Wikidot

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Wikidot
Type Private
Founded August, 1st 2006
Headquarters Toruń, Poland
Key people Pieter Hintjens (CEO), Michał Frąckowiak (COO)
Industry Dot-com
Products Wiki hosting
Website http://www.wikidot.com/

Wikidot.com is a social networking service and wiki hosting service (or wiki farm), developed in Toruń, Poland. Wikidot Inc., which owns and operates Wikidot.com, incorporated in Delaware, USA, Division of Corporations, file no. 4326793.

Wikidot.com was launched on 1st August 2006 and in 2009 it has become the world's third-largest wiki farm[1], with 400,000 users running 120,000 sites with 3.9M pages of user-created content (as of 1 October 2009). Wikidot.com grows by about 400-500 new users each day. Wikidot.com has roughly doubled in size during the last year[2].

Contents

Short company history

Wikidot.com is owned and operated by Wikidot Inc., incorporated in Delaware, USA in 2007 by Wikidot.com founder Michał Frąckowiak and a group of private investors. Wikdot.com was developed in Poland and was published as open source in January 2008. Wikidot Inc. derives revenue from opt-in advertising and services including support licenses. The company's operational offices are located in Toruń, Poland[1].

The officers of the company are Pieter Hintjens (CEO) and Michał Frąckowiak, who is also a General Manager of Polish operating office. Pieter Hintjens is CEO of iMatix Corporation, past President of the FFII, and has been active in the free and open source software field since 1991. Michał Frąckowiak is a former astrophysicist, certified software developer and the architect and lead developer of the Wikidot.com project since 2006[1].

Wikidot has been consistently placed in the top 10,000 web sites by Alexa since the beginning of 2008, and is currently ranked in the top 4,000.[3]

From March 2008, Wikidot.com began offering pro account features to beta testers, and on December 17th 2008, Wikidot.com rolled out Pro accounts to all users[4].

Software and features

Originally conceived as a pure wiki, the Wikidot engine today has become more than just a web application framework. It provides page templating, so that the appearance of pages can be changed in one place. It provides page processing (the ListPages module) so that users can create summaries, graphs, lists, and reports. It provides data forms, so that pages can be edited as structured data (and not as a wiki at all). Some of the applications that Wikidot users have recently built are: calendars, chatrooms, issue trackers, blogs, and even mediawiki emulations.

Wikidot.com supports unlimited pages and users[5]. Users can apply SSL encryption, map their wiki to an existing domain (other than wikidot.com), customize privacy settings, assign roles, and interact in wiki-specific forums. A wiki can easily be enriched with content from Flickr, YouTube and other sites by embedding features[6].

Wikidot.com uses a custom wiki engine, that has been released as free software under the terms of the Affero General Public License[7]. The software is written in PHP and is notable for doing extensive caching to reduce database accesses. The Wikidot software runs Wikidot.com. Wikidot.org appears to be the only FOSS wikifarm software and a number of competing wikifarm services use it, such as Wikicomplete.info[8].

Wikidot uses an open source modified Text Wiki engine. Each site gets a subdomain on .wikidot.com (like mywiki.wikidot.com). Site owners can also map custom domains[5] (like mywiki.com - if previously registered by the wiki owner). There is also a list of subdomains registered by Wikidot for users, which provides an alternate wiki URL without requiring the user to buy a domain name beforehand[9]. One can optionally allow Wikidot to display ads on their wiki and get 80% of revenue[5][10]. Other possibilities are RSS import/export[5], private RSS feeds for Users (notifications and watched items), RSS for page changes and forum, customizable themes which also can be styled by adjusting CSS[5], advanced forum for each Site, custom page hierarchies, powerful search engine, advanced page (full/section/append) edit locking, blocking users and IP addresses. Users can send each other personal messages. Wikidot uses an Ajax user-interface. There are no limits on site size. There are embedable widgets (such as YouTube, Google Video, Flickr, Meebo etc.)

Until December 17th 2008, Wikidot offered only a free service and, unlike other free wiki hosts, it had no advertising or premium service[11]. On December 17th 2008 Wikidot introduced premium accounts[4]. There are three types of premium accounts: Pro-Lite, Pro and Pro+. The difference is in price and quantity of pro features offered[12][13].

Both free and pro accounts can have open, closed or private wikis. Open and Closed wikis are visible to everyone on the Internet, with Open wikis available for any registered Wikidot member to join, and Closed wikis having restricted membership rules. Private wikis are only visible to members and Wikidot users added to the site's extra access list.

The service supports advanced editing, tag clouds, a flexible permission system, custom themes, and the ability to generate revenue through Google AdSense [10] which are not obligatory for free sites[5].

Advantages

Wikidot has a clean user interface that is easy to learn and use. For experienced wiki users, Wikidot is powerful and easy to use. Private wikis are a much appreciated feature: more than 40% of created sites are private[14].

Criticisms

Wikidot has been criticised for being too complex for beginners. It does not have a WYSIWYG editor and the wiki syntax is incompatible with other wiki syntaxes. Storage space for free accounts is limited, and free sites still show text advertisements in some cases. Its permissions model is too simple for advanced users. Development of the product goes slowly and a long list of user feature requests is pending[15]. Also, it does not provide a proper multilingual model, currently working only in English and Polish.

Main Features

  • Each site gets its own subdomain on wikidot.com
  • Flexible permission system suitable for both public and private wikis
  • Customizable themes to create a unique look and feel[10]
  • Numerous widgets available to embed in the wiki[10]
  • Generate revenue through Google AdSense[10]
  • Extensive documentation, and an active community support forum

Wikidot community

Wikidot expert users have worked together to build large parts of the service. Initially, this was a community site[16] (for supporting new users and discussing solutions), a snippets site[17] (for reusable pieces of code), and a multilingual handbook[18]. At present, there are German, English, Spanish, Italian, French, Turkish, Japanese, Dutch, Polish, Chinese, Indonesian and Portugese Handbooks.

Today, the Wikidot user community also makes themes[19], packages[20], dashboards, roadmaps, site templates[21], and reusable applications. In October 2009 Wikidot launched a competition for a new user-designed home page[22]. In many respects Wikidot.com can be considered an "open source service" as these reusable building blocks are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License. New features can be requested using the Wishlist[23].

Each user has karma, which is an indicator of that user's activity, engagement and experience. The highest karma level indicates that a user is experienced with the Wikidot syntax and is active in the community, and is considered to be a Wikidot Guru[24].

References

External links

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