Excite Co-Founders Turn Wikis Into Development Platform

A new company named JotSpot aims to extend wiki technology into the realm of enterprise workgroup applications.

InformationWeek Staff, Contributor

October 18, 2004

2 Min Read

Joe Kraus and Graham Spencer, two of the founders of early Web portal Excite.com, have announced the formation of a new company that envisions the wiki as an application development platform. At last week's Web 2.0 conference in San Francisco, Kraus unveiled JotSpot, which extends wiki technology into the realm of workgroup applications by making basic Web-based applications simpler to build, deploy and evolve.

Wikis -- developed in 1995 and named after the Hawaiian term wiki-wiki, or "quick" -- are collaborative documents that any user can update via a Web browser. They have become increasingly popular in the workplace, especially among technical users, as a means of managing shared projects.

JotSpot takes the wiki concept one step further by turning it into a modular platform that incorporates Web services protocols. Users can customize and install various application templates into their wiki pages. They can also integrate e-mails into their wiki pages simply by CC-ing the wiki on important messages; the system captures that message and indexes its content and attachments. JotSpot can import Yahoo News over RSS, Hoovers data from the Web, and SalesForce.com information via SOAP and integrate that information with the wiki page as well.

"Simple Web applications are not simple to build," Kraus said in a statement. "They should be. We've taken the advantages of traditional document-based wikis -- designing as you go and the wiki conforming to a user's unique work style rather than the other way around -- and used them as a foundation for building Web applications."

For example, a business could use JotSpot to build a custom Web-based recruiting application that mirrors its specific recruiting process, then adapt the application as company needs, goals, or processes change.

JotSpot will offer its application wiki as a hosted service, which will be free for open-source project use. Workgroups can use the service in three ways: use the full-featured commercial wiki, install pre-packaged wiki-applications from JotSpot's application gallery, or customize an individual wiki-application for a specific business need.

The product is in an invitation-only free beta period that is expected to last about three months. Pricing has not yet been set.

Kraus and Spencer formed JotSpot about a year ago in Palo Alto, California. The company has received $5.2 million from venture capital firms Mayfield and Redpoint Ventures. Kraus will serve as CEO, while Spencer will take on the role of CTO.

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