Collaborative Authoring Trends and Costs

How do you go from 5 authors to 47, all collaborating on the same documentation? This is the issue Anne Gentle wrestles with in her post Collaborative Authoring — Tools and Costs. She explores everything from Author-it Live to Drupal, Mediawiki, Alfresco, and SharePoint, including cost breakdowns for each tool.

Anne also cites research from Forrester about the rising trend of collaborative authoring:

37% of organizations surveyed in Forrester’s Q4 2008 enterprise and SMB software survey consider implementing a collaboration strategy important in 2009

My Thoughts:

I think collaborative authoring will continue to grow in the future. Large, expensive solutions may give way to more popular, open-source options. As more groups adopt open-source solutions, the open-source solutions will become stronger. Any time you have thousands of developers and users behind a platform, they create a surge of extensions and themes, hacks and tutorials, enhancements and workarounds.

No single project team can compete with the collective contributions of thousands of developers on a global scale. And just maybe — here’s a thought — the best platforms for collaborative authoring are those platforms that are collaboratively constructed themselves.

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By Tom Johnson

I'm a technical writer working for The 41st Parameter in San Jose, California. I'm primarily interested in topics related to technical writing, such as visual communication (video tutorials, illustrations), findability (organization, information architecture), API documentation (code examples, programming), and web publishing (web platforms, interactivity) -- pretty much everything related to technical writing. If you're trying to keep up to date about the field of technical communication, subscribe to my blog either by RSS or by email. To learn more about me, see my About page. You can also contact me if you have questions.

2 thoughts on “Collaborative Authoring Trends and Costs

  1. Larry Kunz

    All of the trends are pointing this way. In fact, collaborative authoring is fast becoming the norm — if it isn’t the norm already.

    I’m afraid we might be in for a few years of “wild, wild west” as the various formats and solutions vie for supremacy. Eventually we’ll reach consensus on a small set, driven (as you say) by open-source standards. DITA has emerged as a standard for topic creation and reuse; now we’re starting to see viable open-source content management systems. Maybe the next big thing will be aligning the various community-based authoring tools with these standards.

  2. Pingback: Trends in Technical Writing -- Responding to a Reader's Questions | I'd Rather Be Writing - Tom Johnson

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