Organizations looking to get their feet wet with Web 2.0 technologies might want to check out an updated version of open source enterprise wiki software that developers say can help companies embrace collaboration and speed application development.
TWiki.org , a virtual open source community consisting of 26,700 members, 4,000 contributors and about 2 million enterprise users, this week announced a new version of its enterprise wiki platform, TWiki 4.1, code-named Edinburgh.
Version 4.1, available free for download under GNU General Public License (GPL), includes application extensions that enable users to create what TWiki.org representatives call "Situational Applications." The group defines Situational Applications as "enterprise software programs, created in short time frames and with limited budgets, for small groups with specific needs."
Wiki software enables many individuals to edit, delete or modify collective content on Web sites using a browser interface, expanding on the work of previous contributors. Putting wiki software to work in an enterprise company could enable collaboration among departments and supplement e-mail for communications on group projects, TWiki.org contends. According to Gartner, more than half of all U.S. businesses will be using wiki technology by 2009.
TWiki.org says its platform in particular adds structure to the "free-form world of wikis." With the software in place, wiki content can be browsed, searched, grouped, categorized, filtered and restricted for limited access, the group says. And with server-side plug-in APIs, developers and nonprogrammers can use the software to build applications.
The organization says it supports more than 250 plug-ins that help expand TWiki's capabilities. For instance, available plug-ins include BlogPlugin, which turns TWiki into a Weblog engine; SpreadSheet Plugin, a system for adding spreadsheet functionality; and Workflow Plugin, software for embedding project-tracking functionality within a wiki page.
TWiki 4.1 provides users the capabilities to include spreadsheet functions, dynamic tables, slide shows and Web 2.0 user interfaces in collaborative applications. The software enables a development process that incorporates the specific needs of application users, without "formal support from the IT organization."
According to TWiki.org, "relaxing" parts of the application-development process will help enterprise organizations reduce the "design, planning, scalability and integration requirements associated with traditional enterprise software projects."
"One key objective of the TWiki enterprise wiki platform is to enable each users to contribute to the company's collective knowledge and become a full participant in the application creation process," said Peter Thoeny, the TWiki founder who has managed the open source project since its inception, in a press release. "With streamlined support for third-party plug-ins, enhanced search capabilities and improvements to TWiki's AJAX-based user interface, TWiki 4.1 represents a significant milestone toward the achievement of that goal."
TWiki release 4.1 is available for download here >>