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The good folks over at Fine Mobile Web and I have been having a convo on Twitter, and they asked something that I kind of want to leave here for reference later -and because it makes some sense when talking about using a mobile web server to share content.

The question that was asked was a simple one (on the surface):

[what] do you think about Contents Sharing on mobile phone?

I tend to think about this a lot actually. But, usually because I’m always trying to leverage things that I create or store on my mobile, with the abilities of those who’d like to collaborate or receive that data.

When it comes to using a mobile web server, I think that there’s a nice path that can be taken towards sharing information, or even collaborating, and it could even be done without people letting go of content (for regional/legal reasons). This is how I think it could play out.

Scenario #1: Documents/Images
Let’s say you have a document, and you need to share it with someone else. They need to read it, and might recommend changes, but for the most part, having an orphan document out there makes no sense. So, using a mobile web server as broker, here’s one way to share the item:

  • Navigate to the place where the document is stored
  • Click a menu option to send/share document via mobile web server
  • Screen comes up asking for you to select the person(s) it will go to
  • Next screen asks from what page you’d like to store the link to this document*
  • Preview screen shows person’s name(s) and URL to that item on the page you’ve selected
  • Click Send
  • User gets SMS/email message with that URL, clicks on it, and gets a read-only version of the document (or a viewer on the page shows this document in a read-only fashion).

*Logically, you’d have this page setup as part of your process for creating a shared documents/images area for your mobile web server, so it is at least populated with one page already.

Scenario #2: Sharing Contacts/Calendar Data
Let’s say you need to display a contact to someone else, or that they’d need to download event information for a shared activity. Here’s how this could play out:

  • Navigate to Contact/Calendar item
  • Click a menu option to send/share document via mobile web server
  • Screen comes up asking for you to select the person(s) it will go to
  • Next screen asks if this can be downloaded by the recipient or not
  • Next screen asks from what page you’d like to store the link to this document*
  • Preview screen shows person’s name(s) and URL to that item on the page you’ve selected
  • Click Send
  • User gets message with URL, opens link
  • On the page is the contact information, with link to downloadable vCard (if info can be shared, and picture of the downloadable as a QR Code, or
  • On the page is the event information, with a link to the downloadable vCal file for the event and a QR code also pointing to the vCal

The Why
The obvious question is why do this, why not just send people the information and let them do with it as they please?

The fact of the matter is that there’s information that we share with many people, and trying to determine if they need read-only or read and save access to it is sometime sa matter of human relationship, not just behavior. In sharing information, it helps to make sense of this kind of sharing behavior, and then leverage it as soon as we can.

The use of a mobile web server in this instance makes sense because we are in times when we are storing and sharing tons of information over our mobile devices, and many times, people we share it with need varying degrees of access to the content. Sure, it is easier to send a document or calendar item when I know the person has access to it – or even work across a shared calendar.

But, this is taking for granted that the person has the same abilities as you do to access that application or network. By, using standardized, and accepted formats to share and collaborate, we can make the practice of sharing items from a mobile to anything a much easier process. And possibly, find another excuse to ask battery makers to improve things faster in regards to power requirements.

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