Free Collab Apps – Conference Room Scheduling & Idea Hub

Our App Publisher partners have shown some Holiday spirit by publishing some very useful and FREE collaborative apps for SharePoint to the CorasWorks App Store.  Last week, they published Conference Room Scheduler (by Crucial Systems) and Idea Hub (by Future Structure).  Here is the skinny on these apps.

Both apps are in the collaborative apps genre.  They are generally addressing the need for people across a SharePoint environment to collaborate.  Thus, they have a broad user population and would probably be implemented with permissions for a lot of people. 

Crucial’s Conference Room Scheduler solves that common problem of people scheduling conference rooms.  It is a clean, simple app where people can centrally schedule the conference rooms.  It can also be used to collaboratively schedule other resources like equipment, trade show booths, company vehicles, etc.  The key is that it is a centralized resource that gives everyone the visibility they need.  It is an easy win for a SharePoint environment.

The Idea Hub is an innovative collaborative app by Future Structure.  They’ve coined the term “Hub” for this style of app where you collaborate around something such as Ideas.  The key is that all of the lists and libraries in a site are available as related content.  Thus, for each Idea you can add 10 different kinds of content and work with all of the content related to the Idea instead of jumping from content type to content type.  It basically inverts the idea of content in a SharePoint site to be related to a single thing like an idea. It also lets you fire off emails with links back to Ideas or related items – this drives the idea of a collaborative Hub and Spoke model.  Definitely, one to try out.  I have started using it for all kinds of things, even beyond ideas, because it is so easy to use and to get and keep people engaged. 

Both of these apps run on the Workplace Suite.  The Idea Hub also uses the Workplace ID Generator field to generate unique ID’s that are key to the relational design.  The Workplace ID tool is currently in the CorasWorks Toolset and the AppEngine, but, not the Suite.  Come 1/1/2010 it is being released to the entire SharePoint community for free. 

william

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