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Day: January 25, 2007

wikiCalc goes 1.0!

Dan Bricklin’s Software Garden announced the release of wikicalc 1.0. In Dan’s words: “After over a year and a half of work (part-time), I’m finally releasing the wikiCalc web authoring system as a “1.0” product. This means it has a pretty complete set of features for producing the quality output for which it was designed, has been relatively stable for a period of time, and has a reasonable amount of documentation. People who have held off testing or using the product until this point should now start taking a look. This is the code that will be the starting point for the SocialCalc project. You’ll find the new documentation, and a link to the downloads, on the new wikiCalc Product Home Page. This new documentation includes a “Features” page giving an overview of the product, a news page with an RSS feed, an “If you are new to wikiCalc…” page, and more. The documentation on the website is much more extensive than before. There are separate pages with details about setting up “Edit This Page”, “Live Viewing”, and other technical topics. The product Help files are reproduced, too. It is written from the point of view that many users will be setting up remote-access to hosted versions of wikiCalc. I designed it to be localizable into other languages, and reportedly Russian and Polish are far along, with more on the way including German, Italian, and Japanese. (I used Zbigniew Lukasiak’s rather complete Polish translation to test a lot of the localization code and catch bugs.) One person has written code for parsing and searching the edit log audit trail that wikiCalc keeps. As I fire up the Open Source project with the Socialtext people I’ll include places to post and keep track of these things.”

“There are companies in addition to Socialtext considering providing hosted services based upon wikiCalc. One that sprung up on its own is on the iWoorx website. iWoorx adapted the wikiCalc code to create a portal targeted at business users who use spreadsheets and email daily for exchanging simpler spreadsheets. They added more advanced user administration, cool graphing capabilities, and a “test drive” capability. They let users subscribe to some preconfigured collaborative spreadsheet pages designed for coordinating globally sourced consumer products. You can try their “test drives” without signing up. They are meant as an educational tool to introduce regular business people to the “wiki-ness” of wikiCalc in a portal environment. Seeing wikiCalc integrated with animated Flash graphs (in their “Live ChartLinx” test drive) is really cool and is just the type of thing I was hoping to see from others who took advantage of the open nature of wikiCalc. I’m not involved in the iWoorx project and it makes me feel great to see what others are doing all on their own with my creation. With all of the excitement around the experimentation with products and services lumped under the term “Web 2.0” it’s time for a web spreadsheet engine that is open to all around which to innovate. I chose Perl for the implementation because it is accessible to a wide range of programmers with a wide range of abilities and is easy to get running on almost any system. … There are many important features to be added and many people to bring into the project so that it can flourish. I intend to continue devoting a lot of time to this product. Here’s what will happen next: As I wrote back last June, Socialtext is going to integrate wikiCalc functionality into their wiki system and provide hosting and support to those that want it. They are also funding an open source project around the wikiCalc code so that I can move the product forward as part of a community. This wikiCalc 1.0 code will form the base release to start what Socialtext is calling the SocialCalc project. While the Software Garden release of wikiCalc is covered under the GPL 2.0 license, Software Garden is the author of the entire wikiCalc product and owner of the copyright. There have been no “contributions”. This will change with the SocialCalc codebase. That code will be developed much more in the open and will accept contributions from others (subject to my approval for now) who will hold the copyright to their contributions. My development work on new features will be going into SocialCalc, and Socialtext will be providing a lot of developer time, too, so that is where the future action will be. SocialCalc will be released under a Socialtext Public License that, being based on the Mozilla Public License 1.1, may be more appropriate for some companies who have issues with the GPL. (For users that want code covered under the GPL, this wikiCalc version 1.0 will always be available under that license.) There will be more news about SocialCalc at a later time.”

The Right Message for the Small-Medium Business Market

IBM just launched a very interesting suite of enterprise search products. I have yet to try it or examine the specifications but the marketing message is the right one for the small and medium business enterprise buyer. What I like in the message:

  • Pricing ranges from free to reasonable to ? (sky is probably the limit).
  • Deployment is simple, intuitive and clean.
  • IBM knows that simple and easy is the right call for IT but also the way to keep costs down.
  • The solution is scaleable from a departmental solution to the entire business domain on the same basic software platform.

For the short term, I am placing OmniFind on the long list of products to consider for enterprise search. Check out the Web site at:

How smart is it that IBM and Yahoo have chosen to team in this way? It could be a great strategy.
Disclaimer: This is the first product mention in this very new blog. It won’t be the last; I have a lot of interesting products on my list on which to comment. There will be much backfilling in the next few months but I have to start somewhere. The marketing message resonated; I hope OmniFind users will keep us informed by posting case experiences on whether the product delivers on the promises.

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