[xwiki-devs] Back to the future of XWiki !

Caleb James DeLisle calebdelisle at lavabit.com
Mon Mar 7 02:28:06 UTC 2011


Hello Ludovic and all,

Although I am setting aside weekends for cjdns, I've been following this discussion quite closely.

On 03/04/2011 03:27 PM, Ludovic Dubost wrote:
> 
> Hi Andreas,
> 
> Thanks for your email. This is actually good material and we need more of it.
> 
> As Jerome pointed out, I never said in my email I would go back to development.
> My objective is too involve myself in the "product definition" which means making a better product
> which fits more the market needs.
> I believe it has the objective to help us get XWiki less a "niche" product and making it more
> mainstream.

I think there is risk in moving away from the niche. The internet is a big place (getting bigger
every day) but everyone can be the best at something. To try to be more general will mean competing
with more niche players in more niches all of whom are presumably the best at doing what they do.

I think we should spend more time defining the niche where we are the best in the world, defining
the exact demographic to whom we appeal, and making the it easier for them to find xwiki, install
it, and get something presentable.

> 
> If it means that we need to work on packaged distribution let's do it. If it means working on
> distribution this goes beyond "Product Marketing", though I'm also interested into that.
> I'm also getting more involved in XWiki SAS marketing and while we have spend the XWiki SAS
> marketing efforts more into showing a 'professional' face to potential customers, we plan to invest
> more time in open source marketing. As Vincent points outs this is also a collective effort as there
> is nobody better than our committers to get XWiki known in the tech world.
> 
> I think we also need to clearly define out target.

+1

> You mention "wordpress" but even if we can do
> some things that wordpress is used for, this is not what we are good at, and wordpress does not do
> what XWiki does.

Wordpress is the best at being wordpress, xwiki is the best at being xwiki. If we try to be all
things to all people, we will disappoint everyone.

> As Jerome pointed out, XWiki is about "collaboration". That's our market. That's what XWiki is good
> at. It's not any kind of collaboration, as XWiki's way of collaboration is different than what
> people have been used to.
> 
> If we try to compare our "reach" with CMSs we will always loose, since these tools build public web
> sites and this automatically extend their reach.
> 
> I think we need to focus on making XWiki known to people interested in collaboration, interested in
> bringing their organization to that type of collaboration.
> It's a collaboration that is:
> 
> - social
> - a mix of unstructured and structured
> - flexible
> 
> Making XWiki more known for that requires both more "distribution" and "communication" as you
> mentionned, but I also believes it requires more work on our end on XWiki itself.
> Not more work to start a "feature" frenzy, but to improve XWiki to more democratize it, simplify it
> for newcomers, making it's powerfull features more accessible to newcomers.

+1 we have so many features, IMO we are better off improving and polishing the existing features and
bragging about them more.

> 
> For example, one of the most powerfull feature of XWiki since day 1, is it's internal Class/Object
> system which allows to create new data structures from the web. Unfortunately this feature requires
> a too steep learning curve.

This is indeed at the heart of what defines us. I'm not sure the learning curve is too steep but
perhaps we are not explaining it correctly or are explaining it to the wrong audience.

> "App Within Minute" is not a NEW feature. It's the Class/Object system XWiki should always have had.
> 
> Another example, "Dashboards". Dashboards is not a completely NEW feature. It's THE "modern" way of
> configuring a home page for basic users.
> 
> I know we have plenty of "quality" refinements to do in XWiki, but we also have plenty of
> refinements to do that will complete XWiki for it's "purpose", and for what it's differentiated from
> other tools.
> 
> I'm very open to discuss more what we can do both in the product and in distribution and
> communication to make XWiki more popular and widespread.
> You mentionned I was talking only about "features", and I supposed you refer to the "feature"
> survey. Actually the current "feature survey" did include "VM" distribution.
> So maybe we should extend the "feature survey" into an "effort survey", to actually discuss what we
> should spend our effort on for XWiki.
> 
> So if you or others have ideas on what we should spend our effort on, please bring them on.

I think we need to start from the questions:
1. What makes xe different from mediawiki or twiki or confluence? I know that xe distinguishes
itself from mediawiki because it is easier to install. People have java installed and they don't
want to monkey around with php.

Something which I have thought would be nice is a template to walk users through the installation
process so they need only drop the .war file on the disk and be walked through the rest of the
installation process.

2. What makes platform different from php or python with pylons and why should my project be based
on platform? I think this question has not gotten enough examination since changes which strengthen
the platform and separate it from xe are not as visible as a change which brings new functionality
to xe.

