Collaboration Software

It’s easy for me to think that Dynamicland is the ideal software collaboration environment: the computer is the room, personal devices and objects in that room are the interface, the privacy model is the one we’re used to.

It’s a sea change to get there. There are many incremental steps with the software we have today. Google Docs-style collaborative editing is the current north star: an application like Figma or Airtable serves as a flavor of massively multiplayer Sketch, for example. Real-time editing, multiple cursors, ephemeral filesystems with versioning. This style has the added benefit of being served through a web browser, making the barrier to adoption minimal. Many businesses are reinventing the Microsoft and Adobe suites to be web-native with this kind of always-on collaboration.

The business advantages are obvious, but are the usability ones so clear? For writing, many people prefer a more editorial workflow, where distinct drafts can be volleyed between author and editor. Many authors cite copying their works-in-progress into a second document, making their changes, and copying them back when they’re finished. [[Ink and switch project]] acknowledged this workflow in their prototype.