How can a writing workshop share their work online?
May 12, 2009 9:32 AM   Subscribe

What would be the best web-based file hosting service to use as a shared "Documents" folder for the various members of my writing workshop?

I'm looking for a cheap (or even free!) way to set up a communal web storage folder so that the members of my writing workshop and I can make the latest drafts of our work available to one another in between workshop meetings.

Here are the tricky bits:

Many of my workshop-mates are fairly technophobic. If the login/uploading process is at all difficult-looking, they won't use it. Also, it would be probably be best that it not require the downloading of any sort of desktop client, unless the installation and configuration thereof would be simple enough for an 80 year old grandmother who was raised in a remote region of the Brazilian rainforest, by monkeys.

Finally, we'll be using several different document types. Some will be using regular docs, some will be using the screenwriting program Final Draft's proprietary format, and some will be using the format used by the open source screnwriting program, Celtx. It would probably be asking too much for the hosting service to automatically convert these various formats into PDF or something, so I'm pretty much resigned to having to go on and do some converting on my own... but it would be nice if, once I convert the document to PDF or HTML, for people to be able to just click on a document to read it.

Oh, and it'd be best if I could set up sub-folders for the various members of the group, so our stuff isn't all mixed up together.

So... any suggestions?
posted by patnasty to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Have you looked at google docs?
posted by anti social order at 9:36 AM on May 12, 2009

Best answer: have everyone install dropbox on their computers, and create a communal account. The software is free in its base version, works on all platform, takes 30 seconds to setup and synchronizes automatically the content of a shared folder on your drive (which can include as many subfolders as a normal disk drive) across all the computers.
Big plus: versioning, which is a life saver in case of accidental overwriting.
posted by _dario at 9:44 AM on May 12, 2009

You can share documents with dropbox, each person gets their own account and there is revisioning built in. It's totally wonderful.
posted by bensherman at 9:55 AM on May 12, 2009

Dropbox is still the most straight-forward.

Download the client, install the software, give it a login, and choose where it goes (defaults to My Documents/Dropbox I think).
posted by tybeet at 10:04 AM on May 12, 2009

Nthing dropbox, it is perfect for this kind of project. Everyone have constant access to the most up-to-date version, plus you can set subfolders if necessary. It Just Works!
And I might be stating the obvious, but if you're on mac, you can use the 'Save as PDF' option in your Print window to output a nice pdf document. For softwares that do not have a print function, you can capture the screen and print as pdf. Voilà!
posted by ddaavviidd at 10:56 AM on May 12, 2009

Dropbox from me too, as a teacher I use it to sync plans between work and home. It's so convenient to not have to carry a memory stick around.

The one things I learnt, eventually, is that Macs will allow certain characters in file names that Windows won't. So things I had created on my Mac at home didn't appear on my Windows computer at school.
posted by Ramo at 12:04 PM on May 12, 2009

Response by poster: Wow. Looks like DropBox is the clear consensus. Great -- I'll give it a shot. Thanks, Mefites!
posted by patnasty at 12:23 PM on May 12, 2009

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