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Start-up InView takes P2P approach to collaboration

Apr 03, 20032 mins
Enterprise ApplicationsMessaging Apps

* Close-up on InView Software's peer-to-peer collaboration tool

Start-up InView Software last month shipped its “shared information manager” software called Momentum to help users collaborate on documents and share information.

Momentum operates using a peer-to-peer model in that it allows users to interact and share information without the need for a centralized server. However, it also operates using a client-server model, which makes the tool useful for version control.

Momentum’s functions revolve around the use of “workspaces” that any user can create on his or her computer. These workspaces can contain a variety of data, including word processing documents, spreadsheets, images, contacts and other data that are created and modified using the desktop applications that users already have installed on their computers.

When a user creates a workspace, that workspace acts as the central server for all of the data contained in it. Other Momentum users can then view and edit the data in the workspace, but only one copy of a particular document is available within the network of Momentum users. Disconnected users can continue to work, and changes are synchronized when the user is reconnected.

Momentum’s version control capability is useful for ensuring that users are working on the most recent version of a document, a perennial problem for any collaborative group. Any document can be imported into a workspace – once it is placed into a workspace or saved after a subsequent editing session, the version information for that document is automatically saved. Any previous version of the document is available for review.

Other features of Momentum include messaging capability, both to other Momentum users and to others outside the network; a chat/instant-messaging capability; the ability to notify other users (via an instant message using the built-in chat feature or via e-mail) when a document has been modified; and the ability to collaborate on Momentum-specific drawings and outlines in real time.

Momentum is priced at $249 per user or $995 for a five-user license. It currently runs only on Windows XP, Windows 2000 and Windows NT 4.0, but Linux versions are being developed.