This book divides into four parts. Part I, is for everyone: you (the aforementioned toolsmith/architect), your bosses, and your users. It introduces two major document-sharing modes: Usenet-style discussion and web document databases. It explains how these modes embody groupware principles, why it’s important to apply those principles, how that helps everyone better manage information, and how every user can further that lofty goal by making better use of existing standard Internet client software.
The remaining three parts are a geek-fest. Don’t show them to your boss or your users; as with law and sausages, they likely won’t want to see groupware being made. These chapters sling Perl scripts right and left, wallow in primordial data structures, deploy Java servlets, run XML parsers, transform documents, automate processes, and explore nooks and crannies of web-server, news-server, and search-engine configuration. Why? In my experience, these are the ways you get things done. Groupware toolkits—commercial ones like Notes and Exchange, as well as the Internet alternatives I explore in this book—only scratch the surface of the problem. Ultimately you have to customize the stuff, because teams and business processes need support that you can’t stamp out with a cookie cutter. You have to be willing to use every trick in the book—and a few that aren’t.