Put everyone on the same page
- By Florence Olsen
- May 12, 1997
That's the view of Richard Rebh of WebFlow Corp. of Santa Clara, Calif., who said the
company's SamePage suite turns collaborative information systems inside out by letting
several people work in the same document simultaneously. "That creates a more agile
organization," Rebh said.
The Federal Aviation Administration, Transportation Department, NASA, Army Corps of
Engineers and intelligence agencies have evaluated or purchased the SamePage 2.0
application suite, which runs under the SunSoft Solaris, Silicon Graphics Irix and
Microsoft Windows NT operating systems. A future release will run on Hewlett-Packard HP-UX
WebFlow's C++ software displays what looks like a standard document except for some
blue hyperlink symbols.
In reality, the document headings, subheadings, paragraphs and lines in a listing are
database objects, whose relationships are understood by the application.
"We take a single-user file and convert that into a series of database records so
the document is multiuser and granular," Rebh said. Whenever several people view such
a document, what they see reflects the actual state of work.
WebFlow's collaborative information system was born out of frustration, according to
"We're a bunch of Silicon Valley people who spent the last 15 years building
computer systems and software products and going to team meetings where engineers were on
Unix machines, marketing was on Macs, and customer support and finance were on PCs,"
"The only things we could exchange electronically were e-mail and fax documents,
pencil and paper."
In contrast, SamePage lets people conduct "rich, virtual meetings where you
discuss materials, assign action items and report on activities all through
SamePage," Rebh said.
Users participate via standard Web browsers such as Netscape Navigator and Microsoft
Internet Explorer. Details appear on the company's Web site at http://www.webflow.com.
Rebh said the software can accomplish in advance many of the things people do at the
start of meetings.
The SamePage suite comprises two applications: SamePage Workspace and TakeAction. It
stores workspace information as objects in a Versant Object Technology Corp. object
database or in an Open Database Connectivity-compliant relational database. The ad hoc
workflow application handles nested tasks and threaded discussions.
NetFrame Systems Inc. of Milpitas, Calif., bundles the SamePage Suite on its NF9000
Windows NT server. Federal government buyers get a discount on the server suite,
list-priced at $3,500 for 10 users.
Contact WebFlow's federal office at 703-764-5964.