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October 16, 2004

JotSpot and the making of my own wiki

By Charlene Li

I had a chance to speak with Joe Kraus, co-founder and CEO of JotSpot, about the company. They provide WYSIWYG wikis (what's a wiki?), similar in function to what Socialtext provides. JotSpot does position its service (which is still in beta) with a new bent -- because it's easy for them to tie together "loosely coupled objects", applications can be easily developed.

The example Joe walked through for me is recruiting -- a company can set up pages for individuals being interviewed by the company. They can then add news feeds about the candidate's current employer (and even better, any mentions of the candidate him/herself). But wait, there's more! I could then design an application where I can give the person a rank and set up a script where the candidate is emailed to other managers for review only if they meet certain rank criteria. The scripting language itself was pretty complex, but anyone who can write HTML can get a handle on it pretty quickly (I'm just on the edge of being competent enough with HTML to cause a lot of damage -- I personally wouldn't be able to do the JotSpot scripting in its current state.)

But then I started thinking that I could really use a wiki associated with this blog. For example, I could create a page that listed all of the marketing departments setting up blogs or delivering newsletters via RSS instead of email. Rather than act as gatekeeper for that type of information, it would be updated by the people most interested in the content. Joe said that JotSpot is currently conceived as a paid, hosted service, but that he was getting a few inquiries about doing exactly this. While it's unlikely to be a mainstay of JotSpot's business, I think that there could be an interesting business model for this, similar to what Six Apart has done for blogs (disclosure: this blog is hosted by Typepad, a Six Apart business).

There are two free wiki farm sites that I'll be trying out: SeedWiki and XWiki.com. Stay tuned....

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