Virtual Team Collaboration: Share, Send And Publish Large Files Online With Adobe Share
As of 2012, Adobe Share is no longer active and it has been replaced by the new Adobe SendNow, which is part of the Acrobat.com suite, a collection of online services intended to help Internet professionals and businesses to collaborate online. Adobe SendNow is still free to use to send files up to 100MB, but it costs around $12/mo to transfer files up to 2GB and have access to a wide set of pro functions. Of course, you can always look at our constantly-updated reviews of services and software on how to send large files without email.
Adobe Share is a web-based team collaboration service allowing you to easily share, send, access and republish selected documents and files online. Key strengths of this new service are an extremely simple and well organized interface, alongside with a set of features that make document sharing among virtual team members extremely easy and effective.
First announced in October 07 at the MAX conference, Share is still in beta, is free for anyone to use and imposes no limits on the number of files uploaded while retaining an overall maximum shared space of 1GB for each account.
Adobe Share feels and works like a charm.
The new Adobe collaboration tools like Share and Brio are really moving the reference standard for quality online collaboration to a new level of simplicity and immediacy with a high-quality interface and a great overall tool architecture.
Adobe Share is accessible via a slick and professionally designed user-interface, simplified to its bones and straightforward to use.
How Adobe Share Works
The Adobe Share approach is very simple and direct.
In one screen you get to make all of the basic choices needed to share one or more files with one or more of your contacts.
Here the specific steps:
1) Select / Upload The Files You Want To Share
First you select the files you want to share among those that you have already uploaded inside Share or by adding directly any new file you need.
2) Specify Who You Want To Share Your Files With
Second, you add manually any email of contacts with whom you want to share the selected files. You can also select from a drop-down list of direct contacts that you can build and maintain inside your Adobe Share account.
3) Choose The Access level You Want To Provide To Your Files
Third, you decide whether the shared URL for your files is accessible only by your selected invitees or by anyone accessing that URL.
The Adobe Share interface is also very simple, being comprised of two main areas (Home and Library) accessible via two navigation tabs.
The home area provides all controls needed to upload / select and share one or more files with other users. A few clicks and any file up to 1GB in size can be easily made available to as many contacts as you wish.
In the Library area you get to view, list and browse through all of your Share related assets. All the files available in your Share repository are listed here and can be viewed both as a tabular list as well as a series of thumbnails. In the Library area all your contacts are also listed, as well as statistics about the number of document shared and other related info.
Adobe Share main features and characteristics include:
This is one of the most relevant and unique traits of Adobe Share, allowing easy republication of any document uploaded to Share inside standard web pages. Just like a YouTube video, a file uploaded to Share can be "embedded" inside any blog post or HTML web page via a simple copy and paste operation.
Here below is a Share document, in this case a PDF, that I have embedded inside this article. You can navigate the document, access its contextual menu (to grab its URL or embed code) or click on it to access all the advanced viewing features available inside the Share platform.
N.B.: "Right now, this works only for PDFs and image files, but they intend to make it work for any kind of document, including Microsoft Office files and OpenOffice.org files. You can still upload and download these files today, but the embed code will just produce a dummy image, not a real preview."
Source: O'Reilly Radar
Adobe Share is mainly an online repository and viewing station for virtual team documents and multimedia files. It makes it easy for those invited to access the Share space to browse, preview and download any of the documents made available there.
A provision to upload unlimited files with a maximum file size and space capacity of 1GB per account are the only other limits.
Inviting other users to your Share collaboration space or to any specific document you want to distribute is very straightforward. You can invite via email any contact you have or you can provide a direct-share URL for any document uploaded to Share via your preferred communication means (e.g.: instant messenger).
Share allows you to create your personal team/contact list inside its platform. Although you need to manually add all of your desired contacts at first (no email contacts import facility yet), Share makes it easy to re-invite and select contacts from a drop down list.
Another interesting and innovative solution introduced by Adobe Share is the ability to allow invited recipients to invite others to view the shared document files. While you can also limit access to a specific set of invitees it is certainly quite useful to provide also them with the ability to invite other users into this shared file repository.
Furthermore you can fully customize and edit access permissions to any uploaded Share document, as well as being able to update the files distributed as many times as you need, providing always your team with access to the latest version.
