Firstly, we made slashdot!
Secondly reading and answering the comments made me realize how hard it is to explain all the cool features of http://abicollab.net. My intention is to post a series of blog posts to try to fix that.
http://abicollab.net is designed to make it as easy as possible share work and collaborate in document production with friends and colleagues, no matter where they are in the world. The service uses very little resources so it quite feasible to host a medium sized organisation, say a 1000-person business or High School, from a single server.
The main strength of http://abicollab.net is also its biggest drawback. You need AbiWord-2.8 or later. If you don't have that you miss out on the best features. Getting AbiWord-2.8 for windows is trivial. Getting it for Linux is harder at the moment but will become easier with time as it gets bundled with distros. It is even harder for OSX because you'd have to compile it as an X11 app.
Having obtained AbiWord-2.8, lets go through a work flow. This is not the only work-flow and I'll post about others later. This example shows how to use the storage features of the web service. I personally have 4 separate work environments. My Linux partiton on my laptop, my windows partition on my laptop, my work workstation and my home PC. Just using the central storage facilities of abicollab.net saves me a whole lot of hassle.
First we log into the website and it takes us to the "my documents" page.
Next we decide to create a new document and host it on the site. You do that by clicking on "new document" and filling out some info about the document.
We see the document has been created.
Now we'll tag it so it can be easily sorted. We click on "tag" in the range of options for the document.
Ok now we actually want to put content into it. So click on "open" or the document name.
http://abicollab.net downloads a router file with the MIME extension ".abicollab" to firefox. Firefox has registered this as being associated with AbiWord, so it loads AbiWord which grabs the router file and uses it to extract the document from the web service. The result is that AbiWord opens with the contents of the document hosted on the web service. In this case the document has just been created so it is blank.
OK now we edit away in AbiWord until we think we'd better save it. To do this we simply click on "save" in AbiWord and the document is saved back to the web service.
The complete history of the document is recorded on the web service. To view it, simply click "history" next to the document.
This history of this document contains just the initial creation, which is of course blank, the second from this save. One can immediately inspect a particular history by clicking "view".
OK so now we edit away in AbiWord as we wish, saving whenever we want. Each save gets recorded as a separate history.
Now I'll set the permissions for the document. Permissions are "none, view,view + collaborate" for "everyone, friends, groups".
For this document I want everybody to be able to view this document and people in the abicollab group to be able to collaborate on it. We set permissions by clicking on "share".
Finally for today you can post the document on the web in variety of formats with the "Link" command.
I'll create a link to a HTML-sized version of the document that opens in firefox. I do this by choosing "embedded link"
And here is the document on the web
Every time I click "save" in AbiWord the contents of that link update to reflect the latest version.
The next post will cover sharing and collaborating with colleagues.