A whiteboard (also known by the terms marker board, dry-erase board, dry-wipe board, and pen-board) is a glossy, usually white surface for making nonpermanent markings (an evolved version of the blackboard). Whiteboards are analogous to blackboards, but with a smoother surface allowing rapid marking and erasing of markings on their surface. The popularity of whiteboards increased rapidly in the mid-1990s and they have become a fixture in many offices, meeting rooms, school classrooms, and other work environments. The term whiteboard is also used metaphorically to refer to features of computer software applications that simulate whiteboards. Such "virtual tech whiteboards" allow one or more people to write or draw images on a simulated canvas. This is a common feature of many virtual meeting, collaboration, and instant messaging applications. The term whiteboard is also used to refer to interactive whiteboards.