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Browser based office

Browser based software comparable to MS Office in open source.
  (+2, -4)
(+2, -4)
  [vote for,

I wonder why people haven't started writing programmes such as Microsoft's Word or Excel in a Browser-version.

With new scripting languages (Javascript, DHTML, DOM and all that stuff) it shouldn't be too difficult to create WYSIWYG editors or spreadsheet software that actually works in your browser window, and there's no need to download or install software at all.

Even better this stuff could be operated with an open source policy, so many people could keep improving the application.

Also, people could save their personal settings and for instance your their personalized word processor on any computer they come to.

Of course this may require a high-speed connection, but so what, soon all of us will have DSL or faster.

My idea originated form looking at ODDPOST, that created an interface for their browser-based e-mail service that looks just like Outlook Express.

People have been talking about the "internet computer" a while ago, a computer that pulls all its software from a server, etc, but somehow it hasn't been talked about recently that much...

nick!, May 20 2002

Corel Office for Java review http://www.nwfusion...anet/0120corel.html
Early '97. [waugsqueke, May 21 2002]

Google Anyone? http://docs.google.com
Google Docs [hooande, Dec 30 2007]


       Sounds like you need to get busy.
phoenix, May 20 2002

       I like... A problem might be that if it were not all open source then companies could charge per sesion or subscription fees for their software ...
RobertKidney, May 20 2002

       When you get that done we can have a race to see which of us can finish a days work first. I'll use the non-browser stuff and you can use the browser stuff . . . I'll give you a 4 hour head start so that it's fairer.
bristolz, May 20 2002

       And there's still the unanswered question of where the data is being stored.   

       Nevertheless, this is doable; it just needs to be done. That's why I suggested [nick!] get to work.
phoenix, May 20 2002

       Write a cross-browser Excel copy in DHTML? (({{shudder}}))
mcscotland, May 20 2002

       A subscription service could be a reasonable business concept, if you charge micropayments per visit, and have a serious number of users.   

       About the speed, you should really look at the demo of oddpost.com's e-mail client it's really not much slower than outlook express.   

       Another example of a browser-based programme is ICQ-lite - same thing as the programme, just in a browser window.   

       Another benefit you might want to consider: With a browser based programme you would always be working with the latest version - no upgrading, no patches to download, bugs will be eliminated along the way.   

       (phoenix, I wish I had the skills and time to do write something like that...)
nick!, May 20 2002

       It's not the speed of the browser app, it's the lousy user model browser based apps have that makes them slow to use.   

       I just see no advantage to having a browser in the middle of things. None.   

       By the way, I am using a .Net app to add records to a DB that is on another continent. The front-end is Win32 and is 92Kb total size. It's performance is snappy and two new fields were added to each record this morning and the app updated itself automagically to include access to these new fields.
bristolz, May 20 2002

       //About the speed, you should really look at the demo of oddpost.com's e-mail client it's really not much slower than outlook express.

But have they managed to make it as insecure? That's the really tricky bit.
mcscotland, May 20 2002

       This is simultaneously being baked by people like M$, and unbakable. Anyone with financial interests in M$ is advised to duck when this arrives.
sadie, May 21 2002

       // Another benefit you might want to consider: With a browser based programme you would always be working with the latest version //   

       A lot of software will update itself semi-automatically anyway (checking for new versions), so this isn't a great advantage, if you're planning to download a new version of MS Word every time you're planning to edit a document.   

       With the cheap price of hard disks, you can store all the applications you need on something that costs a tiny amount of money, and if you want to update files remotely using CVS or (shudders) MS tools, or a browser based interface, or whatever you like, that's very common.
pottedstu, May 21 2002

       Cheap and clean: get some SOAP and outline what appears to be a browser directly on the screen.
thumbwax, May 21 2002

       Baked and gone. About '97 or so, Corel, which had just acquired WordPerfect, tried to get ahead of the group serving apps online, and undertook the monumental and fruitless task of creating a Java version of WP that was accessible through a browser. It looked identical to the stand-alone app, but it was slow and clunky and buggy and crashy and took about 20 minutes to initialize. I think it lasted about 3 weeks online.
waugsqueke, May 21 2002

       I was trying to imagine what fun it would be to implement, say, document re-pagination in DHTML.
bristolz, May 21 2002

       I've seen that done [bristolz] (IE only) with VBScript and MS's (excellent) XMLDOM stuff. I reiterate my original (({{shudder}})) at the thought of doing this cross-browser, and backwards compatible.
mcscotland, May 21 2002

       A Bowser-based office would be more...   


       ...I can't quite think of the right word.
beauxeault, May 21 2002

       Corel Office was 97. Things have changed a lot.
nick!, May 22 2002

       Yup, this is the "thin client" idea that gets invented every couple of years by another group. Web clients, Java, .NET, X11 terminals, VNC terminals, the venerable 3270, even the glass TTY... most of them have succeeded in one sphere or another, at one time or another.
wiml, May 23 2002

       .Net : thin client :: ocean : rowboat
bristolz, May 23 2002

       www.gmail.com. We're getting there.
nick!, Jan 17 2005

       All kinds of companies are trying this including Microsoft with Office Live or Live Office (I forget).   

       The current vogue is to keep Office on the user's computer, but store the data and allow access to it through the web. Basically you would have a web client version of Office, such as Office Live...I mean Office Lite, but the powerful features, such as fancy pivots on linked spreedsheets and crap like that, would be reserved for the client app which is better suited to them because it has access to more memory and processor.
seriousconsult, Dec 30 2007

       I guess they don't have google docs in britain?
hooande, Dec 30 2007

       2009: Google Docs has Google Gears. Google Gears is Open Source. Google Docs, I think not.   

       BTW Now that OpenXML is the Microsoft Office file format, and they even opened up the old binary format and published it, you have the source code wide open for implementing your own online office application, and in fact there are quite a few out there already for spreadsheets, documents, math annotation, presentations and even easy database apps.   

       This is what [serious] wrote about at the end of 2007... So your idea from 2002 has finally been taken seriously, even if most halfbakers didn't like it.
pashute, Apr 16 2009


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