Monthly Archives: January 2007

Wiki Comparison

wiki picTroy Angrignon of Business Objects compared Confluence, Jotspot, Socialtext, and Wetpaint back in July and this week updated his blog mentioning that we’re releasing a hosted version. He drew commentary from Zoli Erdos and others, and I chimed in as well.

Troy revealed that Business Objects selected Confluence and standardized on it as their enterprise wiki. The wiki can be quite complementary to enterprise software such as business intelligence and content management, to name just two categories. Software vendors can fall into the trap of viewing wikis as this rogue sandbox, when in fact, it is a logicial extension of what they already sell.

I agree with much of Troy’s criticism of Confluence and the need for wikis to improve their usability. UI matters, and we need to give this some priority, now that our enterprise features — search, security, plugin library, refactoring, etc. — get good reviews from customers.

Second Life Open Source Project Selects JIRA

sl logoAlthough I leave Atlassian product announcements to our news blog, I can’t help myself this time. Besides, I just sat through the Greatest Self-Promoter in the World, Steve Jobs today giving his Macworld address. Okay, this isn’t an iPhone, people, but I would suggest Second Life is pretty cool.

Linden Lab announced yesterday that their popular virtual world Second Life will join the open source software community. The Viewer application – a freely-downloadable program used to access and interact with the game world – is now available for third-party developers.

Atlassian is excited to have Linden Lab select Atlassian JIRA for bug and issue tracking for this project. No surprise actually as Linden Lab CEO, Philip Rosedale, reported in a case study published last year, “Now, on your first day of work at Linden Lab you’re given your login, your JIRA login, and your first task, which is to log into JIRA.” The full case study is here.

Our wiki Confluence often hogs the cooler news, but interestingly, Linden Lab’s use of JIRA internally for managing all aspects of their business — not just software projects — is the most innovative use of any Atlassian product by any customer IMHO.

Zoli: In the House

Zoli in the house
Our friend Zoli Erdos, of Zoli’s Blog fame, visited us yesterday in the Atlassian San francisco office. We talked about wikis, our enterprise wiki Confluence, Web and Office 2.0, and of course the meaning of life. We got to know Zoli at Office 2.0, when Atlassian founder Mike Cannon-Brookes hosted Zoli and the Enterprise Irregulars for dinner. That’s me, Zoli, and Jonathan Nolen, who leads Atlassian’s developers network.

Yelp: What is Hip?

yelp logoThis year I plan on writing about interesting social software and social networking, and Yelp is my first target.

I really like it. It comes down to two things: a well-designed review site is a great idea, and Yelp is very nicely laid out. It proves once again that being first or biggest in a category does not necessarily mean you can’t have your ass whipped by a better idea. Not that Yelp has whipped anyone’s behind yet. But if I were Citysearch, I would pay attention. (Disclosure: a close friend recently became Yelp’s VP Marketing).

Yelp’s thoughtfulness in the web experience becomes evident if you spend time on Tripadvisor or Citysearch. I am a Tripadvisor user, I really want them to succeed, but the mix of advertising, search, and content is poor. The valuable content on Tripadvisor shows communities will form around reviews, yet Tripadvisor’s execution is flawed. Citysearch has become a de facto yellow pages, but the reviews have lost any meaning. More important, Citysearch has no character that might truly engage a visitor.

Yelp, however, is employing some social networking tricks starting with your own url, friends, various types of ‘pokes’ (That’s a Facebook term) or ways to touch others, and even creating personal lists like “Wineries” (OK I live in California) or “Cheap Restaurants” or about anything you like. In fact, it can get rather nutty when someone reviews “Boyfriends”. And that edge to Yelp is the beauty of it. Yelp certainly has some grip on what is hip.


There are things I don’t like. Primarily it’s annoying viral marketing tactics. When you join, you are urged to invite a bunch of friends. While social networks are about connections, I may not want this right away, and I may find this intrusive. I also dislike being asked every time I do a review who I want to send it to. These features should be available and off to the side.

Yelp is so well laid out I could even see us at Atlassian learning from what they have done on the personal page in creating an eye-catching template for a personal wiki page on our Confluence enterprise wiki. That may get some of our killer engineering team excited, but looks matter. Even in enterprise software.

What does Yelp need to worry about? #1 How to make money without pissing off the community? I am not privvy to their numbers, but it fairly safe to say they have a road ahead of them. There’s the You-Tube-It-Doesn’t-Matter business model, but that’s risky particularly the longer this bubble lasts. #2 Not becoming a pile of doo-doo reviews where everything adds up to 4 stars in a happy eBay-review kind of way. But Yelp has a ‘social networking’ pony in the barn to address this. What if I could filter to just my friends’ or respected favorites’ reviews? Then things could get very cool.