Friday, July 4, 2003

As CTP pontificated in my iSight/iChat post, Hydra is a wonderful tool through which a group of users can collaboratively edit a document. I am somewhat embarrassed to admit that I didn't try it out until the middle of WWDC.

During a couple of the sessions, folks were "chatting" via Rendezvous messages using their "available" / "away" messages because Rendezvous based iChats do not support multiway chatting.

Clearly, this was an inferior way to communicate.

However, those with a clue-- of which I got one on Wednesday-- used Hydra to take live, collaborative, notes during the various sessions. Someone in the session would start an ad-hoc Hydra network and publish a document. Anyone else interested in doing so could collaboratively edit the document.

End result; you would have up to about a half dozen or so developers asking questions about the presentation, answering each other's questions, and building upon the ideas within the session.

The Hydra team was on the ball. They had a template document set up that contained different sections into which participants could add content. There was the general area for discussing what was currently happening on stage, a Q/A area for queuing up questions to be asked at the end of the session, and a general chat area. The template also included a generic set of instructions for interacting with the document and with each other.

Very cool. Very powerful.

I fully expect Hydra style note-taking to become the norm at technical conferences amongst Mac owning participants. For a single company sending multiple developers, it allows the participants to much more quickly digest and build upon the conference content in a forum. For individuals or those folks that simply play well with others, it allows the individual to gain knowledge from a group of people that likely have very different backgrounds.

And, at the end of it, everyone gets to walk away with a copy of the notes at the end of the session!

Congratulations to the Hydra team for their Apple Design Award -- very well deserved!!
10:49:28 PM  pontificate