I’ve been using Buzzword for a few years now, it’s still one of the best examples of an RIA that stands up against it’s costlier, heavier installable counterparts. Having your documents online accessible from anywhere is a great facility plus, there are some truly innovative UI aspects that make using it a great experience, or example paging in scrollbars, great text-flow around images and the history feature is first class.
That said, it definitely feels like it might be a bit of a second class citizen to Adobe. As I mentioned I’ve been using Buzzword for literally years and witnessed it evolve considerably since it’s earlier days. However, that evolution appears to have slowed. The only notable feature to have been added in the past few months is Workspaces. Other than this I know of a long list of feature requests that are as yet, unfulfilled. To be fair, this is more a rant about Buzzword specifically and not Acrobat.com as a whole as I haven’t fully checked out the presentation or ‘tables’ software and they have added support for conferencing with Adobe Connect so maybe that’s where efforts are being spent.
Workspaces is however, a great feature which I would love to make full use of… but can’t:
This has been the case for a long time now and several other aspects such as Connect are restricted by this. Whilst I appreciate there are legal and corporate considerations here that argument only stands for so long, what year is this?! I’ve been a fully-paid up user of a lot of SAAS services who have managed to figure this out. I did moan about this on twitter a while back to which I did get a response from the acrobat twitter account informing me to sign up to be notified when they worked this out, however I have been on the notification list for a long time now and have never had even an update from it.
Talking of SAAS or cloud based software, I’m a techie and a businessman, probably the ideal target audience for Acrobat.com I’m not afraid to be an early adopter of technologies and am comfortable signing up to such things. Which is why I also use Google Chrome as my current browser of choice… which is why this is also annoying:
I appreciate Chrome is a new browser and I don’t expect every new technology that comes along to be instantly fully supported. However before they blocked Chrome it did work, it was glitchy but then a lot of sites are and that’s what you expect in early release software. A much more welcome approach would have been a note saying Chrome wasn’t fully tested yet so an alternative browser is recommended but you’re free to carry on if you choose.
UPDATE: see Bob Treitman’s (Adobe QA engineer – I believe) comment below explaining the above is an FP10.1 issue.
Anyway, I will continue to use Buzzword for now (not to mention stop moaning and get some work done) but I am getting increasingly disheartened by the lack of new features and restrictive US-only availability. I will also have a look at other similar services, I do use Google docs but it still feels like a webpage as opposed to a word processor, feel free to suggest alternatives in the comments.