4, Insightful)

    by crossmr ( 957846 ) on Monday August 28, 2006 @11:09PM (#15997773) Journal
    Until you lose your internet connection. My wife's law firm has had more than one disaster in their high-rise this year which has resulted in them being able to use their computers, but not get internet access. No one thinks of that until it starts costing you the equivalent of $5000-$10000 or more an hour to be without it.

  • I read that as Zohar [wikipedia.org] writer. Which would be handy, if you want to write a Kabbalistic masterpiece in pigeon aramaic.
  • Well now (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Some alternate title suggestions:

    "17 alternatives to the car"
    "17 alternatives to living in a house"
    "17 alternatives to working"
    "17 alternatives to breathing"

    All feasable, none very likely ;)
  • by Spittoon ( 64395 ) on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @12:56AM (#15998106) Homepage
    It will be the company that perfects importing and exporting to Microsoft Word.

    When people discover that they can use a better word processor AND not have to worry about working on shared material with their Word-bound colleagues, you'll see adoption soar in the non-geek workplace.
  • by gaspyy ( 514539 )
    Mod me down if you will, but I've tried some of these apps, and I spent quite some time with Writely and Google Spreadsheets and I haven't been impressed at all.

    Writely and the other text processors are at the level of Windows Write, a way to enter text with some rich text formatting. I mean, forget Table of Contents or an Equation Editor (things I use in most documents), where are rulers, the user-defined tabs or the footnotes? How can you expect me to take these web apps seriously when I can't even set th
  • These comments would be a bit easier to read if I didn't get a Javascript Runtime Error whenever I scroll the page in IE - "Line 396, Error: Object Required", when using IE 6, 6.0.2900.2810.xpsp_sp2_gdr.050301-1519. Works on FireFox though.

    This is the sort of thing that discourages people from relying on Web Based applications.
  • I was recently forced to use Basecamp in a recent client engagement - and it was freeking pretty slick. Simple, just a touch of Ajax, and it freeking working. Bye Bye Bloated MS Project!
  • by Rogerborg ( 306625 ) on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @07:54AM (#15998871) Homepage
    Today.

Almost anything derogatory you could say about today's software design would be accurate. -- K.E. Iverson

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