I wanted to be able to tell you that despite rollApp being in beta it’s pretty much ready to go. Unfortunately, I can’t, because it isn’t. There are some limitations that make using the site a deal breaker for most users. When the developers get those worked out, however, rollApp will be ready to be a major player in the world of online apps.
For those who don’t know, rollApp is a startup that intends to offer in-the-browser online versions of many favorite applications. Already they have an impressive roster of apps up and running–such as the entire LibreOffice suite, Gedit, Scribus, Inkscape and Darktable. Except for some limitations, they work great–you’d hardly know you weren’t using an application that’s sitting on your own hard drive.
However, the limitations, until fixed, render the online apps unusable for most real-life purposes.
The biggest problem has to do with the copy and paste function. To get around browser restrictions, the developers at rollApp have incorporated a Clipboard Manager into the mix. This works great for copying and pasting from within the application. However, there’s no way to paste into one of the online apps from outside the application. This means there’s no way to grab a quote from a webpage or email and paste it into something being written. Nor is there a way to copy from rollApp into an outside application, say an email client on your computer.
I asked about this on rollApp’s forum and received a prompt reply from Alex Grechanowski, a rollApp community manager.
“Currently the copy-n-paste feature only allows operating with text within an open application. I.e. you cannot copy a chunk of text from a website and insert it into the app…
We’ll check whether we can implement it in the future releases.”
This seems so obvious that I would’ve thought they’d already be working on it.
There are a few other problems as well.
There’s no way to save a document created within rollApp to your computer. RollApp opens and saves to online storage services, such as Google Drive, Dropbox or 4shared, but not to your local box. This means that to use anything created using rollApp tools, you must save it on a service such as Google Drive and then log into Google Drive to download it to the local machine. That being the case, why not do the writing using Google Drive and save a few steps?
I’m inclined to be confident that these shortcomings will be worked-out before rollApp leaves beta. They’ve done too much work to leave it unfinished. Indeed, I’m very impressed with the work they’ve done so far. When they’ve address these few issues, which should be easily handled, I plan to start using their site on a daily basis.
The rollApps service is offered in a free version supported by video ads or in an ad free paid version. New users get to go ad free for the first two weeks of use.
Here are some screenshots. Each image is click-to-enlarge:
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