Monday, October 1st, 2007
If you’ve seen a demo of Adobe AIR or Flex recently, you’ve probably seen Buzzword, a Flash-based word processor. Compared to Microsoft Word 2007 or Pages ’08, Buzzword is unimpressive and underpowered. However, compared to any Ajax word processor, Buzzword is a revelation. A web-enabled word processor that doesn’t limit you to the incredibly basic typographical engine used in the live HTML editing everyone else uses? Hey, that’s pretty neat. In fact, Buzzword’s text layout capabilities are pretty dang cool.
Add to it some great collaboration features, animation eye-candy, and a well-designed, innovative, and polished UI and you’ve got people asking the question once again: wait, do I use Ajax or Flash?
Buzzword has been around for a while; why is it in the news today? Adobe acquired Virtual Ubiquity, the company behind Buzzword. And they’ll be integrating it into a new offering: Adobe Share, which is basically their competitor to all of the Web 2.0 Office Suite plays (and gives you a cool way to embed PDFs in your web page).
When it comes to Ajax vs. Flash, Dion and I have always been pragmatists; when we can use one to enhance the other, they should work together. While Buzzword is not yet embeddable into your own custom applications and not yet integrated with Adobe’s Share suite, it does make one wonder if the future of Web-based word processors is Ajax or Flash.
Do you think Buzzword is a compelling improvement over the Google Docs word processor or Zoho Writer? Or just what some would expect from the Flash of word processors: distracting eye candy that is ultimately useless.
Just a few years ago, I remember a client telling they needed a Word-like experience in the browser, and I remember telling them, “Sorry, it’s the Web.” Amazing how far we’ve come in such a short time…
Posted by Ben Galbraith at 8:22 am