Round-Trip File Editing with the ThoughtFarmer Desktop Connector: Unveiling at Enterprise 2.0 in Boston

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Update: See the video demo of the ThoughtFarmer Desktop Connector.

Imagine this scenario, which plays out millions of times a day: A colleague emails you a Word doc. You double-click the attachment. It downloads and opens in Word. You make some changes and click “Save”. The “Save as…” dialog pops up, you choose a smart location for it, give it a filename, then save it. Next, you open your email program again, hit “Reply” on your colleague’s email, select “Attach file”, locate your file, and hit okay. Finally, you send it back.

Ugh.

Detaching, editing, saving, re-attaching and sending is a nightmare. And it’s a nightmare that almost all of us are forced to deal with daily.

At ThoughtFarmer, we’ve come up with a brilliant solution for this problem that we call round-trip file editing. It’s a knowledge worker’s dream, and we’re unveiling it next week at the Enterprise 2.0 Conference in Boston.

Here’s how that same Word doc works with round-trip file editing: You go to a ThoughtFarmer page that contains the Word doc. You click “Edit”. It automatically downloads and opens in Word. You edit, and every time you hit “Save”, the file is automatically uploaded back to ThoughtFarmer, ready for your colleague.

Unlike SharePoint, which only does round-trip editing on Windows using Internet Explorer for certain types of files, ThoughtFarmer does round-trip editing with any browser, on Windows or Mac, and with any type of file — Office, PhotoShop, AutoCad, you name it. It works through the firewall — if your browser can see your intranet, you can do round-trip editing. You can even work on the file offline and it will automatically sync up when you reconnect.

All this is made possible via our new Desktop Connector:

The ThoughtFarmer Desktop Connector lets you open files from your ThoughtFarmer intranet and edit them directly in their native application. No detaching, no emailing around, no re-uploading.

For anyone who’s suffered through downloading and re-uploading of files while trying to collaborate with a colleague: we’ve been there, we’ve felt the pain, and now we’ve done something about it.

If you’re in Boston next week, come visit us at the Enterprise 2.0 Conference for a demo.

Comments6

Join The Discussion

  1. EphraimJF

    Hey Chris, this looks very cool!

    Do I understand correctly that the Desktop Connector is an application that I would download and install on my computer?

    Does the system put a lock on a file while one person is editing it so that two people won’t edit a file and create conflicting versions?

    I look forward to seeing a demo at E2.0 in Boston!!

  2. Chris

    Ephraim,

    Yes. The Desktop Connector uses the same technology as popular new apps like TweetDeck and Balsamiq Mockups: Adobe Air. It makes the installation process a snap. To work on files, though, you don’t need to touch the Desktop Connector — it works silently in the background, keeping things synced between the file you’re working on and your ThoughtFarmer intranet.

    On your lock question, we examined the usability issues around file locking and check in / check out and decided to use a much simpler, and ultimately more usable approach. If two people work on the same file at the same time, you are alerted. The last version uploaded to the server “wins”. However, all versions are stored in the version history, so nothing is ever lost.

  3. Christina

    WAHOOOOOOO! Can’t wait! Move over Google Docs…TF Desktop is taking over

  4. Jonathan Funk

    Brilliant. This will allow us to completely replace our corporate network drives with intranet! We haven’t done so before now because of the tedium of downloading, changing, uploading (etc.) required with current intranet software (let alone the the email mess).

    Effective file sharing AND meta data / searchability of (good) intranet service… brilliant.

    Thanks, kindly!

    (P.S. When can we get our hands on it?)

  5. EphraimJF

    Thanks for the explanation Chris. This is very exciting and I can’t wait to start rolling it out, once we’re fully upgraded.

    Ya’ll continue to rock!!

  6. Ron Ogilvy

    Looks great! This is what we’ve been waiting for.

    When can we test it?

    Thanks.

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