Document Preview and Navigation
Particularly effective are the document navigation abilities provided by Share. Shared documents can be zoomed very easily with no loss of quality, and a zoom navigation panel provides even more control when needing to interact with large and highly detailed documents.
Adobe Share basic zoom control provides both a step-by-step incremental zooming feature which can be controlled by the "+" and "-" buttons above the document preview area as well as by a zoom slider which provides a faster and more immediate way to rapidly enlarge or reduce the viewing size of any uploaded document.
Documents can be viewed in an open page-spread format view or as single pages.
For each file / document uploaded online, Share provides a simple but extremely useful set of contextual commands:
- Send to a friend,
- Embed or Get the reference URL,
- Get information about the file, and
Each one of the commands is easily referenced under every document thumbnail making it very easy to manage any such action on the screen.
Integrate and Mashup
Adobe Share provides a public REST API which allow developers to integrate Share with other existing applications and to build mashups by integrating Adobe Share capabilitieswith other web or desktop applications. (As an example of this, you may want to check one implementation of this API allowing integration between Adobe LiveCycle ES and Adobe Share.)
To Be Improved
Here a few specific spots and issues that appear as ideal targets for both useful innovation and for some key improvements:
- Search facility is very slow. Even when searching for one keyword inside a title within a set of six documents it took over 30" to find and display the correct one.
- Ability to collect a group of images or files into one "package" to be more easily distributed and viewed. This package may contain images of various kinds and formats, as well as PDF, office docs and even media clip files.
- Option to convert and download selected files as PDF files.
- Viewing and accessibility of text documents is somewhat limited unless the user has a very high resolution and large screen monitor. I have not found a way to view a PDF in true full screen mode and viewing a full page through share is definitely not ideal.
- Support for preview/embedding of more file formats. PowerPoint is a badly missed one as more multimedia audio and video formats.
- More controls and options for how to embed and display a document. Size, zoom level, copy and paste abilities, printing and so on.
- Missing full screen view.
- Ability to import email contact lists from major email clients and web mail services.
Conclusions and Editor's Comments
Adobe Share is a highly usable virtual shared space in which to easily manage contacts, files and documents.
By focusing on simplicity and key features, without trying to do everything under one roof, Share succeeds in providing a tool that is ready to be used the next second you are logged in. With a clean and very well though out interface Share feels intuitive and smooth both to the novice as well as to the tech savvy user.
On a standard DSL connection Share feels responsive across the board, showing, in general, no signs of weakness or fatigue even under a large load of documents.
Adobe Share is an ideal solution to easily and rapidly distribute a set of documents or some very large multimedia files to a specific set of recipients. Uploading and making the files available is very easy and recipients are facilitated by not having to download or install any particular application.
Users have all direct access to a full preview of any PDF, JPG, GIF, and PNG file uploaded.
By mixing the power and flexibility of PDF and Flash with a classy interface, the resulting web-based service feels immediately right for many a virtual team basic collaboration tasks including file sharing, backups, document exchange.
Once more support for other file formats is included, the few existing rough corners eliminated, and anyone can have a 10GB collaboration space at next to nothing, Share could easily become my preferred online file sharing and exchanging hub.
Supported file formats for shared files:
- Microsoft Office 2003 and 2007 formats
- Rich Text Format (RTF)
- Open Office formats
- Adobe supported image formats: GIF, JPEG, BMP, PNG
- Creative Suite file formats
- SWF and Captivate formats
You cannot use Share to upload and share any files with the following formats:
- Media: MP3, AAC, MOV, WMV, OGG, FLV, XVID, DIVX.
- Fonts: TTF, DFONT, OTF
- Archive: TGZ, 7Z, SIT
- Executable files or script code: EXE, DLL, JAR, WAR, CAB, JS, VB
Check out the Adobe Share Blog (pretty dead as of now - but vital to catch upcoming announcements) - http://blogs.adobe.com/share/
Other Online Reviews
- Adobe Share Beta - Inside a Developer's head - Nov. 17 2007
- Adobe Announces Document Sharing Service - Read / Write Web - Sep. 30 2007
- Adobe Share promises to Make Each Document an Embeddable Widget - O'Reilly Radar - Sep. 30 2007
- Access and Share your Documents Online - Online Tech Tips - January 7 2008
Originally written by Robin Good for Master New Media and first published on February 6th 2008 as "Virtual Team Collaboration: Share, Send And Publish Large Files Online With Adobe Share".
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