MAX Sessions: Documents 2.0: The Next Generation of Document (Rick Treitman)

by admin on 02/10/2007

This session is about the web based word processor “Buzzword”, build in Flex and Actionscript and designed to take over the world of word processors. Honestly, I really wonder how someone can come up with the idea to build a new word processor, but thinking about it for a few seconds makes it obvious: the currently available software is crap. And just because we’re used to live with the rubbish we can use at the moment, doesn’t mean that we have to go on like this for the rest of our lives and especially younger people (“Generation Facebook”) isn’t willing to spend time on learning to cope with bad usability.

So there we have “Buzzword” now, a word processor that convinced Adobe so well, that the developing company will now join them to be a part of the Adobe Family. After a quick overview what is available on the market right now and what these word processors can do, it becomes pretty clear, that Microsoft Word, WordPerfect and OpenOffice actually do deliver the tools to produce good documents, but they are huge, need a lot of memory space on installation and are not easy to use and share. Main feature of Buzzword is the online storage of documents. It saves a lot of time and emails going back- and forward, if several people are working on the same document. You can get a list of all available documents sorted by author, number of pages, title. You can define if people are allowed to change the document or just read and comment on in. Documents that have changed since you last opend it are indicated with a red mark. Buzzword is WYSIWYG and everything from typing over spell-check to zooming works in real time and watching the demo on the screen already makes me want to try it and hundreds of ideas come to my mind how this can make my day-to-day work much easier. The comment function really impresses me – everyone who has ever worked with track changes in Microsoft Word knows how much of a pain it can be. Buzzword even offers a time line which shows the document at various stages so that you are able to get back to earlier versions without confusion about who changed what, when and why.

Buzzword is free and will stay free in a basic version for indivinduals, maybe there will be a kind of premium version with additional features which could cost some money. For the future Buzzword will be available on AIR, so that it can be used on- and offline. That will be a very cool feature especially for us in New Zealand, where the speed and stability of internet connections still often sucks.

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