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A Few More Thoughts on Onfolio

I remain a fan of Onfolio, which began life as kind of a personal knowledge manager for Web-based content, but has evolved to also handle RSS feeds and provide more publishing capabilities. I have used it for quite a while now to maintain my eForms Resources page, and am currently using the new version, 2.0, which supports Firefox, which is now my primary browser.
I’ve had some correspondence with Sebastian Gard, who does product marketing for Onfolio. He asked me for some feedback on 2.0 compared to the earlier version of the product, and I offered the following.


In terms of feedback, I really like what you have done. While I haven’t explored it in depth, the publishing seems much more dynamic to me. Instead of producing the entire report whole cloth and reposting it to the Web site, it seems as if the updating is more selective now. In the course of publishing my eForms resources page, I probably published it and republished it 5-6 times in the course of an hour. I added the TOC, added the RSS feed, and played with the linking mechanisms a few times. I am not the type of person who likes to read the manual, so I was glad to just play around with it, try things, and finally settle on what I published. The fact that the updating was fast made my process easier.
A few other very good things I noticed:
* I like the “Publish to the Web” panels, including the ability to include the title, introduction, author, email, bibliography, rss feed etc.
* I like the ability to configure and test the web settings (server, etc) right in the primary publishing interface
* I like that the primary interface for creating and editing collections has stayed pretty much the same. I find it very easy to use.
* Installation went very well. I still use IE for a couple of web sites, and Onfolio seems to work seamlessly on both browsers.
I don’t have any criticisms really. I did the one project, and have only used it lightly since, but I will continue to use it. A few questions have come up in my usage so far.
The “automatically update changes to this collection” intrigues me. As a default for myself, I set my eforms resources to automatically update once a week, but I will give that more thought. This suggests to me that Onfolio can be much more of a dynamic publishing tool than I have previously considered it, but maybe I missed that feature in the earlier version? Again, I tended to think of my earlier eforms page as a “report” that I would periodically—and manually—update whole cloth. This makes me think more in terms of the collection as a dynamic resource. This would seem to have real value in applications such as research, intranets, knowledge work, etc.
I also haven’t played with your tools for managing feeds, but I will at some point. I am still in email world for a lot of my regular news feeds, including ones I am involved with, such as Gilbane.
Thinking totally off the top of my head—and I apologize if what I am about to say is already obvious or stupid—but it occurs to me that Onfolio is inching toward becoming a strong, client-side blogging tool. Ignoring the whole question of comments and collaborators (wiki), it seems like I could do quite a bit of what I need to create my blog content using Onfolio, even if it doesn’t do everything a blog needs to do. I can do all my research, writing, linking, feed collecting, etc, and I now have a more dynamic publishing capability. The editing interface needs some work (a rich text control instead of the plain-text forms), but perhaps that is already/could be solved through integration with Office, InfoPath, etc?
I think of this because blogging is such a two-sided coin. There is what I am writing and what I am interested in (what I also read, what I also cite, what I include in my blog roll, feeds I consult, etc.). The typical blogging tool (I use movable type and blogger, have tried others) solves the editing interface, but they really don’t support the “what I am interested in.” For that half of it, you often manage things by hand, maybe use blogroll, etc—in effect, you have two tools (sometimes even two classes of tools) to do both halves of the blogging. Wouldn’t it be nice to have one tool instead?
Since writing a bit about Onfolio, I have been contacted by another vendor, RichSkills, which has a product kmAnywhere. A colleague has also pointed me to a new product in Beta, EverNote. However, I haven’t tried either of these yet.

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2 Comments

  1. Firefox

    More Thoughts on Onfolio

    This blogger gave Onfolio a list of Requests for Enhancement….

  2. Frank Meeuwsen

    You might want ot check out the review I wrote about OnFolio because of a “showdown” with Evernote. I’ve chosen for OnFolio and still glad of it!

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