In my search for useful features to add to Snip.City, I came across OnlyOffice, and boy am I glad I did. These guys are absolutely insane. I'm surprised they aren't more popular given the sheer magnitude of the services they offer. Here's a couple screenshots from their dashboard, just to give you an idea:
I was initially attracted to that first feature of theirs; the ability to "Create, edit and share documents." and "Collaborate on them in real-time." with "100% compatibility with MS Office files guaranteed."
This is huge. The closest I've seen to this would be Google Docs, which allows simultaneous collaboration on a single document, though arguably not in real-time. The interface of Google Docs always seemed a bit stripped down to me, making it "useful enough" for most people, but lacking many MS Office features that are more often used in the enterprise space. OnlyOffice doesn't have that problem. Its interface is very similar to that of MS Office and also makes available all the MS Office features that I've ever used. I didn't find myself missing anything with them. Add to that the real-time collaboration and you've got yourself a winning product.
And that's just one of the features they offer! It is honestly kind of overwhelming just how rich and complete their platform is. From Projects to "People", which turns your "portal" (what they call your organization) into an intranet, wherein everyone has vcards with pictures to be easily identified even in larger enterprises so they can communicate using the built-in email system over the built-in mail server. You can share announcements to all members or post on your very own blog that your colleagues can comment on. You can even use the aforementioned mail server to handle all of your websites email needs, both sending and receiving, with email addresses for each employee. Very impressive stuff!
Now the way this all works in terms of setup and infrastructure depends on your type of business and your particular needs. They have several options accordingly. Enterprise Edition, Integration Edition, Developer Edition and Cloud Service. The pricing differs but it mainly works on a per-user basis. For me though, the downside that comes with the first three is that you set it up to run on your own server. While it's not very heavy on resources, it does use your server's resources. Currently, my servers are too small to handle such a task. One other thing to note about those three is that you're locked into their pre-defined packages, with the smallest one being for 50 users.
Here's where the Cloud Service comes in, which is what I'm truly excited about. The Cloud Service runs completely on their servers, meaning virtually no impact on my server's resources. Awesome! Their Cloud Service is also the most flexible, allowing you to customize the number of users as you please. For a sole proprietorship or a home-based startup with 1-2 users, it's only $10/month! $20 for up to 5 and $40 for up to 10 users. Definitely a bargain for what you're getting. It's also very scalable as your organization grows, with very clear pricing structures that allow you to plan ahead accordingly. The one caveat with the Cloud Service is that you miss out on the mail server option. Not an issue for us since we have our own mail server, but something to consider nonetheless.
In my case, however, since I intend to open up these features for all of the users of my website, these pricing tiers can get quite expensive very quickly. Fortunately, they offer their service absolutely free of charge for non-profits such as Snip.City! This would allow us up to 1000 simultaneous users and 2GB of storage space! What this means is that at any given time, 1000 people can use these features at the same time, before it starts to deny access. Which is absolutely fantastic!
I am very proud to announce that we will hopefully be integrating OnlyOffice services into our website very soon. Part of the sign up process for the non-profit solution is to embed their banner into our homepage, or to "write a note" about them and our partnership with them either on our official blog or on our social media accounts. Now since our website is dedicated to remaining ad-free, I opted for the latter option. But I still decided to go the extra mile and talk about all the benefits they offer, their pricing structure and also how we will be working with them, both as a service to them in the form of providing more information about them and also as a service to our readers, to whom we are dedicated to remain upfront and transparent about all our deals and partnerships.