Get published with doXtop!Ning Apps
doXtop brings an online, state-of-the-art publishing system directly to your profile page. Add this OpenSocial application to Your Social Network on Ning to show your work off.
doXtop goes far beyond creating a simple document of your publication. If you upload a word file to doXtop, your document gains multiple display options. It is published as a Hypertext PDF, a word or PDF version that you or other members can instantly download and even an MP3 file that reads the document aloud. With the simple upload of one document, doXtop offers flexibility while improving searchability.
Your publications are kept in one location, making it easy for members and friends to view and rate your work. In addition to sharing your work within a social network, you can also grab the embed code for any of your files or send the file directly to a friend with one click. With doXtop, you will never be limited by format, location or even language.
doXtop has a network on Ning where you can see the product in action. To learn more about this innovative OpenSocial application, I interviewed Paul Caspers, doXtop’s developer. Read his answers after the jump.
How would you describe doXtop in a nutshell?
doXtop is a state-of-the-art document repurposing engine for the Web that allows users to share their expertise, knowledge and opinions they’ve captured in documents not just with people, but also with communities and systems around the world.
What is your favorite aspect of the application?
Everyone knows that paper-based formatting is not quite compatible with the Web. Just think about the last time you got search hits containing long PDF documents, Flash documents or one-page HTML renditions and tried to find the content you wanted within them. Or the last time you tried accessing a PDF or Flash document on your mobile device. Working with these formats is often cumbersome and time-consuming.
Posting documents in paper-based formats essentially limits their accessibility and usability. They become lost to large populations of Web users based on location, device, inclination and available time.
doXtop goes far beyond today’s “post it” approach by completely eliminating the usability barriers created by the construct known as “a document”. It does this by repurposing each document’s content into data that can be effectively integrated into any Web application or business system and consumed in the format of choice on any device.
The simple act of posting a document through doXtop, for example, can simultaneously create a PDF rendition, a hierarchical hypertext publication with table of contents for use on a Web site (and which supports fine-grained searching), multilingual translations, an MP3 audio file and a hypertext publication optimized for access on mobile phones and PDAs. Whatever a user’s situation, they get the content they want where they want it—in the format that’s right for his or her needs.
What’s been the most surprising thing you’ve encountered?
Coextant Systems cut its teeth in the corporate world of document management and internal content publishing. Content in this environment is highly controlled and structured right from the start. You know which formats people use to author content, and the business dictates which formats and devices employees use to access the content. Solutions can be tightly defined and optimized because the process is essentially one-way: author to consumer.
Social networks, on the other hand, are designed from the ground up to enable sharing expertise, knowledge and opinions in two directions. The needs of any one user at any one time are nearly impossible to predict, and certainly cannot be dictated. Of course this makes the entire content-sharing problem more complex, but it’s worth solving it.
Just as posting paper-based formats limits potential access to content, the business approach of tightly defining content domains limits potential contribution. Wikis have the same effect because they’re rigidly theme-oriented. Everything in between simply falls through the cracks.
We believe the true power of social networks is the ability to document and share a new sort of knowledge that up until now has never been captured in a shareable format: the human experience. And this is — based on our history in the corporate content environment — where the real surprise lies. When users on both sides of the dialog can be connected, regardless of location, platform, format or device — and when it’s easy enough to use — an amazing and unlimited exchange becomes possible.
What would you say to someone who wants to create an application?
That it seems so easy to create an OpenSocial application! All you need is an icon, a brief description and a hyperlink, right? In reality, getting an application to work properly in the open social environment requires a significant amount of design thinking, development and testing. It has to be extremely easy-to-use and bulletproof, or once again the barriers to contribution and sharing crop up.
What plans do you have for doXtop’s future?
Numerous technical enhancements are already in the works for the near term: Support for cloud systems, integration with SharePoint, integration with Microsoft Office Live workspaces and an open API that allows developers to integrate doXtop functionality with Open Source technologies, for example.
But our long-term development is focused on two areas we believe will have a major impact on Web users. First, we plan to extend the doXtop platform with an area that enables everyone to run his individual content business — including payment systems, visitor tracking and the like. Second, driven by the converging factors of rapidly dropping “smartphone” prices and accelerated investments by mobile service providers in the mobile data access market, we will be investing more in making content authored in documents highly accessible, organizable and integratable in mobile Web solutions.
We envision a future where content consumers continue to be content creators as well, where the sharing is both commercial and non-commercial, and where users are no longer tied to a PC sitting on a desk or required to understand Web publishing technology to deliver content to anyone who wants it.
Tell us more about yourself and where you are from!
Coextant Systems is an international specialist in automating content flows. Founded in 1994, Coextant developed a powerful content automation technology known as Hyper.Net and built-up significant expertise in both the way users interact with content and how organizations can manage huge volumes of content in a scalable way. Solutions based on Hyper.Net technology have been deployed in Fortune 500 organizations around the world, and Hyper.Net continues to be embraced today to bridge the gap between authored documents and corporate content consumers.
Based on Hyper.Net, doXtop was designed to bring non-technical users the power needed to enable two-way sharing of document content on the Web.
About OpenSocial: An OpenSocial application is a feature that you can add to your profile page for fun, communication or business. Add it to your page by clicking the “Add Applications” link in the left hand column, beneath your profile photo. This will take you to the application’s directory, where you can scroll through the list of available applications or use the search box to jump to a specific one. Then click on the “Add to My Page” button and and confirm by clicking “Add Application”.