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Publish PBworks Pages As Printable PDFs

28 Dec

One of the most popular feature requests we’ve received over the years is the ability to convert a PBworks wiki page into a PDF.

One of the most common complaints we’ve received over the years is that the printable version of a PBworks wiki page doesn’t look that much like the on-screen version.

Today, we killed two birds with one stone by releasing the ability to convert any PBworks wiki page into a printable PDF.  This replaces the old “Printable version” with a more attractive PDF, which you can either print or download and share.

The “PDF version” is available at the bottom of every page, and to every PBworks user, paid or free.

Thanks for your suggestions, and helping us make PBworks an even better service!

Introducing PBworks Agency Edition

9 Nov

Here at PBworks, we’re focused on solving specific business problems for specific markets.  We believe that’s the best way to deliver value for our customers.  That’s why we’ve created specific products for educators, law firms, and CRM.  And that’s why we’ve just launched PBworks Agency Edition.

Over the past year, we’ve had the good fortune to work with some of the biggest names in the agency world, like Landor Associates and the BtoD Group (a part of WPP, the world’s largest advertising holding company).  As we’ve worked with them to integrate PBworks into their workflow, we’ve learned a lot about this fascinating market.

It turns out that agencies are inherently collaborative.  To get a TV commercial or print ad from idea to your living room takes an army of different people, ranging from creative directors to designers and copywriters (not to mention the client).  And historically, all this coordination was done via email and telephone.  If Mad Men were more like real life, Don would spend a lot more time herding cats…and the show would be a lot less interesting.

The industry is also undergoing some major changes that are increasing the need for collaboration.

Media fragmentation–adding digital, social, and mobile to print, TV, and radio–makes it nearly impossible for a single agency to handle all aspects of any major campaign.  As a result, cross-agency collaboration has quickly become one of *the* hot topics in the industry.

Globalization is driving a much greater need for online and asychronous tools.  Even if a major campaign gets kicked off at HQ, it needs to be localized across six continents by local offices–and no one wants to get up at 4 AM to call Hong Kong.

Rapid personnel turnover makes it ever more important to find ways to capture the knowledge of each agency’s people.  Unless their name is above the door, you can’t count on any particular person staying at their current agency.

Finally, innovation is the Holy Grail.  Consumers are jaded and cynical, and it takes bold new campaigns to break through that armor.  To get that innovation, agencies need to be able to tap the talents of their entire team via social collaboration.

We’ve taken these concerns into account, along with agency-specific needs like managing complex customer relationships, and sharing in-progress video in a more secure environment, and created PBworks Agency Edition.

Agency Edition is a beginning, not an end.  As we continue to work with our customers, we’ll continue to deliver innovative new features to meet their needs.

Here’s what other people had to say about the news:

Permissions Update: Bringing Writers Back Into the Fold(er)

21 Oct

For the last few years at PBworks, while building an amazing set of new technologies we’ve tried to stay true to four consistent set of tiers for access:

  • Readers cannot modify the content of a workspace in any way (though they can optionally be allowed to comment).
  • Writers can perform reversible / non-destructive operations that don’t affect workspace-wide settings or security.
  • Editors can modify and delete things on a workspace in an irreversible way but they cannot affect workspace-wide settings or security.
  • Admins can perform any operation on a workspace.

It’s become clear that when we rolled out folder manipulation that we left writers out of the party, so to speak, by not letting writers create folders. Some Administrators worked around this by making everyone Editors but were then worried about people accidentally deleting information. Madness. And since folder creation is a reversible and non-destructive operation, we realized that we ought to fix that to let writers better structure their contributions to a workspace.

So on October 26, 2010 we’ll be flipping the switch to allow writers to create folders. (It’s also my birthday that day!)

Check out our fabulous Permission Levels page for a refresher on exactly what each role can do.

Introducing PBworks Real-time Collaboration

5 Nov

A few weeks back, we asked you to guess what we’d be announcing at Enterprise 2.0.

You need wonder no longer.

