Socialtext 5.0 Boosts Content Editor, Adds Social Radar - InformationWeek

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9/28/2011
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Socialtext 5.0 Boosts Content Editor, Adds Social Radar

Social software update makes it easier to post, share, and make connections within the enterprise.

Socialtext 5.0, the latest version of the enterprise social software, improves content posting and editing and introduces a new option for contact recommendations called Social Radar.

Socialtext announced the update Wednesday and expects to make the platform update available within a week, with Social Radar to follow within a month.

In an interview prior to the announcement, Socialtext CEO Eugene Lee said the updated editor is important because it encompasses a wider variety of content and modes of working. Socialtext started out as a vendor of wiki software for the enterprise, and previously offered a rich text editor for wiki editing. A wiki is a simple group content management tool for linked Web documents. The first wikis were built around a subset of HTML tags, mixed with special tags used for adding pages and links between pages known generically as WikiText. Providing a rich text editor helped broaden the audience for wikis beyond those users who are comfortable with coding, but that is no longer enough, he said.

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"The social software category is now much bigger than pure wikis," Lee said. "It's now much more mainstream than the very early adopters of something like a wiki." Besides broadening the uses of the editor to content besides wikis, the new editor adds better control over fonts, font colors, and provides other formatting capabilities people are used to seeing in a word processor.

Atlassian made a similar announcement recently about updating its Confluence social software, which is also wiki based.

Socialtext 5.0 also includes a new theme selector to make it easier to customize the branding and styling of a site, as well as a new page creator and page tracker feature that makes it easier to track page updates. Socialtext said the page-tracking feature could be particularly useful for applications such as project management.

Social Radar is a new contact recommendation engine based on a partnership with introNetworks. Socialtext had announced the partnership with introNetworks in June, at the Enterprise 2.0 conference, a UBM TechWeb event. Social Radar adds a graphical display of potential connections to the Socialtext dashboard, showing other employees with similar interests or engaged in similar activities as blips on the radar screen.

Lee said one of Socialtext's design principles is "people finding people through content and people finding content through people." In addition to Social Radar, many of the other user interface changes in Socialtext 5.0 are aimed at making that kind of discovery possible, he said.

Socialtext is sold as software as a service, with an option for on-premises installation as an appliance or VMware virtual appliance that gets automatic updates from Socialtext's cloud service.

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