Balsamiq Community Discussion

Multiple users editing a Mockups for Desktop file--best practices

Hello,

I have files on shared network (not cloud) drives. There’s a Balsamiq file that multiple people have to edit. The problem comes when person A has the file open, then person B makes edits:

  • There’s no indication that person A has the file open, so
  • Person B makes edits and saves them (in place on the shared drive), but
  • Person B re-opens the file later and discovers that her changes have been lost

First, is this the expected behavior?
Second, how do people deal with this problem of ensuring that work isn’t lost when the file is open by someone else?

  • Is there some way to tell that the file is open by someone else?
  • Have people used any file management systems, like SharePoint or Confluence, to avoid this issue? (We don’t have Balsamiq for Jira or Confluence, but could pitch buying it to our management if it solves problems such as this.)

Appreciate any suggestions–it’s very frustrating to see that changes I made a week ago have been lost!

Hi @bwooster and thanks for the post.

Unfortunately, there are no real-time collaboration features built into Mockups 3 for Desktop so you will run into issues if you have multiple people accessing the same file on a shared drive, at the same time.

The solution is not a technical one but one of process flow - that is, coming up with a system that works for you and your team whereby only one person is editing the project at any one time. It’s not ideal but real-time collaboration is definitely one area where Mockups 3 does not meet the requirement.

We recognize that collaboration in real time is a feature that people want and it is available in a number of other versions of our app, namely:

In all of these versions, multiple editors can be editing the document simultaneously and changes are seen by all editors in real time.

Further, these versions offer additional collaboration features. For example, editors can see who else is editing the project at the same time and we support real-time commenting and review.

In short, they address the needs of teams who need to have multiple editors editing, often at the same time.

All of our products come with a 30-day no-strings free trial so you have plenty of time to evaluate and decide if they fit your needs. I’d encourage you to check them out - if you have any questions, we’re here and happy to help.

If you were to decide that a different version of the app is a better for for you, we can get you moved over and arrange a refund for your Mockups 3 for Desktop license. We want you to be using the version that is right for you and to be happy with your choice.

Let me know if you need anything else. For now, all the best.

Thanks, @alasdair. I understand the benefits of moving to a hosted version of Balsamiq. Good idea to trial Jira or Confluence versions–I’ll pursue that.
Regarding Mockups for Desktop, what I think people expect is not real-time collaboration, but what Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint do: if the file is already open by someone else, don’t let me open the file. Instead, tell me who has it open (so I can ask them to close it), and perhaps give me an option to save a local copy that I could manually merge with the shared version. What is frustrating is that Mockups gives me the perception that my work is being saved, when in fact it is not. I think we can all agree that’s not a good user experience!
Is this addressed in Mockups for Desktop 4? If not, should I submit a “feature request” ticket?

Hello again @bwooster,

Thanks for the considered response - it’s good feedback which is something we always appreciate hearing. The situation is better in Balsamiq Wireframes for Desktop (we’re retiring the name Mockups).

I’m still not super confident that I have the ideal answer for you but let’s take a step back…

The first available version of the new Balsamiq Wireframes engine was Balsamiq Cloud - the web-hosted version of the app. Cloud ushered in a lot of improvements in the editor but also gave us the chance to offer substantial real-time collaboration features, which I noted in my earlier post.

With the new update of the desktop app (which we’ll be launching soon ) based on Balsamiq Wireframes we opted to, first, leverage the existing real-time collaboration features of Cloud by making it super simple for the desktop app to open and edit projects which are stored on Cloud. It’s not ideal because you still need an internet connection (and a Cloud account) to make full use of those features but this approach allowed us to balance features and dev. time.

Like I say, it’s not ideal, but I hope that one of the other versions of the app might work better for you - especially in terms of collaboration features - and that Cloud or one of the Atlassian integrations is a possible, permanent solution for you.

One last thing - the updated desktop app. is in a public beta testing phase - if you’d like to try it out just join the Balsamiq Slack Community and I can let you know what else you need to know.

Please get back to me if you have any other feedback or questions. Thanks again and best regards.