I finally added public document sharing on Dockumo after two weeks of launching. It was my original goal to get something like this up and running, but it turned out to be slightly more complicated than I had thought. Since I had built everything from the perspective of a user who is logged in, I had to develop some workarounds for users who were just hitting my site. The whole experience actually turned me off a bit to having user login. It seems like such a huge barrier to conversion.
In any case, here’s what public documents do: Say a user wants to share a template (I’ve shared an example cover letter when I was leaving law behind and coming back to software engineering). The user will login, create a new article, click “private” off (it’s enabled by default), then input the article’s content. Once the user saves the article, Dockumo will run a mapreduce behind the scenes and “index” the article so it becomes publicly searchable. The mapreduce runs by category, which are fixed (via a JSON file) so it forces the user into certain options. Tags are user specific and are searchable through the interface. Then the main landing page gets updated with “trending” articles so users can see what’s popular. Here’s a screenshot:
Then, if a user finds an article that she likes, she can email the article to herself, or download it to an HTML or word file locally. If the user wants to make some tweaks, she’ll need to login herself, add a copy of the article and then edit it for her own use. Hence the cycle repeats. The hope is that over time, shared articles can get better. It goal is that all of us can use the benefit of our collective intelligences to make and share better documents, whether it’s something simple like a cover letter, something more in depth like a lease, or something more personal like a statement of purpose.
That’s the power behind Dockumo and my hope for the community that someday, people can find some use for it. Now if I could just get one user who wasn’t already a friend …