Thursday, March 5, 2009

#18. Web-based Apps: They're Not Just for Desktops

The availability and use of online productivity web-based applications (think word processing and spreadsheets) has exploded recently and for good reasons! These powerful applications provide users with the ability to create and share documents over the Internet without the need of installed 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. But no matter which side of the office suite platform you side with, on this both sides seem to agree: web-based apps have their place.

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 easily 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 makes web-based apps so appealing.

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 relay 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.

Discovery Exercise:

1. Create a free account for yourself in Zoho Writer.
2. Explore the site and create a few test documents of two.
3. 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, Google's online word processor, as an option for this exercise.

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