MindTouch has launched a
new version of DekiWiki, its enterprise wiki platform. The upgrade
is intended to expand the wiki beyond its current role as a content
management system, making it into a full-featured application platform
that can host mashups and even execute code. It also introduces new
versioning features that allow several people to edit the same document
simultaneously. Like most wikis, it's available for free under the GPL,
with MindTouch making money from support.
Previous versions of DekiWiki contained some mashup features, allowing users to embed data from other sources within a wiki document. The new version builds on this by integrating a full scripting language (DekiScript) that's preconfigured to connect to several popular Internet Web services. The most interesting is probably Dapper, which can expose data from any Web site as a Web service and thus allow it to be integrated into a mashup. However, most users of enterprise wikis will probably want to create custom applications from internal servers, so like all mashup platforms, its usefulness depends on whether in-house systems are already service-enabled.
Turning a wiki into a mashup platform may seem unusual for users accustomed to pure content wikis like Wikipedia. However, it makes sense from the perspective of enterprise vendors wanting to build on what is already successful. Of all technologies commonly given the Web 2.0 label, wikis are by far the most successful within enterprises, so using them as a foundation for others is almost a natural step. The big question is whether users will have the time or skills to develop applications. Wikis are successful partly because ordinary users can get started by making minor edits that only take a few seconds, but learning a scripting language and debugging apps requires a much greater level of commitment.
MindTouch's closest competitor in the enterprise wiki space is SocialText, which doesn't yet includes mashups but has some extra options including wiki appliances and hosted services. It may soon face a much more serious threat from IBM, whose QEDWiki offers mashup capabilities but is still in beta.