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Beta meter up to 53%! Jen
1.26.2006 [36 comments] - Permalink

53% of Writely users who have voted think that we're ready to end the beta! You may very well ask (and some of you have) what ending the beta actually means, in concrete terms. To my mind, it means that Writely has reached a high level of quality such that it should be officially launched as a finished product. (In case you're not sure what the beta means in the first place, I personally like this definition of what a beta test is.)

The higher the beta meter, the closer we get to ending the beta period and officially launching Writely. Launching Writely essentially means that we remove the "(beta)" label from our logo :-) Seriously now, it means that a solid majority of users find that Writely does what they need it to do. To be quite honest, we haven't yet had a conversation about what number the beta meter has to reach before we make the decision to leave beta...but we'll know it when we see it, I'm sure.

Here's how the beta meter works: Each Writely account user has a vote. While you have only one vote, you can actually change your vote whenever you like. Re-voting doesn't add another vote to the tally; it changes your one vote, and that change will be reflected in the next tally. Every week or so, Steve runs a script that re-tallies all the beta votes.

Some very candid people have emailed us feedback (because of course if you vote "no" we ask you to tell us why not) that they don't want Writely to end beta because they want Writely to be free forever. They're concerned that the minute we end beta, we'll start charging all our account holders. I'd like to encourage those people to rethink their votes, because we intend to offer the basic Writely service for free even after the beta ends.

To be clear, we also intend to create a premium service level with additional functionality that folks can subscribe to, optionally. Any features that we think might someday be part of the premium service offering are noted in Writely with a little "Premium/$" flag...so far there's only one...let's see if you can find it!

Time to reconsider your beta vote? Claudia
1.13.2006 [37 comments] - Permalink

We've switched over to DHTML dialogs, so you can go back to complaining about Safari and/or Opera ;). There's lots more, too:
  • DHTML Dialogs instead of pop-ups (turn ON your pop-up blockers, please).
    The new document still comes up in a separate window, though, as most folks say they like that.

  • In-line comments.
    You can now insert color-coded comments that are hidden when you preview, publish or post.

  • New editor tabs.
    We've reworked the editor tabs to make everything from collaboration to blog posting just one click away.

  • New editor toolbar.
    We've consolidated and simplified it so it's easier to use.

  • Currently selected font face and size show.
    See the current font selections in the new editor toolbar.

  • New table functions.
    Move Row Up/Down and Change Column should help make editing tables much easier.

  • Right mouse click to open link in editor tab.
    You can make sure your links work without previewing, first.

  • The return of private RSS feeds.
    With lots of disclaimers like: Putting this feed up on a public site might allow others to see the titles of your private documents as well as who changed them and when.

  • Style for right-to-left languages.
    Bring on your Hebrew and Arabic! Now you can write right-to-left.
Feel free to change your Beta meter vote to YES!!!

It's a new year... Jen
1.02.2006 [21 comments] - Permalink

Happy 2006 to you & yours from the Writely Team!

We especially want to thank all of our 2005 users for being willing to try Writely as "early adopters" and helping make Writely better through your day-to-day usage and feedback. We love you! :-)))

2006 is going to be a big year for Writely. We have a LONG list of "new year's resolutions" - ambitious plans to build improvements and big new things, many of which originate from our user feedback and user forum, of course.

On a personal note, I hope you all enjoyed new year's eve more than I did. I rang in the new year with stomach flu...so sick I couldn't even log into my computer to respond to Writely user feedback. But now I'm back on my feet & eating like a normal person, thankfully.

The team is cranking on a Writely release that we hope to get out by this coming weekend. I am working on our first quarterly Writely newsletter, which I'll send out after the release goes live. I'm toying with the idea of creating a user competition of sorts - like "most creative use of Writely" - and giving out a prize to the winner(s). We'll see if that makes it into the newsletter...


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