Monday, June 16, 2008

New Lotus product wikis encourage a better community

As Ed Brill just pointed out, the Lotus DeveloperWorks team just changed all of the product wikis from the previous Confluence based engine to a new Domino-based platform. You can read details of all of the new features here.

This is really a great step forward for the Lotus wikis. The previous implementation for the Lotus wikis was locked down pretty tight, did not do much to make the layout pretty or easy to read, and generally seemed pretty disorganized.

In this new platform, Lotus and the community realize several benefits:
  • The look and feel is very pretty and matches the new Quickr / Connections / Sametime UIs.
  • Better navigation, tag clouds, RSS feeds, and search capabilities make the content of the wikis much more accessible.
  • Most importantly, all of the content is now editable using your regular IBM/Lotus web login (assuming you can find the right one). There is even a $25 incentive for the first 50 new, significant articles by external people.
  • The wiki is using Lotus technology*, which is good considering they sell a product with a wiki.
Perhaps the only drawback I see so far is that the article editing is just a simple rich text field and misses the one key feature that makes a wiki a wiki, which is auto-linking to existing and future content. I'll talk more on that in a future post ...

*Don't get me wrong - I love Confluence. It and its sister product,
JIRA, are two of the best Java applications I have had the pleasure to
work with (and I spent 7 years running Java development teams)
including feature capabilities, deployment, administration, and an easy
to manage plug-in environment with a strong community. Features like
proper forward linking to new documents, auto save, and great
extensions like the charting plug-in make Confluence a great tool to
work in. Quickr, Sharepoint, and many others have a long way to go in
understanding that a wiki is more than just an editable rich text field!

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