Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Web application one more capability

When I started heavily using Google documents probably from early 2006 or early (I am not remembering the exact date) it is kind of awesome. It is because, it enables power of collaboration, ie true collaboration. Most of the time, in my company, I am not alone preparing documents. Mostly multiple people will be working together, we normally use microsoft office and we will pass among ourselves and in the end we could have had more than 10 copies that sits and occupies dangerouly our measely corporate mailbox. So it address many problems,

True collaboration. We can always, instantaniously see the updates - so we modify and do the changes in no time and updated version sits in the same place with all the revision history intact. So beautiful.

Other tangible and intangible benefits There is no mailbox (inbox) cluttering, awesome no need to clean up mailbox. So all the documents need not be culled out and moved to network drive or backup or Document management system. So, it eliminates,
  1. Backup media
  2. conserve the mailbox
  3. saves the history
  4. And accessing the documents is now straight forward as its location is standard
  5. Location transparency or ubiquitous access
There is the tradeoff as we need to deal with sterile HTML and its associates.

No need to install Office desktop application - This is the best thing
But I have been having a problem. If all the documents stored where it (Google docs or Zoho Docs) actually want to. But if I have a local copy of Microsoft Office document, how can I seamlessly integrate? I can do it by uploading them into Zoho or Google docs, but it is again not seamless.... So what is my expectation?

I need something like file association to the web application. I mean, how in OS image or text or word documents are associated with specific and special purpose application the same way I should be able to associate my office doc to google or zoho or any other future service provider.

How is can be accomplished?
I am just drawing the lines between already available technologies and technique.....
  1. Firefox we can associate Email to Gmail or Yahoo or anybody else - but it is something different as the email address is redered in the html page but our docs is in local file system. Or I can think of browser will not only associated with HTML but also docs (already it can do image, probably video and audio after HTML5) and more in future. So we need to some how associate it to browser to specific web application which is capable of handling the tasks. So there should be browser handshake and web application handshake. It is easy and do-able.
  2. How can I save the document back to where I read from? There are multiple approach. We can leave it to browser as it knows where it read from so it can save it back. It is kind of complex as it needs to know multiple things like other extra elements which "web application" added to render the document and other things which I am not able to think now. Second option is just thinking in line with Opera - It recently released a feature which makes browser as local http server. Ok good. And if we combine "Web application" and browser's http cababilites and thinking RESTful way, we can save the documents back. So it is kind of mash up in highlevel but it is ultimately do-able. Probably when we think more there may be better way to do that.

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