iEtherPad is a web based text editor that offers users the truest real time experience possible. Multiple individuals can access and collaborate on a document, holding discussions and providing edits. iEtherPad highlights the user’s contribution through color coding. The text editor includes all the basic tools a user can expect, including bold, strike out, underline and italic font settings, left and right alignment, undo and redo functions and bulleted lists. iEtherPad also saves all edits made to a document rather than only the most recent so they can be undone later if necessary. Organizations can manage multiple pads and sort them by authors. Users can immediately access a public iEtherPad that requires no registration if they prefer as well. Secure pad hosting is also available.
The concept behind EtherPad was formed by David Greenspan, Aaron Iba, Daniel Clements, David Cole and J.D. Zamfirescue. The idea was simple, but proved to be very versatile. Users can collaborate on almost anything using Etherpad, from meeting notes to a new project or outline for another endeavor. Google has acquired AppJet Inc. and EtherPad.com in December, 2009. The EtherPad technology is opensourced and today, iEtherPad.com offers the necessities for users who need to collaborate on a document.
iEtherPad proves to be an excellent tool in many ways. Users can begin using it right away. The application makes it easy to see who made an edit, right down to the single character. iEtherPad also saves every change made to a document so users can go back and undo edits later if necessary. The application is very well made and its simplicity and basic design are actually a benefit rather than a draw back.
iEtherPad keeps things nice and simple for users. The user can click a button to access a public pad or log in for access to a secure pad. The text editor starts with a blank field and a row of editing tools that run across the top of it. Along the right hand side users can view a list of current participants as well as a color coded chat box for collaboration. The user’s assigned color appears as a highlight each time they add text or make an edit on the document. A bar that runs across the top of the application allow users to add a title to their document that can also be edited.
A new user can register for secure pad hosting by clicking on the blue button near the lower, left hand side of the iEtherPad homepage. This takes the user to the pad creation form which requires the user’s desired EtherPad URL as well as a full name and email address. After entering the information, the user can click the blue “Create team site now” button. The user is advised that instructions and a password will be emailed to the address they provide to complete account creation. Users who do not wish to use a secure EtherPad and instead click on the blue “Create public pad” button also found on the homepage to jump right to the document editor.
iEtherPad is a free service that does not require a subscription fee or other payment. Users can access a public pad without creating an account. Secure pads require a registration (which is referred to as a Pro account) however these are also free, at least for the time being.
Anyone who needs to collaborate online can appreciate iEtherPad. The application can handle any text document. Users can collaborate and edit together in real time. iEtherPad records changes and uses color highlights to show which user made each update or edit to the group document.