Crocodoc launched what it calls the world’s first embeddable HTML5 document viewer and annotator last week, aiming to oust Acrobat, introduce a full-fledged document collaboration platform to Yammer, and fundamentally change the way people work with documents.
The Magic of HTML5
The cream of Crocodoc's Flash-free feature is obviously HTML5. Being built entirely in the latest revision of the standard affords the software several very neat perks, including readability via modern browsers and mobile devices, document annotation, collaborative highlighting, drawing and note taking.
Here's a side by side comparison with Crocodoc’s version on the left and the original document on the right:
On the technical end, embedding documents is fairly simple. Web developers insert an HTML tag per document into their site’s code, much as they would a YouTube video. Viewers can then scroll through the documents without needing software such as Microsoft Word or Adobe Acrobat.
“We are fundamentally changing the way people work with documents,” said Ryan Damico, CEO of Crocodoc. “People shouldn’t have to download documents for common tasks like viewing, commenting, and form filling… documents should be a seamless part of the web just like other media. And with our new embeddable viewer, application developers can now offer these key abilities to their users directly through their products using our cutting-edge HTML5 technology.”
An Enterprise Focus
Crocodoc is simultaneously attempting to highlight their enterprise angle via a partnership with Yammer (news, site). An accompanying widget enables Yammer users to view any kind of supported document — whether it’s a Word doc or a PDF — and collaborate in real time from within the microblogging platform:
“We wanted to let users work with documents in an intelligent manner and Crocodoc gives Yammer users a great document viewing experience right inside our site, and furthermore makes it easy for them to collaborate with their peers in ways that were previously not possible," said Adam Pisoni, CTO of Yammer.
The Yammer integration is just the beginning of Crocodoc's newly launched Partner Program, which replaces direct download links and images that take users off-site to run Acrobat or Word. Highlights include:
- An embeddable, visually customizable HTML5 document viewer that can be integrated via the Crocodoc API
- Optional commenting and markup tools for collaboration
- High-performance, high-fidelity document rendering with upcoming mobile support
“It’s not really rocket science,” Damico continued. “We just wanted to make something that just works.”