The Future of Message Boards and ChatRooms

If you haven’t played around with EtherPad, and you have a few friends you can get to screw around with you on this thing, do yourself a favor and try it out.

At first, it’s very simple:

EtherPad is a Collaborative Text-Editing environment. It’s real-time though, so it’s not as much like Google Docs (remember Writely?) as it is like IM.  Yes, it’s like Instant Messaging only more instant.  Every character typed or removed by anyone working on the text is seen in real-time by everyone else editing the document.  The page never has to reload or anything!  Ah, the beauty of Javascript.

Be warned though, this means that the people you’re working with can see how slow you type!  And as of yet, there’s no spellcheck, so you’re basically letting it all hang out. 

I heard about this from the Technometria Podcast, and it’s clear to me that, as they discussed in the show, for students taking notes during a lecture, nothing I’ve ever seen in my life could ever be as valuable as this technology is, even in its youngest form, that is, as long as the students in question have computers and friends.

Before I go any further, I should mention that my techie friends are all telling me about JQuery… I’m not a programmer, so that doesn’t mean anything to me (yet)… Also, EtherPad is only one of several spotlight applications running on a new platform called AppJet, which I guess is a Javascript-based development platform that’s really visual/browser-oriented.  Maybe even a sort of WordPress for Ajax?  

Well whatever. I’m not a dev so I’m not qualified to criticise that stuff, but the mention of JQuery seems timely given what I’ve been hearing, all-hype though, as far as I’m qualified to say, as a non-programmer.  The use of Javascript in general,  is not all-hype, my instincts tell me… We better move on because I don’t know shit about Javascript. But I do think it’s the future, if you’re asking my nose.

I would like to see EtherPad with TinyMCE because at the very least, UL’s and OL’s (un-ordered and ordered lists), Bold and Italics, Links Etc, would make the collaboration so much more useful! 

Beyond that, I’d love to see an app that can be installed anywhere that allows people to run controlled instances of ET, while controlling certain parameters like the maximum number of characters or lines per document… Etc…

I have a lot of ideas about the possibilities of this kind of real-time text-editing.  Big ideas.

Hey AppJet! Wanna talk?

One Reply to “The Future of Message Boards and ChatRooms”

  1. yeah so I’m loving this, there’s so much room for creativity amongst multiple users here. Thanks for introducing me to this. On a different note, I had no idea about your site hmmm lots o’ goodies I see.

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