WikiWiki Warfare In The Enterprise Leading To Situational Software?
from the the-right-platform? dept
With the launch of Joe Kraus and Graham Spencer’s (two of the Excite founders) new startup, JotSpot, most of the attention is being paid to how it competes with SocialText, the original hosted enterprise wiki company. However, Business Week’s coverage is a little more interesting. It’s probably due to how JotSpot is trying to position themselves, but Business Week suggests that, rather than just being something of an open scratch pad, JotSpot lets people build their own software programs. This may seem silly at first. Indeed, it’s clearly overstating the power of wikis right now, though it does show how JotSpot is positioning themselves against SocialText by clearly promoting add-on wiki components that look familiar to typical intranet/enterprise software users. However, the whole idea has me wondering if the wiki concept really could be the platform for situational software. Situational software is Clay Shirky’s way of describing a new breed of quick-and-dirty software designed to solve a particular task for a small group of people, often built by non-programmers. We’ve already written about efforts by Charles Simonyi to create a platform for designing simple to use programming environments for non-programmers trying to solve specific tasks — but perhaps the wiki is one step ahead of this. The problem, though, is that the wiki, by itself, has limited programmability. You can enter text and make links, but that’s not quite the same as building an actual application. While both SocialText and JotSpot appear to offer additional components that they’ve built, the next stage may be for them to start promoting easy integration with additional outside apps and components developed by others. If you start thinking of the wiki as less an open whiteboard for text, and more an open workbench for integrating web services-based applications however you’d like, things start to get much more interesting.