My YouTube video gives a nice overview of the benefits of a virtual whiteboard:
What does Hacker News think?
We often take a picture of the whiteboard at the end of the discussion -- being able to continue to edit that whiteboard at some point in the future would be very handy.
1) SmartBoard is a giant LCD. Never seen this in the wild, but it exists. ~$8k.
2) Control-surface-only SmartBoard with integrated specialized projector. It hangs off the top-front of the board about 2 feet into the room, and covers the SmartBoard frame perfectly. Alignment is less of an issue since it can't move relative to the board. ~$6.5k.
These can be installed on a wall (labor costs) or on a wheeled cart (parts cost).
3) Control-surface-only SmartBoard installed on a wall, projector permanently installed on the ceiling. You (most likely) need a contractor to make the VGA/DVI run, install the projector mount in the ceiling, buy a projector, put the projector on it, align it, get an electrician to run power to the ceiling, etc.
This is what I most commonly see in classrooms. I worked for a contractor one summer, and a team of three of us could do ~4 classrooms in a day.
The board itself is around $2k. Projector + installation probably brings it up to around $3.5k.
4) Control-surface-only SmartBoard installed on a wall, projector sitting on a tabletop or A/V cart. Standing in front of the board to use it casts a shadow. There's an art form to standing the right amount off to the side. Some teachers were good at it, some weren't.
Smart Board would still be around $2k, and you can buy a ~$700 projector that'll do the trick.
I don't know what it costs to wall-mount the board in any of these configurations. Presumably if you have a couple of guys and drills, you can do it yourself and it'll only cost time.
Uploading the entire canvas would far too inefficient - I simply upload the points.
The transfer between two clients uses a technique called 'long polling'. That is, the client sends an HTTP request to the server, and the server doesn't respond until it has received a message (ie. stroke) from another client.
The fit process could likely be done client-side, and could offer some subtle smoothing if wanted?
Anyhow, really nice execution!
A killer missing feature seems to be microphone support, which the video alludes to.
Really? I don't think running another app to get audio is a very user friendly solution, and you'll never be able to record a session. How about Opus and webRTC or similar?
Disclaimer: I work at Sococo
I understand it's not a solution for the Android tablet, but I also thought I wanted to draw on a tablet and I've been happy with my set up - I can sit up and look forward and it feels better that way, than it would if I looked down towards my drawing hand and the tablet screen.
Just a thought. I'm one of those people who would never buy a Wacom Cintiq because I see the decoupling of "object to draw on" and "object to look at while drawing" as an incredible advantage.
Disclaimer: I made unwhiteboard.com
1. Be able to type in text (any font will do)
2. Drag-and-drop an image to be be able to annotate it over the top (would be excellent design task, e.g. using screenshots of some work-in-progress).
3. Movable objects?
In addition, basic shapes like line/rectangle/circle would be welcomed (I am terrible at drawing a circle with a mouse).
He did the product with tablet users in mind.
Edit: Well done though, awesome 1st cut :)
And yes I had the same thoughts last year when I was looking to work with a remote programmer: "Surely, surely someone has a half-decent solution?!". At the time, no. Now, yes :)
Understatement - it works really well on an iPad (even my ancient iPad 1).
I'm the author of a similar tool, https://awwapp.com/ , which is bitmap-based, ie the eraser works as it'd on a physical whiteboard, and there's no zoom (or undo/redo).
Great start, looking forward to seeing the future progress!
Add that, and we'll pay you money to let us use it. I suspect other companies will, too.
Tried this years ago over dialup with some MS app. The technology was flakey and kept getting in the way. This works great.
SVG export would be nice too, perhaps a paid for extra :)
My friend's parent is disabled and we thought about doing something like this and hooking it up to a touch-screen monitor for them.
That way the parent can see messages from her kids (in a different city) and vice versa without any effort or typing.
It think you're on the right path positioning this for use in schools. That's our main use case too, replacing overhead projectors in the classroom, and ruining snow days for an entire generation of kids.
Anyway, back in 2007 java and flash were reasonable solutions. Today, not so much.
PS, how do you make any money from twiddla if you give away free educational accounts?
There's one thing stopping me from using it: the URL
I use jotwithme right now, and I can set a session name, then tell people to go there. Here, I have to get the url from my ipad, sent it to myself somehow, and send it to the student.
That's not exactly hard, but it's annoying enough compared to jotwithme that I'd keep using that. But if you had that feature, I'd switch. Jot's erase feature isn't as good.
I love using a Wacom tablet for drawing diagrams, and wish there was a good shared whiteboard tool that supported pen pressure.
I didn't know if this is possible at first, but a quick search revealed http://muro.deviantart.com/, which supports pen pressure using a plugin.
Any chance you might add that kind of flair to whiteboardfox?
I would have much preferred a solid framework or library. Maybe I didn't spend enough time researching the alternatives to writing it myself.
But then again I wonder if a library would have had the low-level flexibility I needed. For example, I found that one of the most frustrating things when using whiteboard fox was that your internet connection would go down and you wouldn't know about it. So you would not realise that there was a problem and think that the other person had simply stopped drawing. My solution was to add a 5-second heartbeat so that the browser could display a 'disconnected' message when it didn't get the heartbeat. Would a high-level library allow me the option of such a heartbeat?
Its a bit of a tangent, but it makes me think how "feature focused" people are when hiring, do you know x/y/z with domain experience in q?
The right questions are, is this candidate a intelligent, a fast learner, reliable, have a track record of producing?
Which doesn't say much to most, I guess... It looks as if the scan lines are mis-aligned, i.e. as if some pixels in each line is missing from each, causing the resulting image to be slanted and distorted.
If teachersare going to use this, many of them will already have a powerpoint to use.
Adding to this, an easy way to navegate betweens different whiteboards of the same author (so it is easy to go to the next slide).
Just my opinion about what might work.
Except all you need to follow along is a browser.
WhiteboardFox says a few seconds is "fast syncing". Flockdraw's sync is realtime (try it for yourself).
The kind of latency and overhead I wanted when building Flockdraw is only really feasible in JS when using WebSockets (which wasn't even fully standardized until 2011) but was doable in Flash in 2009.
I have built a similar tool that is also an HTML5 / Canvas collaborative drawing app which uses Google Drive for storage and has no server code beyond that. It works offline (and syncs up with collaborators when you come online) and runs in Chrome, Firefox, Safari, iOS, and Android and supports touch. http://thesavior.github.io/draw/
A whiteboard lasts 30 days at the moment, but that number may change in future
We might start using it right away :-)