Tonido Workspace – Personal Information Manager(PIM) and P2P Group Collaboration
In our continuing roundup of Tonido applications, we covered Tonido Jukebox, Tonido Webshare and Tonido Photos. The fourth application that is part of the initial Tonido Beta is Tonido Workspace, which we will cover in more detail in this post.
Tonido stands for freedom to share information without losing privacy and Tonido Workspace continues that theme.
1) At its simplest Tonido Workspace is a Personal Information Manager (PIM). As any information manager, Workspace allows you to add and manage information items such as tasks, notes, contacts, files and calendar in your Personal Workspace. And since this is part of the Tonido platform, you can work on Tonido Workspace remotely from anywhere.
2) Tonido Workspace doesn’t stop there, it has a powerful data synchronization system, that allows a set of people who are part of a Tonido group to collaboratively work together, and more importantly, almost magically without having a central server. Everyone runs a copy of Tonido Workspace in their machines and workspace data is synchronized among all the members of the group. Imagine Microsoft Outlook without Exchange server. Imagine if your Outlook directly talked to other Outlook clients and somehow synchronized information. That is Tonido Group Workspace. Yes, this is “Look Ma, No Servers!”.
Tonido Workspace as a Personal Information Manager (that runs in your web browser)
Tonido Workspace functions first of all as a full fledged personal information manager with all the functions that PIMs have. You can store and organize your life using Tonido Workspace. Including adding Tasks, Contacts, Calendars, Files and Notes. And the best part is that everything is available via your web browser whether you are sitting on your computer or half-way across the globe.
Here are some of the PIM features:
Your Workspace Dashboard, gives you a bird’s-eye view to track stuff happening in your life. It includes upcoming events from your calendar for the next 2 weeks, your tasks and a timeline of recent changes.
Add tasks, to which you can add due dates, priorities, assignees etc. You can then sort your task lists, filter it by various categories, print it etc.
Workspace has full fledged calendar support that allows setting up recurring calendar events and appointments.
Notes allows rich text formatting and longer documents to be added. Notes also supports versioning. So you can edit Notes and always keep previous versions around as well.
Contacts allows any sort of flexible data to be stored about as contact information. There are no limits on number of addresses or pre-set types. You can add any number of phones, emails, addresses and even add any number of custom fields. Import from vcard format is supported (single and multiple contacts).
Workspace allows you attach any files to your workspace. The file is copied into the workspace and can be downloaded later from anywhere.
Tonido Workspace for Seamless Group Collaboration
The features above are interesting, but what sets Workspace apart is the ability to collaborate with any arbitrary group of people by simply creating a Tonido group and enabling Workspace for that group. When each Tonido group member enables their workspace, the data in that group workspace starts to be synchronized among the members of that group directly.
For example, say you had a Tonido group with Tom, Jane and Joe as members. When Tom adds a task to his group workspace using his copy of Tonido, it will be synchronized to Jane’s and Joe’s group workspace as well. And the same thing will happen if Jane or Joe add a task or any other item. It will appear in all other workspaces automagically. Synchronization not only happens for adding, but for modifying and deleting as well. Everything gets synchronized. And it doesn’t even matter if your Tonido Workspace is offline. The next time you come online, information in your workspace gets synchronized. In fact, there is actually no difference between being online or offline, your Workspace functions identically. Perfect for the long plane trip, when you can do everything with Workspace without being connected.
Behind the scenes, Tonido Platform’s Data Synchronization framework does the heavy lifting, allowing essentially peer-to-peer data synchronization. This is one of the powerful features provided by the Tonido Platform which we will talk about in a future blog post.
And, what happens in the case of conflicts? i.e. two people edit the same information for instance.
Tonido workspace data synchronization is implemented with conflict resolution in mind. By default, Workspace can resolve conflicts by using the most recent change first, but it can use a whole host of conflict resolution methods. Not only is conflict resolution a workspace level setting, it can even be an item specific setting. For instance, you may want conflicts for a specific item to be resolved in a particular way and the rest of the workspace using another way.
A Tonido group workspace offers more than a personal workspace. In addition to the features of the PIM (shared tasks, shared contacts, shared calendar, shared notes, shared files)
You can post topics and have discussions on those topics.
Chat is built-in. All chat for that group workspace is archived and synchronized. So you never miss a thing.
Tonido workspace provides a timeline of all events occurring in the workspace. What happened when and who did what.
Hierarchical Information Management
One of the most powerful features in Tonido Workspace is the ability to organize information hierarchically. Any information item in Workspace can contain other item types as children. For example, you could attach any number of files to a task item. You don’t have to stop with files. You can add comments and additional notes to a task as well. And while you are at it, you can throw in a calendar event that will now automatically appear in the calendar. Eureka! Your task now appears in your calendar as well. The flexibility and possibilities are endless.
Want to track customer phone calls? No problem, simply add the customer as a contact in Workspace, and log phone call notes as child items to that contact. A simple CRM at your finger tips.
Want to discuss the latest design document or functional spec? Simply attach the document to Tonido workspace and let everyone comment on that file. It is now simple to get everyone involved easily, without getting overwhelmed especially if you work with a large set of documents.
Tonido Workspace supports the concept of links. You can link arbitrary items together. So you can always navigate from one item to another item by following the links.
Tonido Workspace allows arbitrary categorization of your items by using Tags. Once you tag items, you can filter items using a specific tag; so you can work on them specifically.
Unlimited File Sizes
Tonido Group Workspace allows files to be attached to the workspace which will get synchronized to other Tonido members. But there are no size limits to the files you can attach. The files will be transmitted directly to other Workspace members.
Full Text Search
Finding stuff in Workspace is easy with full text search built right in. Type any fragment and all items of any type that match are displayed.
Tonido Workspace is a great fit for people who like to use PIMs but want the availability of online apps. It is also a great fit for distributed teams, small businesses, student project teams and families. Tonido workspace follows through the dream of a truly distributed and private collaboration system.
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