Monday, August 28, 2006

Writely Open For Business

Google have finally opened up their free, online word processor Writely to user registrations.

WritelyThe service is still in beta testing but I've signed up and first impressions are very good indeed. All you need is a compatible Javascript capable browser and you're off and writing. Basically it's an online WYSIWYG editor but it's a lot more than just that. You can…

  • Upload Word documents, OpenOffice, RTF, HTML or text (or create documents from scratch).
  • Format your documents with a WYSIWYG editor, spell-check them, etc.
  • Invite others to share your documents (by e-mail address).
  • Collaborate and edit documents online with whoever you choose.
  • View your documents' revision history and roll back to any version.
  • Publish documents online to the world, or to just who you choose.
  • Download documents to your desktop as Word, OpenOffice, RTF, PDF, HTML or zip.
  • Post your documents to your blog.
The editor, aside from allowing you do all the usual WYSIWYG actions like change font, sizes, styles, colours, alignment, etc., can do indents; insert images, tables, links, bookmarks, comments and use numbered and bulleted lists. If that's not enough, you can get into raw HTML editing if you want.

The collaboration aspects may appeal to those working on a shared project and I can even see a use as a means of reading or converting documents you've been sent. e.g. If you don't have Microsoft Office and someone sends you a Word document, then you could easily upload it to Writely to read it, edit it or even convert it.

You can also publish a document to a select group of your choosing or just make it public and let the world see what you've been writing. Also, you can configure it to publish to your Blog so it's yet another way to get some deathly prose online.

I have to admit though that I tried to publish this post straight from Writely but, while it said it had done it, nothing got here. Still, it's in beta so I expect it has a little way to go before all the wrinkles are ironed out. As for compatible browsers, there are a few notable ones that aren't supported like Apple's Safari, Opera and SeaMonkey (you can get the full list of compatible browsers here ) but since most of the world uses Internet Explorer or Firefox, then you should be able to use one of those.

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