Socialtext Update Knots Closer Enterprise Ties

By Matthew Hicks  |  Posted 2005-02-07 Print this article Print

The wiki provider builds directory integration, Web services and presence information into its latest release.

Socialtext Inc. is building deeper ties between wikis and the enterprise in the latest release of its Internet content publishing service. Socialtext Workspace 1.5, which was launched Monday, integrates the wiki service with enterprise directories based on LDAP (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol) and Microsoft Active Directory. Socialtext Workspace is generally sold as a hosted service, but the directory support is specifically available through a hardware appliance version of the service that Socialtext has offered for about a year, said Socialtext CEO Ross Mayfield.
More broadly, the Socialtext Workspace update supports Web services so that users can add RSS feeds and data from other Web sites into a wiki and provides the ability to add instant-messaging presence information to a wiki, the Palo Alto, Calif.-based company announced.
"No one uses a wiki in complete isolation," Mayfield said. "You have to let users collaborate in the context of other applications in the enterprise." Wikis are essentially collaborative Web pages that are open to editing by anyone. They have become increasingly popular in technology circles as a way to manage development projects and create shared documents. Socialtext, founded in December 2002, was one of the first companies to focus on a commercial wiki platform for enterprises. Competition, though, is increasing. In October, startup JotSpot Inc. unveiled a beta of its service focused on the wiki as an application platform. Click here to read about Socialtexts recent round of funding. For its Workspace update, Socialtext tapped its enterprise customers to help it develop the directory integration, Mayfield said. The integration allows large companies to provide access to wikis through a single sign-on and tie the collaboration tool into other enterprise applications such as corporate portals. With Workspace 1.5, Socialtext is providing the ability to feed Web data into a wiki by supporting Web services protocols such as SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol). Specifically, Socialtext has preconfigured Web services for displaying RSS feeds on a wiki and for conducting Google Inc. and Technorati Inc. queries through a wiki. The company plans to develop additional configurations, Mayfield said. "Were boiling down [Web services] to these simple statements that are no harder than creating a link in the wiki page," he said. "We dont want users to worry about the code." For presence information, Socialtext is supporting the AOL Instant Messenger and Yahoo Messenger IM services, Skype Technologies SAs VOIP service and Covoq Inc.s Web conferencing service, Mayfield said. By inserting a command with a screen name, a user can add presence information to a page. Socialtext Workspace 1.5 is available now. Pricing for the hosted service starts $30 per user a month. The appliance requires an additional setup fee of $995 and has a starting price per-user of $40 a month. Check out eWEEK.coms for more on IM and other collaboration technologies.
Matthew Hicks As an online reporter for, Matt Hicks covers the fast-changing developments in Internet technologies. His coverage includes the growing field of Web conferencing software and services. With eight years as a business and technology journalist, Matt has gained insight into the market strategies of IT vendors as well as the needs of enterprise IT managers. He joined Ziff Davis in 1999 as a staff writer for the former Strategies section of eWEEK, where he wrote in-depth features about corporate strategies for e-business and enterprise software. In 2002, he moved to the News department at the magazine as a senior writer specializing in coverage of database software and enterprise networking. Later that year Matt started a yearlong fellowship in Washington, DC, after being awarded an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellowship for Journalist. As a fellow, he spent nine months working on policy issues, including technology policy, in for a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He rejoined Ziff Davis in August 2003 as a reporter dedicated to online coverage for Along with Web conferencing, he follows search engines, Web browsers, speech technology and the Internet domain-naming system.

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