Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Web 2.0 tools: Deki

In my quest for amazing and useful Web 2.0 tools, I have discovered a new collaboration tool called Deki Express. Designed by MindTouch, Deki Express is the free version of several Deki platforms available. Deki is a "mashup capable wiki", or "an open source enterprise collaboration and community platform." Users can create their own wiki and integrate with other web services like Google, Yahoo!, Windows Live, Flickr, YouTube, and WidgetBox. It is easy to embed content from other websites. MindTouch claims that Deki Express is the "most feature rich wiki available" that "allows you to create, organize, aggregate, and mashup information." It is easy to set up, easy to use, and free, and can be used for many different types of collaboration. Once you login and create your Deki account, you can quickly and easily design your page/s, add content, and invite collaborators. You can also edit the layout and design of your page/s, creating a customized look, and can add all kinds of content. You can attach and share files such as documents, videos, and pictures, and track changes made by users.

To begin using Deki Express, you must register and create an account. Once you're registered and signed in, you can begin to customize your wiki. You can choose a template to create a customized look, with a nice background and a main image in the corner. You can also create multiple pages for your wiki, each with its own title. Next, you can add content by typing in the boxes, or uploading images or files. You can also add extensions, including widgets from other websites. Finally, and most importantly, invite other users! You can specify what permissions to grant to your users, so that they can only view the wiki, or they can act as Admins and modify the wiki, or add and edit content. Deki Express allows to you track the changes users make, so you can restore previous versions if you wish.

There are some similar wiki tools. MediaWiki was originally designed for use on Wikipedia. It looks just like Wikipedia, in terms of design and layout. The website describes MediaWiki as "free server-based software which is licensed under the GNU General Public License (GPL). It's designed to be run on a large server farm for a website that gets millions of hits per day." It is the most popular wiki platform on the web. However, MindTouch Deki has some improvements over MediaWiki, which are too technical for me to understand but apparently they are important to web developers. Another similar tool is Drupal. Drupal is an open-source content management platform, which "supports a variety of websites ranging from personal weblogs to large community-driven websites." Like MediaWiki, Drupal is also free software distributed under GPL, and has a lot of features like MediaWiki and Deki. There are also ways Deki supposedly improves on Drupal.

MindTouch is a San Diego-based company that delivers Web services, distributed computing, service oriented architecture (SOA), Internet infrastructure and open-source development. They have millions of customers, including Microsoft, Fujitsu, Siemens, Gannett, The Washington Post, Intel, U.S. Army, and the Department of Defense.

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