On Monday, PBworks announced its real-time collaboration update.  Starting on November 17, Project and Legal Edition customers will have a whole new way to use PBworks to work together.

  • IM Collaboration
  • Live Notifications
  • Live Editing
  • Voice Collaboration (early 2010)

IM Collaboration will allow users to see who else in their organization is actively using PBworks at that moment, and send them instant messages from within the product.  In addition, users will also be able to summon others to the workspace page they’re working on using the “send a link” function built into the IM system.

Live Notifications will alert users to activity within their organization in real-time, rather than requiring them to await an asynchronous email notification.  Users can select which notifications they want to receive, based on “starring” or “following” particular pages and other users, and the system will stream the relevant notifications to whatever page a user is viewing.

Live Editing will eliminate the need to use web conferencing services such as WebEx, PlaceWare, and GoToMeeting to share a PBworks editing session.  Whenever a user is editing a workspace page, the other users viewing that page see the edits appear in real-time.  When combined with IM Collaboration, Live Editing makes it easy to convene an ad hoc meeting for working synchronously.

Voice Collaboration is the fastest and easiest way to set up a conference call with other members of your organization.  Rather than setting up a conference line in advance and asking attendees to dial in, PBworks Voice Collaboration allows you to initiate an instant conference call by dialing the desired participants.  You can add new participants at any time, and each conference call is recorded and stored for later review.  Voice Collaboration can even be triggered using your iPhone, making it the first conference calling application that works on that platform.

If a user is editing a page and realizes that he or she needs the input of other team members, he or she can summon them to the appropriate page using IM Collaboration, start a Live Editing session, and use Voice Collaboration to initiate an instant conference call, all in fraction of the time it would take to set up a web conference, set up a conference call line, and communicate the details to the intended participants.

We’re pretty excited, but don’t just take our word for it; you can read about what other people have to say:

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….

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 Launches Its Social Collaboration Update

22 Sep

If you’ve ever wondered how the functionality of Facebook and Twitter might be able to help you get your work done, the PBworks Social Collaboration Update gives you the chance to find out for yourself.

Starting today, PBworks Project Edition (and PBworks Legal Edition) now includes social networking-style user profiles, Twitter-style microblogging, and the ability to create wiki pages (with file attachments) just by emailing a single email address.

We encourage you to try out these new features (which are included in every 30-day free trial of Project Edition) and let us know what you think in the comments for this post.  We’d love to hear your take!

If you want to learn more first, check out the Social Collaboration Update page, and the frequently-asked-questions below.

Frequently Asked Questions

How is this different from all the other social software products out there?

  • PBworks isn’t a social software product.  Our focus is on helping people get work done.  We look at individual business problems, and then try to find technology that solves that problem.  We’ve tweaked each of the features to reflect this emphasis:
    • Our user profiles allow the corporate administrator to specify the fields and choices, so that you can create a searchable database of locations, skills, certifications, or anything else the company deems relevant (PBworks’ own employee profiles include Myers-Briggs personality type)
    • Our user profiles also include activity history (edits, uploads, comments, task updates, etc.) and tasks so that you can tell what a person has been doing, and what they’re planning to do.  This combination of static and dynamic information presents a clearer picture of each user for the purposes of getting work done
    • Our microblogging solution is integrated into our overall activity streams.  This means that you have real work context (what they’ve been doing) for each person’s posts.

What good are social networking-style profiles in the enterprise?

  • We found that our customers with geographically dispersed workforces needed a better way to identify the relevant people within the organization to turn to for everything from social media experience to the most granular of technical certifications.

What good is microblogging in the enterprise?

  • Our users told us that microblogging was really good for unstructured, real-time collaboration like brainstorming.  The ideas the generated that way could then be put into more structured collaboration tools like workspace pages or project workspaces and tasks.

How much will this update cost?

  • Nothing!  It’s a free update to our Project and Legal Editions.

Do your user profiles integrate with Active Directory?

  • No, but that’s a great suggestion.  You can use AD and other LDAP solutions to log into PBworks, but we don’t currently carry over user profile data.  Definitely on our roadmap.

Where can I see a demo?