Etherpad should be used to shift much of what is done via Email, on forums like Facebook, on chat like Twitter - or by texting! Etherpad has a number of major improvements over those (and similar) tools:
Currently (as of the Last Modified date on the bottom of this page) this is the fourth and last piece in the FourOh-LLC Software Stack. It is recommended you read YunoHost and Roundcube first, and of course familiarize yourself with DokuWiki - the software which is hosting this Welcome Wiki you are reading right now.
It is time for YunoHost, Roundcube, Etherpad and DocuWiki to put the Test Users to work and establish the two fictional businesses:Goldilocks Property Management, Inc., and Mayflowers Plants and Perennials, Co.
Ms. May Flowers, the owner of Mayflowers Plants and Perennials, Co. started her business in a small storefront on Main Street. Eventually she has grown the shop into a warehouse with all sort of foliage, and now she is looking for additional floorspace spread across town. She tasked her general manager, Ms. April Showers, to draw up an initial plan.
Ms. April Showers calls Dusty Gold to look for suitable spaces. Dusty begins by logging into Etherpad and creates the Folder “Floor Space”, and for the description she adds Floor space catalog for industrial use, including production floor and offices.
Etherpad does not support nested folder - that is, you cannot create folders inside folders. You might have many related projects - but if you undersand abstraction you should be able to create folders based on your current context, the size of your scope, the access level of your participants and so forth.
Etherpad has a simplified user interface - no eye-candy or extensive graphics. FourOh-LLC does not advertise so there are no banners and other distractions. There are tool-tips, and on the right you may remove the help box once you are master Etherpad.
We are going to cheat here - and we going to introduce the resulting Fabrik Form. Again, in FourOh-LLC you could create the Fabrik List and Forms before you create your Etherpad collaboration outline, and as you become an expert you are going to do just that, more often than not.
The first tab (Building Master) on the Fabrik Form holds a control called “Contract Terms”. This is a dynamic Fabrik List, rendered as a drop-down list, and the current selection is going to be recorded in the database as an integer.
Dusty is going to invite a few participants, each assigned a different highlight. In the small window the participants chat, while in the large window the Vocabulary of the Domain is being built.
Etherpad records all changes in a database - so if one participant deleted a paragraph it remains in the history buffer. In essence once the text is entered it is saved until you DELETE the Pad. So DO NOT KEEP Pads around for long, because if a password was entered in the Pad - you cannot erase it, it remains in the history buffer!
Dusty assumes that Mayflowers already has a database about plants, on how to sustain them, and what type of climate they need. It is likely that the information is business data, and it is not being shared with anyone.
Therefore Dusty does not record this information, and to grow the database of Goldilocks she is going to record more than what's needed by Mayflowers. The fact is - the two separate database maybe connected by mapping a few key fields.
So all Goldilocks need to do to update their own database, adding something like “Indoor Foilage” - and let Mayflowers evaluate and mark the choices.
These and more are the ideal use of the shared pads, where two separate, or even competing businesses may collaborate and agree on issues - then erase all traces of what was done.