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MindTouch Upgrades Wiki for Mashups

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.

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