TextFlow from Nordic River Software in Sweden is a document co-authoring service, or what the Nordic River people describe as a “parallel word processor”. That means that multiple people can work on the same document at the same time, without requiring a manual process for bringing the different versions back together to a single master copy.
I’ll be looking more at TextFlow over the next couple of days, but first some context setting:
- Text Only … Only text is supported in the current edition. Images and tables are not yet supported, but will be in the future.
- Browser or Application … There are two editions of TextFlow: a browser version that requires Adobe Flash 9 or above, and an installed version that uses Adobe AIR. This makes it cross-platform … Windows, Mac and Linux.
- Online Required for Comparison … For the real-time document comparison to happen between the different versions that people are working on, you have to be online. However, you can work on any document offline (disconnected), but obviously the real-time document comparison will not be happening.
- File Formats (Word and RTF) … Microsoft Word (both the historical .DOC and the newer .DOCX) and RTF documents can be imported into TextFlow. TextFlow documents are stored as .TFX files, and once finished, you can export back to Word format.
- Free and Fee … There are two price-point offerings: Personal and Professional. The personal edition is free for use, but documents are watermarked. The professional edition costs US$99 per user per year.
- Document List … The March 2009 release of TextFlow added an online list of documents, much like you’d see in a folder in Windows Explorer or Mac Finder. It also added the ability to invite co-authors to review and comment on a TextFlow document.