As someone who writes about technology, I’d like to think that I’m technically literate; I’m conversant in a few programming languages, I can ramble about future microprocessor features (like IBM’s incredible optical switches), and I secretly hate Facebook. That makes me part of the technorati, right? Well, I’ve got a secret. I can’t build a Wiki.
Or, more accurately: I won’t build a Wiki. If you haven’t tried starting one, I’ll save you the trouble. It’s a colossal pain in the ass. First you have to find the right Wiki engine for your purposes and your server technology. Then you have to decide whether you want to pay for licensing it, or find a version that does what you need for free (here’s an explanation of some different types of Wikis, appropriately on Wikipedia; here’s a full list of Wiki engines you can choose from.) Then you actually have to build it. By that point you’re wondering: isn’t there an easier way to do this in a Web 2.Whatever world?
Well, of course there is. But it just came out this week, so I feel like less of an idiot for having not found it sooner. It’s called Nuospace, and it’s a fully web-based, no-coding-required Wiki platform that aims to be a one-stop home base for documents and content that require group collaboration and editing. It’s not project management software or a CMS, but it borrows some features from those genres; all changes are trackable, and there are several social-network features that make collaboration a little easier. Right now it handles Office documents and comments, but according to the founders, with whom I spoke last week, Nuospace should be able to handle all kinds of editable content before too long.
While Nuospace calls itself a web-based Wiki, it’s really more of a replacement for unwieldy corporate shared drives and intranets. Because it’s brainlessly easy to setup, it’s conceivable that a group of employees could fire up a Nuospace Wiki for any given project with minimal approval from above — there’s a free version, or a higher-storage version for only $50 a month.
Granted, this isn’t going to be a fully-integrated or branded solution — your Wiki will live at an address ____.nuospace.com, for example — but for quick projects, it could be a considerable time saver. You can try it out at demo.nuospace.com, but if you’re on a Mac, avoid using Firefox; so far, only Safari is supported.