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I am organizing a team of our local tennis club. Last year I used Doodle and this time I tried Google Docs. The feedback was negative. I personally like Google Docs, but up to now I used it only on PC, not on a mobile device.

I received this positive feedback:

  • Google Docs shows the text and the table well

I received this negative feedback (from people who tried to edit the Google Docs link via an Android mobile device):

  • You see a big "install app" message again and again
  • Without installing an app it's impossible or hard to edit content

I created a copy of the document you can try it out: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Y1CHf3BCc01u_fJJerhrWj9aeuFqPSDpWSry_oMaDIg/edit?usp=sharing

Is there an alternative to Google Docs like I use it?

Required features:

  • simple to use
  • no installation needed to use
  • wish: No "Please install App to have more features" message
  • self-hosting or commercial: I don't care
  • Price limit: 1 $/€ per month
  • Text is enough, no uploading of images needed
  • It would be nice if you could edit tables (but maybe pure text would work, too)
  • team work should be possible, but in my case it is enough if only one person can edit at the same time
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ownCloud / Nextcloud would cover that, but might be a bit overkill. Both are available for self-hosting, and both also offer a list of providers who'd host it for you. Let's see how they'd fit your requirements¹:

  • simple to use: I'd say so – but of course, that depends on the user :)
  • no installation needed to use: chose your provider, then it's a clear "Yes". Otherwise, and that's what you probably meant: No installation required user-side, but of course you'd have to do 1 installation server-side.
  • wish: No "Please install App to have more features" message: It's a collection of web-apps, only some of them have "native counterparts" which are optional. Never heard of such a "forced popup"; usually, you only get it one time when you first login to your account.
  • self-hosting or commercial: I don't care: As pointed out, both possible. As for the price limit, check to find the provider matching it – or decide to self-host.
  • Text is enough, no uploading of images needed: No issues then. The ownCloud Documents app offers basic text processing, including tables, using the ODF format also known from LibreOffice/OpenOffice (see: editing). If you want more, you can integrate the full online office suite for ownCloud by Collabora.
  • team work should be possible: It is. If multiple users edit the same document, their avatars are shown on the right-hand of the document, using different colors. The same colors then identify what they are "changing".

Screenshot

I have used this solution (simple variant, without Collabora), and it works pretty decent. None of the part-taking users complained. Both, ownCloud as well as Nextcloud are available in an open-source, free-of-charge community edition. Next to the editing features, you also get cloud storage (where users can share documents), which goes along well in your context. Both also feature calendar and contacts (including sync using WebDAV), and can be extended by a bunch of "apps" – which definitely goes beyond your request, but might come in handy still.


¹ Nextcloud is a fork of ownCloud, so the listing covers both

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    We use Nextcloud now and it works very well. Thank you. – guettli Oct 31 '18 at 18:18
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Overleaf.com could be a replacement for Google Docs.

  • simple to use
    • Depends what you need to write. Not so easy to use if you don't know LaTeX, it takes some time to get used to. However, they have created a Rich Text editor (similar to Docs) which should do the trick for you. It will cover more LaTeX over time.
  • no installation needed to use
    • You can edit a file directly from a link with no account required (only to create the file in the first place. Here's a read-only link to your Docs in the LaTeX format which I created for demonstration.
  • wish: No "Please install App to have more features" message
    • Check. You can edit on all platforms.
  • self-hosting or commercial: I don't care
    • Hosted at their servers
  • Price limit: 1 $/€ per month
    • It's free if you don't need the Pro plan (I doubt you do)
  • Text is enough, no uploading of images needed
    • Can do both.
  • It would be nice if you could edit tables (but maybe pure text would work, too)
    • You can edit tables, but it may be easier for you to do without if the LaTeX syntax is too difficult. I recommend http://www.tablesgenerator.com/latex_tables for easy generation of tables. From there you can even upload a .csv filed from Excel.
  • team work should be possible, but in my case it is enough if only one person can edit at the same time
    • Check.

Here's a quick guide to the LaTeX syntax and structure: https://www.latex-tutorial.com/tutorials/quick-start/

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  • Honestly, I do love latex, but this is an awful solution to Op's problem. They'll just hate latex, they just need really basic edition on a collaborative set-up, and you offer advanced typesetting! – Clément Apr 19 '17 at 13:50
  • From the doc OP displayed, there wouldn't be a huge need for the advanced typesetting LaTeX can offer. However if many people are going to edit something like a LaTeX table I agree there would probably be a lot of frustration. It sounded like basic text would do fine ("but maybe pure text would work, too") Nevertheless a alternative which fulfill the most important thing, collaboration and no installation/account required. – ExchangeIdeas Apr 20 '17 at 17:59
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EtherCalc could be a replacement, it is a simple and efficient "web spreadsheet".

  • simple to use

    It is as simple as LibreOffice calc or its windows equivalent, so I would say that it is at least as simple as google doc.

  • no installation needed to use

    Nope, you only need a browser on the client-side.

  • No "Please install App to have more features" message

  • self-hosting or commercial

    You can install it on your own server, but you can also find it hosted on several websites: systemli, framacalc, ethercalc, etc.

  • Price limit: 1 $/€ per month

    The mentionned services are provided free of charge.

  • Text is enough, no uploading of images needed

    You can't upload images (what's the use, in a spreadsheet?).

  • It would be nice if you could edit tables (but maybe pure text would work, too)

    This is a full spreadsheet editor, with advanced features like sorting and formulas.

  • team work should be possible, but in my case it is enough if only one person can edit at the same time

    Can be edited in real-time by multiple users (actually designed to ease simultaneous collaboration).

Plus, it is a free project (i.e., the source code is available), and that's a guarantee that the service will last, and won't be disrupted overnight.

Be careful which host you choose, though, systemli erase documents that haven't been edited in the last month, framacalc does the same, but after a year. Creating an account might help to administrate the sheets.

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  • Thank you for this answer. Looks good. – guettli Apr 19 '17 at 14:14
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Documents today need to be multidimensional and as the information around us keeps growing we need more powerful tools that can adapt to our needs. Try Bit.ai - it is an all-in-one document collaboration platform which offers a smart editor for creating interactive live docs, robust digital content library so all your content can live in one place and document tracking so sales and marketing teams can see how people interact with their documents when they are shared.

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    Could you add some details as to why it satisfies OP's requirements? – Alejandro Oct 31 '18 at 12:19

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