AjaxWrite is a new service offering a free version, of what is being compared to, Microsoft Word. AjaxWrite was released yesterday and was introduced by Michael Robertson who started things off saying, “What if there was alternative for Microsoft Word that would install and open in 6 seconds, read and write Microsoft Word .doc files and run on Macintosh, Microsoft Windows or Linux computers? And oh yeah, it was FREE so consumers didn’t have to pay $499 for Microsoft Office. I’m excited to announce that day is here.” The buzz has been amazing and the service has been having server issues on and off all day because of the amount of attention it has been receiving. But the question remains, can an online word processor really be a threat to a company like Microsoft? Michael Arrington seems to think so, and I agree with him. I agree that Microsoft will probably be creating there own online rendition of Microsoft Word, and it would definitely be wise to. Competition is growing and we now have Writely, ZohoWriter, and now AjaxWrite, all offering the ability to create documents online for free.

AjaxWrite is very simple, but works great. The style feels much like a normal word processor making it comfortable to work with and all of your basic formatting options are present. I feel that the strong point with AjaxWriter though is that you can open and save any Word, RTF, Text, and even PDF documents online without needing any additional software and for free. It is that which seperates it from your usual online WYSIWYG editor. Another feature that I really find helpful is that the documents don’t open in seperate windows, but in seperate tabs. This makes using AjaxWrite very quick and easy.

AjaxWrite is definitely moving things a step further, but it is far from becoming a full fledged word processor. At this point, I am agreeing with Alec Saunders that AjaxWrite is more like an online WordPad that comes free with any Windows installation. Above is a simple comparison of the AjaxWrite interface and Microsoft Word. For the most part, a lot of the basic functionality is there, or atleast of what is visible on the front interface. It lacks features like spell checking, paragraph spacing, object formatting, etc.. In the screenshot, I have opened up an old document from a few months ago (a college paper) in both AjaxWrite and Word. It’s just a simple essay format, but AjaxWrite did have a little trouble with it. To some, this may not be much of a problem, but it wont cut it in the business world just yet. I deal with documents everyday for work and I must see exactly what my boss is to send me and my boss needs to see exactly what I send him they way it should appear. I’ll test around with a few other document types and see how things go. One thing that it’s got Microsoft Word beat on though is the saving as a PDF document (possible on a Mac, but not on Windows without an extension software). It will be interesting to see how it progresses.

Note: AjaxWrite is only compatible with Firefox.

Online Word Processing with AjaxWrite.

12 Comments on “Online Word Processing with AjaxWrite”

  1. ajaxwrite at quintal do xanato says:

    [...] [via solution watch] [...]

  2. Is Novelle Netware the best NOS? » michellevital says:

    [...] Online Word Processing with AjaxWrite [...]

  3. Affiliate Rant! » AjaxWrite = Cool = Infancy says:

    [...] (Quoted: Online Word Processing with AjaxWrite » Solution Watch Via Solution Watch.) -BW Griggs [...]

  4. Anonymouse coward says:

    ok, am i the only one that thinks this is really nothing special. stuff like this has been around for over a year now and can be easily integrated into your website. seems like everyone is jumping on the i’ll praise your web2.0 project if you praise mine band wagon. that’s why i’m posting anonymous.

  5. Brian Benzinger says:

    Anonymous, I actually completely agree with you. It isnt much more then your basic DHTML WYSIWYG editor. Like I said in the post:

    “I feel that the strong point with AjaxWriter though is that you can open and save any Word, RTF, Text, and even PDF documents online without needing any additional software and for free. It is that which seperates it from your usual online WYSIWYG editor.”

    It is the open and save options that got me and that is the main reason I like it really. Otherwise, its nothing special.. although the tabbing is nice too.

  6. Mikael says:

    You can do stuff with Ajax without XUL too..

  7. Razvan Antonescu » Dirty SEO: a possible explanasion for the AjaxWrite success says:

    [...] Solution watch: Online Word Processing with AjaxWrite [...]

  8. Bill Webb says:

    The advantage of ajaxWrite is a familiar interface and the ability to open and save documents without first exporting them to the Web, as with Writely, Zoho and the others. It’s ideal for students, for example, who don’t have laptops and have to share computers. Let’s hope that Mike’s folks continue to improve on it. It’s intended to fill a niche, not put the 100% web-based apps out of business. Nor is the purpose to put M$ behind the 8-ball, although the hype would lead you to think so. We have webmail (Yahoo’s comes to mind, in addition to Gmail – have you looked at Y! lately?) that is quite competitive, yet no one’s worrying about the death of Outlook, Eudora and TBird – at least not yet.

    Remember that Robertson is the guy behind MP3.com and Linspire. He doesn’t usually back losers. (And if you think Linspire is a loser, download Linspire Live and use it for a day or two, pretending you’re not a geek. It’s not meant for geeks.)

    IMNSHO, the thing that will make all these things completely viable and a threat will be (a) universal broadband and (b) really secure on-the-fly encryption/decryption for the web, that’s simple to use. Once fast access and transmission that’s truly secure (unless the opposition has a Cray) is available, these web applications will explode.

  9. Bill Webb says:

    ps: As it is, they work pretty well. I use Writely for most things that don’t require complex formatting, because I move around among a work computer, my laptop and home machine. It’s convenient as heck. (Of course I don’t belong to any subversive organizations, unless you count the ACLU and Mensa.)

  10. IT|Redux » Three is Even Better says:

    [...] ajaxWrite is an alternative to Writely and Zoho Writer, and got a good review from Brian Benzinger on Solution Watch. It sports a user interface very similar to the one popularized by Microsoft Word, and I tend to believe that such a design choice will be required to convert existing Word users, even though the Google-like approach favored by Zoho Writer might actually lead to improved end-user productivity. Multiple stylesheets that go beyond color schemes and provide radically different user interfaces on top of the same infrastructure might be the answer on the long run: get existing Microsoft Office users converted through the use of an Office-like user interface, then let them upgrade to a Web 2.0 model with a single mouse click. [...]

  11. hiru puntu zero » Blog Archive » Online textu editoreak: ajaxWrite, Writely, etab. says:

    [...] Azkenengo egunotan dexente hitz egin da ajaxWrite zerbitzuari buruz. ajaxWrite, online textu editore horietako bat da, orain arte erabili dugun Microsoft Word edo OpenOffice-a baina web zerbitzu gisa, hau da, zure nabigatzailea erabiliz funtzionatzen duena. Berain hitzetan, hauxe da ajaxWrite: Microsoft Word-ek duen itzura, sentsazio eta funtzionalitatea berdina baina web bidezko AJAX plataforma baten bidez. [...]

  12. Jigsaw hc says:

    I tried AjaxWrite, but I prefer Zoho Writer. It loads much faster for me and AjaxWrite had some issues.