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Sam on NPR Claudia
12.22.2005 [29 comments links to this post ] - Permalink

Unexpected PR event of the week: Sam's interview on NPR.

And, while Writely's still holding up, we're getting huge traffic spikes every time the piece runs. If you run into a span of slowness, please accept our apologies -- just wait a few minutes and it may get better.

Holiday? What holiday? Claudia
12.20.2005 [31 comments links to this post ] - Permalink

Ah...a quiet week before the holidays. Some time spent with the family, wrapping a few last-minute presents by the fire. So quiet and cozy and...


Just when we're recovering from last week's traffic, and things are starting to settle down again -- Whammo! A quick mention in the 'This Week In Tech' podcast and a column by John C. Dvorak of PC Magazine and we're off again! It's a good problem to have, but a problem nonetheless.

We're Writely users ourselves, and are thus very aware of the performance issues we've been having. Believe me, holiday or not, we are working to make everything run faster.

Thank you to everyone for your patience with our beta!

Now, please go out shopping, or drink some eggnog, or something! ;o)

Writely Quick Note Bookmarklet Sam
12.13.2005 [18 comments links to this post ] - Permalink

I love remixes...this is a nice start:


More (hopefully) soon!

The Rise of the Mammals Sam
12.12.2005 [28 comments links to this post ] - Permalink

I stole the title - it's from Michael Mace's posting here. This is very well put, and is something we've been thinking about for a while at Writely.

I'll add one thing to the mix - in the days of OpenDoc, etc, integration was at the level of programming languages, which are typically very brittle and hard to deal with.

One of the things that's really different in the web world is that we're starting to componentize, as Michael put it, at the level of metadata - formats like SOAP, RSS, XML, REST (well, that's not a format, but you get the idea), are not just language independent but platform, country, network, etc independant. Think about the difference between working with a web service versus a COM object. Think about how hard it would have been to develop an app on top of Google maps, if you had to write COM code and get it ported to the mac and linux...who would have bothered? It's much easier to do something that just...works....across all kinds of localized, mac/win/linux systems. Like it or not, XML, JavaScript, JSON, AJAX and the rest are really, actually, finally, systems that can be used to reach a really broad number of users with minimal hassle.

I think this is what's really amazing about the current situation, and it's what reminds me of "Web 1.0", when it was suddenly apparent that the combination of HTML and TCP/IP was a really, really powerful global publishing and communication mechanism. As a salty old desktop developer, it's thrilling.

Anyway, an interesting read, I think, even if we are mentioned in it. :)

Pre-holiday presents... Claudia
12.09.2005 [24 comments links to this post ] - Permalink

I know -- I'm the most boring blog poster ever. No fun stories or pretty pictures; just the facts. But, if you've been waiting for PDF or cursing us for losing changes when collaborating, then I suspect I'm about to get a bit more interesting...

Today, we added:

  • Save as PDF.
    Look for 'Save as PDF' on the Action menu in the editor. Note: this is our first to-be-premium feature, meaning it will be part of a paid subsription service once we come out of beta.

  • MUCH better collaboration collision handling.
    We've fixed some problems and added a pop-up that lets you retrieve your lost changes.

  • More bug fixes.
    Find & replace, the @ sign for Int'l keyboards.

  • More localized FAQs.
    These are now available as a drop-down from the Help Center and FAQ page. We've added Traditional Chinese, Turkish and Vietnamese. Thank you, fabulous volunteer translators!

  • The beta meter.
    Help us decide when we're ready to come out of beta!

Happy Holidays from Writely! ;-)

Lotsa Little Stuff Claudia
12.08.2005 [29 comments links to this post ] - Permalink

We're almost done with scaling the site past 100,000 users. We should be able to support a million users by the end of the month!

In the meantime, we've added some of the top-requested features and bug fixes:

  • Find and Replace.
    Simple text find and replace (regular expressions are also supported).

  • E-mail to a subset of Collaborators.
    Checkboxes let you select just which collaborators to send the message to.

  • RTF Support.
    Upload and Save As in Rich Text Format.

  • A handful of tag bug fixes and enhancements.
    Better support for multiple tags, alphabetic sorting and a fix for the single-quote bug.

  • IE Tab key support.
    As in FireFox, you can use the Enter key to navigate tables and indent lists.

  • The much-requested Favicon.
    (only seems to appear in FireFox -- what's the deal with IE??).

  • Some RSS tweaks.
    Added an additional parameter to include only pulished documents.

  • FAQs in local languages.
    Starting with Slovenian, but more languages to come!

  • Fixes to the jumpy saving status message.
    That was driving us nuts, too!

  • The Remember me checkbox now defaulted to off.
    We also renamed it since it was confusing people.

December Decisions Jen
12.03.2005 [ links to this post ] - Permalink

This month the Writely team will be making some key decisions that will determine our future. We have already decided that we will get some outside investment in order to stay ahead of our fast user growth and kick butt on meeting our users' needs in the years to come. So the open question then becomes: "What investment do we take?" That blanket question covers everything from how much and under what terms to from whom. So in addition to cranking out functionality enhancements and supporting our users, we'll be dedicating several hikes (we have most of our team meetings either over lunch or on a hike) to discussing and debating this key question. We've ruled out bake sales, by the way :-)

Fortunately, we've had lots of interest from many different types of investors. One of our informal advisers (whose identity we will not reveal here) told us earlier this week that choosing an investor is like choosing a mate - you both decide whether you like each other in the first 15 minutes of meeting. If you like each other, you expend lots of effort to find out details about each other that you hope will confirm the first impression. If you don't like each other (or if one of you doesn't like the other), you say "nice meeting you" and never meet again. It's an interesting analogy, at any rate. We're all married with children, though, so no one is taking this advice literally.

In a perfect world, we would continue to bootstrap Writely until we earn profit through a wildly successful premium service offering (for example), and so we would never need outside investment. But that's just not realistic given the growth and the enthusiastic response from users that we're seeing. So instead we'll be drumming up investment in 2006 - to fuel our growth and make sure that we keep our users happy for the long term!


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