Archive | October, 2009

Riding the Wave: A History of Real-time Collaboration

23 Oct
Courtesy of thelastminute

Courtesy of thelastminute

Now that I’ve started to talk with analysts and other early adopters about PBworks’ upcoming Real-time Collaboration update (more on that later), one of the very first questions I always get is, “Is that like Google Wave?”

Many people, even industry experts, are under the impression that Google Wave is the first product to offer real-time collaborative editing.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  In fact, real-time editing has been around for decades.  So in the interests of the common good, I’m offering this brief history of real-time editing.

While true industry pros will tell you that real-time editing has existed since the PDP-10 era, the first citation that appears on Wikipedia is Instant Update for the Mac, circa 1991.  More recently, the primary real-time editor that people cite is SubEthaEdit, though this product remains relatively unknown outside of developer circles.

In the wiki/collaboration world, real-time editing has been around since JotSpotLive…which, ironically enough, was acquired by Google (and then dumped in the dustbin).

More recently, Etherpad (disclosure, I am a personal investor in its parent company, AppJet) launched its web-based real-time collaboration tool in November of 2008, and has built up a tidy little following.

So by the time that Google Wave emerged in May 2009, real-time collaboration had been around for nearly 20 years, and had even existed as part of the Google family (prior to JotSpot’s burial at sea).

That’s not to say that real-time collaboration, being old rather than new, isn’t groundbreaking.  In fact, we here at PBworks believe it has a ton of potential…the key is figuring out how to apply it to the all-important task of getting work done.

We think we’ve done so, and will be unveiling the PBworks take on real-time collaboration at the Enterprise 2.0 conference (which you can attend for free!).

Those of you who are PBworks customers and users, stay tuned next week for a special sneak preview….

Introducing Network User Signup

19 Oct

One of the recent requests we received from a Project Edition customer asked, “Can I set up my network so that anyone from my company can join the network, without my having to invite them?”

This made a ton of sense, especially as Project Edition gets rolled out to ever larger numbers of corporate customers.  That’s why we’re introducing our simple, two-step Network User Signup system.

Step 1: Specify trusted email domains.

You can now set up your PBworks network so that anyone from a trusted email domain (such as can join the network.  Just click on “Network Access” within the “Settings” tab:

Network Access Settings

You can even whitelist and blacklist specific IP addresses for added security.

2. If you have an email account on a trusted domain, you can now join the network.

First, click the “Join this network” link:

Network Access screen

Next, enter your email address.  We’ll send you an email with instructions on how to set up your network account:

Enter email address screen

You can specify as many email domains and/or IP addresses as you need to.

PBworks Is Announcing Something Big at Enterprise 2.0 (and you can be there)

13 Oct
No, not that Enterprise 2.0

No, not that Enterprise 2.0

Join the PBworks team at Enterprise 2.0 in San Francisco (November 2-5), where we’ll be making a major announcement and giving live demos of groundbreaking new functionality.

You can meet the team, get one-on-one advice, and help us show those Enterprise 2.0 folks just how much we all love PBworks.

Best of all, you can get into the exhibit hall for free–just register using the discount code “EXPOPASS”.

As an added bonus (as if you needed one), every PBworks user who stops by our booth (Pod 22) will get a free T-shirt, and every customer will get a free massage from Kathy, our corporate masseuse.

Stay tuned for more clues about the big news, and see you at the show!

P.S. Think you know what we’re announcing? Leave your best guess as a comment, or better yet, Tweet it using the hashtags #pbworks #e20conf.

PBworks adds support for Google Chrome, drops Firefox 2

6 Oct

I do a lot of cross browser testing as part of my job as Gentleman of Quality (Head of QA) here at PBworks and I keep a close eye on which browsers our users are adopting and which ones are fading away. I’m pleased to announce that we’re adding support for Google Chrome, an excellent browser that is rapidly becoming the standard for high performance on the web. In addition I’m glad to see the vast majority of Firefox users have upgraded to the latest version of that browser. If you haven’t done so already (and just over 1% of our users have not) please take a moment to upgrade. PBworks will no longer fix bugs that appear exclusively in Firefox 2.

Modern browsers are faster, more secure, and much more helpful. We understand there are a number of you who are still forced to use ancient, dangerous, and painfully buggy browsers such as IE6, but overall the adoption of new browsers has been surprisingly quick.

(Note: We are still supporting IE6, since many corporate IT departments mandate it, but if you have a choice to upgrade to IE8 or another modern browser, we *strongly* recommend that you exercise that choice!)

PBworks is excited about the possibilities that modern browsers allow for and want all of our users to share in those benefits. Upgrade your browser today:

Google Chrome
Firefox 3.5
Internet Explorer 8

Ian Danforth
Gentleman of Quality