As core and commons become more complete an interesting exercise would be to try building a small
application such as a bulletin board or a primitive bug tracker without using xwiki-core. A little
project like this accelerate the development of replacements for xwiki-core features and functions
while highlighting code which is in platform but should be in xe. A priority goal of such a project
should be minimal .war file size. At the end we would know a lot more about platform and have a
small easily deployed thing which showcased platform.

Caleb


> 
> Ludovic
> 
> Le 04/03/11 10:48, Andreas Hahn a écrit :
>> Hi,
>>
>> I'm a bit surprised that you are just talking about features and not
>> about moving from a niche product to get more mainstream.
>> When I'm saying niche product I'm just referring to what google trends says.
>> http://www.google.com/trends?q=xwiki%2C+foswiki%2C+twiki%2C+confluence
>>
>> Well I think that almost all people on this mailing list like xwiki a
>> lot and the hard and devoted work the developers are doing and all wish
>> xwiki and its backing company all the best and a long and prosperous future.
>>
>> However I'm concerned when reading that the XWiki SAS 'Product
>> Marketing' lead (and CEO) thinks that it helps the product to get more
>> involved as a developer.
>> IMHO a product marketing lead should have totally different priorities.
>>
>> IMHO its a misconception to think that more features will help the
>> product to attract a greater audience.
>>
>> Just a few things that come to my mind:
>>
>> * Push xwiki into as many linux distros as possible with 'one click
>> installers'
>> * Create ready-to-go images for popular cloud hosters (such as Amazon EC2)
>> * Talk to as much hosters and push them to introduce XWiki as part of
>> their offerings.
>> * Make it simple and attractive for people currently using other
>> software (Wordpress comes to my mind) to move to the more powerful XWiki
>>
>> I may be paranoid but I wonder if we will see XWiki survive the next
>> couple of years if its not gaining momentum in the big world.
>>
>> just my 2 cents
>>
>> Andreas
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>> Am 03.03.2011 14:21, schrieb Ludovic Dubost:
>>> Hi all,
>>>
>>> As many of you may know, 7 years ago, I created the XWiki Open-Source
>>> software.  A few years ago, especially when Vincent arrived, I took a
>>> step back from development of the XWiki product to focus on
>>> developping XWiki SAS which allows to support the XWiki development.
>>> I've particularly spent my time making sure that the deployments of
>>> XWiki our Customers have been doing are successfull. I've left the
>>> product development work to committers who under the lead of Vincent
>>> have done amazing work in the last few years. We have provided some
>>> product marketing in addition through Guillaume's and lately Gregory's
>>> work which allowed to bring some feedback from users and customers and
>>> also bring a different less technical perspective to the XWiki Product
>>> development. Cati also joined the team and allowed us to make huge
>>> steps forward in product usability and design.
>>>
>>> Now, as XWiki SAS's project implementation team is doing great work on
>>> it's own, I've decided to involve myself more in the future of XWiki's
>>> product. I'm now the new XWiki SAS 'Product Marketing' head which
>>> means I will involve myself in community discussions about the product
>>> features actively developped, investigated for future development as
>>> well as in general discussions about the XWiki Software's future. I
>>> will try to bring the knowledge that XWiki SAS's customer, project
>>> managers, support team bring us from using XWiki in production
>>> environments to the community so that we make better decisions, more
>>> focused on developments that will allow to increase XWiki's success
>>> with end users. At XWiki SAS we have already done a lot of work to
>>> organize this feedback so that we know more things that XWiki SAS's
>>> developers and the XWiki community should work on.
>>>
>>> In the next few weeks you will therefore see me work on the
>>> investigations of future features as well as work more closely with
>>> developers whenever they feel the need on the features they implement
>>> actively. I will also manage the different surveys we have done in the
>>> past to gather feedback from our community. These surveys have still
>>> been running on the xwiki.org web site although they are now quite
>>> outdated. I will propose to review them and launch them again.
>>>
>>> If users or developers have any feedback about XWiki, about what we
>>> should work on in priority, please do send that feedback on the list
>>> (preferably). Although we have a much bigger list of great ideas than
>>> what we currently can achieve, you can help us on helping us select
>>> the most important ones that will make a difference.
>>>
>>> I would like to use this occasion to thank our great community of
>>> developers and users who help the committers every day to make XWiki
>>> better. We could not do this without all the suggestions, ideas,
>>> patches that our community provides.
>>>
>>> Thanks
>>> Ludovic
>>>
>>>
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> devs mailing list
>>> devs at xwiki.org
>>> http://lists.xwiki.org/mailman/listinfo/devs
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