I have what seems like a typical usage scenario for users downloading, editing and uploading a document from a web page.
The problem is that downloaded files are typically saved in a temporary directory, so it can be difficult to find the file after it is saved. The application is for very non-technical users, and I can already imagine the problems with saved files being lost or the wrong versions being uploaded.
Is there a better way? Things I've thought about:
If it matters, the files will be mostly Word and Powerpoint documents.
Actually, despite the fact that you have more flexibility with AJAX in developing application, the problem of uploading multiple files is not solved yet.
To the thoughts you've mentioned in your question:
Google Docs: Online apps like Google docs are certainly appealing for certain use cases. However, if you'd like to upload Word and Powerpoint slides, you don't want the content to be changed once you've uploaded the document. The problem is that Google Docs uses its own data format and therefore changes some of the formats. If you go for an online app, I'd go for a Document Management Solution. I'm sure there are plenty (even free ones) out there; however, I didn't use any on them yet.
WebDAV It is possible and seems to me like the best solution. You can embed WebDav like any directory. Documents are locked until a user releases the document. Unfortunately, you don't have a web front end to manage the files or administer access restrictions. It
Flash or Java app They do exist, for sure. I'd prefer Flash over Java since Flash Apps still run smoother within a browser. I would definitely not use a rich application, even if it is a Java Web Start app that can be downloaded and opens in a separate window. More and more, users seem to accept browser based web applications. Which brings me to point 4:
Flash或Java應用程序它們確實存在。我更喜歡Flash over Java,因為Flash Apps在瀏覽器中仍然運行得更順暢。我肯定不會使用豐富的應用程序,即使它是一個可以下載並在單獨窗口中打開的Java Web Start應用程序。用戶似乎越來越接受基於瀏覽器的Web應用程序。這讓我想到了第4點:
User education You can educate them, sure. But in the end you want them to want to use the system. Most often, users get easily used to a tool. However, if they don't like the tool, they're not going to use it.
Clear instructions to save to their desktop is a start. Then clear instructions to go to the desktop to re-up it. I've not run across an online MSWord viewer/editor or whatever format the file is, but I'm sure they exist, now that Google Docs and a few other online versions of MSOffice exist.
I would make sure that there are easy to follow instructions, plus a tutorial somewhere else (perhaps with a video too) to guide users through the process.