Bloki eases Web page creation

Tool's ease of use comes at functionality cost

Twelve years into the communications revolution sparked by the World Wide Web, companies are still searching for a product that will make it truly simple to create Web pages. The latest option, Bloki, is a useful tool for ad hoc page creation and collaboration, but it is not suitable for creating commercial Web sites or corporate intranets.

A free Web site ( hosted by Zapatec Inc., Bloki aims to combine the ease of content creation offered by Weblogs—public Web diaries—with the collaborative strengths of wikis—sites on which anyone can change or create pages (hence Blokis name, a fusion of blog and wiki).


Bloki offers an extremely easy-to-use interface for creating Web pages and working on them collaboratively. However, Bloki achieves this ease of use by sacrificing features essential to corporate Web page creation software, such as template-based page creation and sophisticated management tools. For quick, informal collaborative projects, Bloki is a good choice (especially for the price—free).
















  • PRO: Easy content creation; simple tools for ad hoc collaboration, file locking and version control.
  • CON: Lacks fine-grained access controls; no support for template-based page creation; lacks management and logging features.

• UserLand Software Inc.s Radio UserLand • Pyra Labs Blogger • Macromedia Inc.s Contribute

Bloki is indeed easy to use, but this simplicity comes at a price: Bloki lacks certain features that many users—corporate or not—will consider essential.

For example, eWEEK Labs found it impossible to create links between pages within Bloki. The only way to navigate from one to another is by using the file navigation frame that appears next to each Bloki page.

Bloki also lacks page templates, which makes it ill-suited for environments where a consistent look and feel across a site must be maintained. And, for now, Bloki sites are limited to being hosted on Bloki servers, which could be a problem if the service—or one of its Web sites—attracts more traffic than Blokis servers can handle.

A planned business-oriented version will add the ability to publish Web sites to domain names of your choice, support for Secure Sockets Layer encryption, a spelling checker and the ability to view real-time traffic statistics. Pricing for the business version, which Zapatec officials said will be available this quarter, will start at $10 per month. Zapatec also plans to offer a Bloki appliance for enterprises that want to host their own Bloki sites internally.

However, the current version of Bloki is fine for creating simple, quick Web work spaces. For a small project team that needs a simple, inexpensive collaborative work space without a lot of technological overhead, Bloki may be just the ticket.