Jon Udell (another BYTE editor popping up in my writings: that cannot be a coincidence!) paints an elaborate picture of the “state of the art” in Web-based collaboration tools in his article Internet Groupware for Scientific Collaboration (2005-09-27 Update: that link is stale; try reading the article here).
I think his conclusions are valid for a lot af other Internet user categories as well: even businesses can benefit substantially by using some of the tools mentioned. We all work and play with others, don’t we? When deploying such collaboration tools on an intranet – or even on a single server – it might be quite interesting to be able to “chain them together” to create new tools, much as Un*x commands can be combined and piped in the command shell. We need a common deployment platform for these tools: Java’s Servlets might be just the thing we need for that!