The central aspect of the new version is the easy access to content in BSCW from anywhere. Starting with version 5.0, BSCW offers two additional access methods besides the familiar comfortable web-based user interface, the mobile user interface and the desktop widgets. Access to BSCW, whether being on the road and in the office, becomes even more efficient.
The user interface for mobile access has been completely rebuilt from scratch, focusing on support of advanced state-of-the-art smart phones (including iPhone and Android). The mobile user may now easily access all content stored in the system – folders, documents, appointments etc. The mobile portal provides access to the different domains of the system and includes a search feature. Besides navigation of content, the mobile user interface also includes additional details on various objects: a details view reveals meta data of an object and allows editing details. Users may even add content, invite users to shared workspaces or contact people from within their personal address book while being on the road (see 7.2 Mobile Device Interface).
BSCW Desktop Widgets
The new desktop widgets enable direct access to relevant information in shared workspaces from a user’s PC or Mac and are easily installed using the web-based user interface of the system. In order to provide instant access to shared information, some of the known “helpers” from the personal portal page have been ported and adapted to the use in a desktop context. Once installed, the desktop widgets are available as a constant companion on the user’s desktop and may even start automatically when the system boots. Using the desktop widgets, users may for example easily search the system, receive notifications about recent changes or simply browse the contents of the shared workspaces. The Navigator widget additionally offers an easy-to-use upload mechanism via drag & drop (see 7.1 Desktop Widgets).
Further changes and enhancements
Revision of the personal address book: The personal address book has been revised in order to not only contain registered users but also “simple” contacts. Thus, users may now create and edit contacts in their personal address books. For a simplified usage, users and contacts are treated very much alike in the address book. Additionally, contacts referring to a user may be compared with the details contained in this user’s personal profile (including a merge/replace feature). Of course, the personal address book still serves as a source for quick selection of members for shared workspaces, appointments etc. Furthermore, synchronization of the personal address book with Outlook contacts is now available. (see 5.2 Address book)
Extended archiving features: The archiving feature has been fundamentally changed including background processing of very large archives. In order to minimize loss of information when importing and exporting the contents of shared workspaces, the archives now include additional metadata and thereby allow a more comprehensive backup and restore of shared data – opening up the possibility to move workspaces from one BSCW server to another (see 13.1 Archiving objects).
Various improvements and changes: Improved pop-up action menus; edit query and redo search now as action shortcuts; permanent hiding of search results not of interest (see 3.7.1 Special actions in search folders); automatic locking of text and HTML documents while being processed with built-in editor (see 8.1.1 Creating and editing text documents ff.); file upload using the drag and drop uploader works also without Java for recent versions of Firefox and Chrome; some actions concerning communities were dropped, especially the invitation of member groups to communities (see 11.6 Inviting communities to member groups and vice versa).