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Bob Thomson

Bob Thomson stormideas stormideas - expertly crafted web applications

Niner since 2008

  • Colaab, review and collaborate in Silverlight

    staceyw,

    Thanks for this detailed feedback and your positive comments, really valuable. Here's some responses to your questions:

    - Don't see any printing support or could not find it. Using IE print is not usable.  How can I colaab without print or download/upload?

    Currently, you have to download the resource to print it off. But this is something we’ll be looking at implementing in the future. You can download resources by clicking on the Sharing icon and clicking the download button. We're aware that this is a bit hidden away and are going to make it much more obvious in the future.

    With Silverlight 3 we can make this even slicker by offering the user a "Save as" dialog, at the moment we simply have to use a Hyperlink button to the location of the resource and let the browser take over.

    We were very dissapointed not to see printing support in Silverlight 3, we were hopeful to see some progress on this front. We're working on an interim solution using more standard reporting techniques and hope to release something on this front in the next few weeks.

    - It would be nice to be able to add pictures to a comment. Say I have a different design to show but don't want to start a new resource and want to keep the flow centered around this document.  Say add different pictures to a brochure and post them in a comment pointing to the picture to replace.

    This is a great idea. We've got some items in our new feature list around adding voice recordings to comments and links to both other resources within colaab and external urls, I'll update this to include adding additional images too.

    - Feels like I always want to right-click for a context menu, but get "Silverlight" context.

    I’m afraid as the whole app is built in Silverlight, the default behaviour is to bring up the Silverlight context menu on right-click. We could do some hacky stuff to override this but then you get issues with those dang one button mouse Apple things.

    - Maybe Help could be a silverlight overlay instead of invoking the IE popup menu.  Which kinds foobars the first experience because it forces a refresh and logon.  As least for me it did until I allowed popup.

    The help section is a work in progress and we are looking at ways of better integrating it into the app, we didn't want to bloat the size of the download further but agree that building the help into a more integrated experience fits much better into the overall user experience we are trying to achieve.

    - How to edit document and save it back? Is this a feature not in free trial version?

    If you download a document, edit it, and wish to show the new version in colaab, then currently you’ll need to upload it as a new Resource. We are currently working on a versioning system which will hang various copies of a document off of one resource which should be ready in the next few weeks.

    - How to download a document?  Is it view only?

    You can download a document by clicking the share button in the resource (globe icon) and clicking download. We’re (painfully) aware that this feature is too tucked away and will be remedying this in our next release, sometime next week.

    - Public users sent a URL should be able to comment without needing to sign in. For example, wanting to send my accountant something quick to review but not require them to create an account just yet.  Let them decide on their own time if they want to take time. For some folks, creating and remembering logins is a chore.  Maybe we could control the URL expire time so it does not live forever.  I trust they are not going to send the URL around the net.  If I require more security, I would then just make it private. But allow a little more function for Public.

    This is definitely something that we debated a lot when designing colaab. Obviously, anonomous commenting has its pros and cons. We looked at the possibility of having an option to allow public commenting when you shared a resource, but one of colaab’s strengths is its simplicity, and we don’t want to make things too convoluted. But your URL expiry time suggestion is a good one and may force us to reopen the debate!

    - How about txt and xml document support.

    Currently, we use XPS as our general format for other document types, so if you print to XPS you can then import TXT and XML files. However, we’re always trying to increase the number of formats that colaab supports without the user having to do anything to them so we’ll add these ones to the list of pending items!

    - Pull multiple connectors from the same comment to leverage same comment for multiple spaces.  Say you have an "Add plug here" comment.  You may want to add 10 plugs to a floor plan and use the same comment with multiple lines from it. Example:
    http://app.colaab.com/R/70ddf2f6-b67d-474b-b19a-9bd9004737a0

    Excellent suggestion. This is already in the works and should make it into a release in the near future. Brilliant example of where this is needed, thanks!

    - Should be able to navigate back to Public folder from a public URL resource.  If the folder is public anyway, user should be able to nav back up.

    I see where you’re coming from, we felt that there might be some privacy issues. Having a public workspace doesn’t necessarily mean that you want everyone you send a link to a public resource to see everything in it. If you did want this, then you can just share the public url of the workspace rather than the resource and you’ll then get the behaviour your after (navigating in and out of resources publically).

    Thanks again for all your feedback - greatly appreciated.

    Bob

  • Colaab, review and collaborate in Silverlight

    Hi,

    We had a great time out at MIX09, really excited to see where Silverlight is heading.

    Just a quick follow up to note that colaab is available at:

    http://www.colaab.com

    With completely free accounts and free trials of all our paid accounts. Anyone you invite get's free access too, sign up and give it a spin, all feedback welcome!

    Bob

    --
    http://colaab.com
    http://www.stormideas.com
    http://blog.stormideas.com
    twitter: movingforwards
  • Prism v2 - Composite Application Guidance for WPF and Silverlight

    This is really useful stuff. I've spent the last few months putting together a fairly large Silverlight 2 collaboration application called colaab:

    http://www.colaab.com

    And I've run into many of the problems that the Prism release seeks to address and if you're looking at building complex RIAs using Silverlight you could do a lot worse than using it as a starting point.

    There's also a good article on MVVM in Silverlight in this months MSDN Magazine:

    http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/magazine/dd458800.aspx

    Thanks,

    Bob
  • Scott Guthrie On Silverlight, MIX09, Keynotes, Developers and Designers

    Can't wait to see what's coming in Silverlight 3 - we spend plenty of our time working on forms over data style applications and anything that can make this more efficient will be welcomed.

    Between Silverlight and ASP.NET MVC we feel much more comfortable with working with the Microsoft stack for web development!

    We've written a full Silverlight 2 RIA for collaboration called colaab, check it out at:

    http://www.colaab.com

    Thanks,

    Bob

    --
    Bob Thomson
    storm ideas
    http://colaab.com
    http://blog.stormideas.com
    twitter: movingforwards
  • MVVM, a WPF UI Design Pattern

    We built out an extensive Silverlight 2 collaboration application using the standard code-behind model, you can check it out at:

    http://www.colaab.com

     and while we think we've built a high quality product some of the lessons we learned are pushing us to use MVVM pattern for building out additional functionality.

    There's a good set of links regarding the MVVM pattern in this StackOverflow question:

    http://stackoverflow.com/questions/375301/should-i-use-the-model-view-viewmodel-mvvm-pattern-in-silverlight-projects

    Thanks,

    Bob

    --
    Bob Thomson
    storm ideas

    http://colaab.com
    http://blog.stormideas.com
    twitter: movingforwards
  • Countdown to MIX09: Even in Trying Financial Times, You Can't Afford to Stay Home

    We're hoping to be there showing off our Silverlight 2 collaboration application colaab. We've been nominated from here in the UK to demo in some regard, finders crossed!

    Bob

    --
    Bob Thomson
    storm ideas
    http://blog.stormideas.com
    http://colaab.com
    twitter: movingforwards
  • Live Framework, MEWA Hello World

    Very useful Mike. It's early days for the platform but clearly it opens up some interesting possibilities.

    We recently developed a proof of concept version of our application, colaab, a Silverlight 2 collaboration application, running both locally and in the Mesh. You can see a screencast of the results here:

    http://www.vimeo.com/2542327

    Thanks,

    Bob