So Michael Robertson is getting all disruptive on us again. The Linspire/Gizmo Project dude is jumping on the free AJAX word processing bandwagon with ajaxWrite. Like Writely and Zoho Writer and (fill in the name of your favorite Word "killer" here), ajaxWrite provides a lightweight environment for creating and editing word processing documents in your browser.
If you use Firefox 1.5 that is. It doesn't work in IE. It doesn't work in Safari on the Mac. It doesn't work in older versions of Firefox. I haven't tried Opera or Maxthon but it won't work in those browsers either according the ajaxWrite web site.
This one feels rushed. When Writely was first released, the thing that impressed me was the degree of fit and finish even the first beta displayed. It was obviously an online application that had already been through some internal or alpha testing. It wasn't perfect but it was good.
ajaxWrite, OTOH, feels rough around the edges. Saving in Word format generates a cryptic error having to do with "type C". Saving as HTML is dimmed out. Word documents opened in ajaxWrite have much of their formatting stripped away and all of the text in the tests I ran ended up centered. When I aligned the text left, it jammed right up to the edge of the screen, making it difficult to set the cursor at the beginning of a line. Like I said... rough around the edges.
Robertson is an interesting guy and his intentions always seem to be pretty good. He gives a lot of stuff away free and is generally transparent when he wants some of your money. But ajaxWrite needs more than a little work to catch up to its more evolved competition.