By Anne Chen  |  Posted 2006-11-14 Email Print this article Print

Despite its wiki roots, JotSpot 2.0s success lies in the fact that it doesnt look like a wiki at all. This allows users to add and work with structured pages—in the form of spreadsheets, project management applications and calendars—while collaborating and sharing information. JotSpot 2.0s combination of collaborative tools and Microsoft Office-like functionality makes the hosted service an innovative and easy-to-use enterprise-class solution, according to eWEEK Labs tests.
All this comes at a price, though. Corporate plans start at $70 per month for an unlimited number of users and 1,000 wiki pages, but prices can climb to as high as $200 per month for plans with more pages and storage. Plans with limits of 25 users and 300 pages cost as much as $25 per month. A personal plan with 10 pages per month and five users is free, but users should keep in mind that pages add up quickly. Support is included with every JotSpot plan.
At press time, JotSpot, which was purchased by Google in November, had temporarily halted new accounts as well as upgrades, so pricing is subject to change. We tested JotSpot 2.0 with a Company account ($200 per month), which gave us unlimited users, 5,000 pages and a 10MB size limit on attachments. The JotSpot platforms core functionality includes spreadsheets, file cabinets for managing documents, a photo manager and calendars. We could choose our own jot.com domain (ziffdavis.jot.com), or, for an additional $50 per year, we could use our own domain. While building our wiki, we were able to pick and choose other applications to add to our site, including a project manager, group directory, bug reporter, blog and knowledge base. All the applications were free and installed with the click of a button. The JotSpot platform tends to provide more traditional wiki collaboration products, so organizations looking for collaboration services such as work spaces and Web conferencing should consider wiki-based alternatives such as the Central Desktop service.
For an eWEEK Labs review of Central Desktop, click here. During tests, we found it easy to add users to our wiki and to control the permissions of those users. As the wikis administrator, we were able to control our users access, as well as whether they could write to or only read specific pages. Permissions could be applied to specific pages or to the entire wiki. We had no trouble adding pages to our wiki. We simply chose a page template—be it a spreadsheet, Web page, blog, project management page, calendar or file cabinet—and then added text or other data to the page. JotSpot 2.0 uses a WYSIWYG editor that provides Microsoft Word-like features. Users familiar with HTML can bypass the WYSIWYG editor and code the pages by hand. JotSpot 2.0 also integrates with Microsofts Office and has features that let users import Microsoft Word and Excel documents into their wikis. During tests, we had no problems importing Word documents into our wiki, but we did run into issues when attempting to import some Excel spreadsheets. (JotSpot 2.0 indicated they were too large.) Ward Cunningham, the "father of the wiki," speaks on community and collaborative development. Click here to read more. Users can, however, create their own spreadsheets in JotSpot 2.0, either by copying and pasting from an Excel spreadsheet or by creating a spreadsheet from scratch. We ran into some problems with formatting when copying data from an Excel document, but we have seen similar issues during tests of other non-Microsoft Office productivity services, including Google Spreadsheets. One area where we would have liked to see more functionality is the calendar. While we could create events in our calendar and attach files associated with those events, it was impossible to invite other users or to receive e-mail reminders of the events. Pages add up In addition, if administrators dont watch their accounts carefully, pages can easily surpass the maximum amount the JotSpot platform allows, potentially adding to the cost of the service. For example, every contact we added to our wikis group directory was counted as a separate wiki page. Users can leverage a variety of methods to keep abreast of any changes made either to a specific wiki page or to the entire wiki site. For example, users can subscribe to an RSS feed for every page or for the entire site, allowing them to be notified every time a change is made. The feeds are available in Atom, as well as in RSS 0.91, RSS 0.92, RSS 0.94, RSS 1.0 and RSS 2.0. Users also can choose to receive an e-mail notification or reminder related to a specific project. For example, we were able to configure JotSpot 2.0 to send us a nightly e-mail about upcoming project tasks. We liked the ability to add content to our wiki via e-mail. Each page is assigned an e-mail address, which allowed us to update content by sending an e-mail to that address. We also were able to e-mail attachments and have them show up on our wiki—a nice touch. While Googles intentions for the JotSpot platform remain to be seen, there is one thing wed like to see incorporated into the platform: It would be nice to have instant messaging functionality (in the form of Google Talk, perhaps) so that users could discuss document changes with one another, providing yet another avenue for collaboration. Next page: Evaluation Shortlist: Related Products.

As a senior writer for eWEEK Labs, Anne writes articles pertaining to IT professionals and the best practices for technology implementation. Anne covers the deployment issues and the business drivers related to technologies including databases, wireless, security and network operating systems. Anne joined eWeek in 1999 as a writer for eWeek's eBiz Strategies section before moving over to Labs in 2001. Prior to eWeek, she covered business and technology at the San Jose Mercury News and at the Contra Costa Times.

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