Open Source Collaboration Apps in Rails

Date: Friday, May 18
Time: 9:30pm - 10:30pm
Location: c123-124

Moderator: Todd Davies, Associate Director, Symbolic Systems Program, Stanford University

Free-to-use or low-cost web-based collaboration tools are becoming more functional -- bringing greater power to users who want to share tasks like editing, document-centered collaboration, and project planning via the web. The most advanced tools (e.g. Google Docs, Coventi, Jotspot, Basecamp) tend to be proprietary, however, and thus do not lend themselves to being customized or integrated tightly with other apps. Task support is complex - database heavy and tricky to get the UI right - which makes these types of tools good candidates for development in Rails. Some open source tools have been developed in this space (e.g. the PHP Basecamp clone activeCollab), including novel ones (e.g. "stet"), and open source modules are available for building other tools (e.g. the JavaScript WYSIWIG editor TinyMCE). So tools like this are ripe for more open source development in Rails. We're working on a free software Rails tool for online collaboration called "Deme" (redesigned from an earlier version in PHP - Deme is meant as a general environment for online deliberation, including editing and document-centered discussion, project planning, and decision making. We'll premier a demo of the Rails version, focusing on document-centered discussion, and will offer attendees the chance to show other tools and to discuss this tool space.

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