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Recommendation for online service

Posted on 2009-05-14
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Last Modified: 2013-11-19
I am looking for a tool to allow my clients to create a technology plan on the Web, and download the finished product as a PDF document.  I'm looking at about 10 different forms to collect the information, and the final document will be 20-50 pages long.  Some pages will have a couple of paragraphs of narrative (mission statement, vision), others will have tables of objectives or activities or team members.  My original thought was to use an online database, but a lot of the plan will be narratives.  SharePoint might be OK.  I need a hosted solution.

Some of the people that work on these plans will be technologically challenged, so the system has to be extremely easy to use.  Each client will need to have a team of 10 people working on the plan, but no one beyond those 10 should be able to access the document.  I'm guessing I'll have about 100 clients.  They'll need to access the document for about a year, though I would prefer that they be able to continue to access the data, so a low monthly cost would be good.

I don't have a lot of time to dedicate to this project, so I'm not going to develop a MySQL database app from scratch.

What service(s) would you recommend to meet my needs?
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Question by:DanR
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Expert Comment

by:dhobale
ID: 24391609
Hi there,
You can use Moodle, an open source cms to manage activities of these groups. After correctly configuring the security, your customers should eb able to create documents accessible to themselves only.

You can also use Drupal to do the same project. There is not a plug and play solution. You will have to spend some time confuguring security and a few modules.
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by:bleech677
ID: 24395948
This might work for you - have used in the past, and its free
http://docs.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=44677

Sharepoint is a good solution we are currently inplementing where I work
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Author Comment

by:DanR
ID: 24395997
Thanks for the suggestions.

I haven't used Moodle, so I'm concerned about the learning curve.  It also doesn't seem to be a good fit; I don't need to run an online course, just have 100 teams each collaborating on a single document.

Drupal looks like the right kind of tool, but it looks like deploying a tank to swat a fly.  I need a tool to help a team of 10 from each of 100 clients create a 25-50 page document online.  I've got to believe there is a simple service to do this, but I can't seem to find it.
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Expert Comment

by:bleech677
ID: 24396434
Instead of sharpoint - if you are running a server 2003 machine sharepoint services is included there free as an add on

give it a try - sounds like it would work for you

http://www.windowsnetworking.com/articles_tutorials/Windows-SharePoint-Services.html
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Expert Comment

by:bleech677
ID: 24396491
google this and you get a ton of host for sharepoint

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=sharepoint+services+hosted
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Author Comment

by:DanR
ID: 24398657
Sharepoint is close to what I'm looking for, except that I'm not sure all my clients have Microsoft Word and Excel
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Accepted Solution

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bleech677 earned 500 total points
ID: 24398850
Here are some other suggestions:

-http://www.o3spaces.com/
-open office apparently has some sharepoint alternative, related to above

FYI - I'm not even suggesting sharepoint but the free (with w2k3 server) sharepoint services, I reaaly think the majority of users have acces to ms word/excel but as an alternate to those I read openoffice can be integrated to sharepoint
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Expert Comment

by:bleech677
ID: 24398870
Apparently staroofice is still around that would be another alternative to open office
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Author Comment

by:DanR
ID: 24399463
Thanks, but I can't count on clients having MS Office products, and I definitely can't expect them to install any software.  I'm looking for a solution that anyone with a Web browser can use.
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Author Closing Comment

by:DanR
ID: 31581758
The answer was pretty good, but not the answer I was looking for.  Thanks for trying.
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