Document Collaboration Module
We are designing a plugin to provide document collaboration within Workbench. Workbench users deal with documents every day — white papers, proposals, manuals, presentations, different marketing materials, contracts, etc. At some point (most commonly, at the final stage) you have to interact with others, specifying and discussing details, proofreading and approving changes.
Even today the most common way to proceed is to send an email. The work flow sequence is more or less the same: send document, wait for the response, make corrections, send it again, wait for the result, make corrections, and so on until the result satisfies all parties.
Another way to collaborate on documents is to use “Track changes” in word processing, but these tools do not allow real-time collaboration—the modified versions are merged, then stored in the Workbench repository.
A simpler way to work on documents simultaneously with others is using online document editors like Google Docs and MS Office 365. Both enable users to co-edit documents in real time and store them on centralized servers.
We are beta testing a document collaboration plugin that will provide similar functionality within Workbench, to consolidate the process and keep all work-in-process under one portal login. Our module allows synchronous document co-editing. The formatting features follow the rich text model, and we envision being able to insert images into plaintext documents. While users can rwork within the browser, rich text can be exported in .odt, .doc, or .docx formats.