Saturday February 16, 2008

TWiki Community Summit and Meetup


On Thursday and Friday, Feb 14/15, I attended the TWiki Community Summit in Sunnyvale, CA. The location and and wireless internet access for the meeting were provided by Yahoo!. The Summit meetings were followed, on Friday night, by an open TWiki User Meetup.

TWiki Community Summits are organized for TWiki Community members, e.g. core developers, extension developers, doc writers, marketeers and supporters of the TWiki ecosystem in general. Building on the success of the first Summit, held in Rome in August 2007, TWiki community members decided to hold a Summit meeting every six months.


TWiki is a structured wiki engine. While there are many wiki implementations available, few of those are structured wikis. (I did not realize this until last October. I simply got lucky with my first choice of wiki installation. :-)
Wikis are typically used as shared whiteboards that allows users to add, remove, or otherwise edit all content very quickly and easily. The ease of interaction and operation makes a plain wiki an effective tool for collaborative writing and to share knowledge.
A structured wiki combines the benefits of the seemingly contradicting worlds of plain wikis and database systems. This gives you a collaborative database environment where knowledge can be shared freely, and where structure can be added as needed. In a structured wiki, users can create wiki applications that are very specific to their needs, such as call center status boards, to-do lists, inventory systems, employee handbooks, bug trackers, blog applications and more.

Structured wiki -- From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I have been using TWiki since the spring of 2002 (or earlier; our records only go back that far). TWiki was the first wiki software I used. I joined a year later.

I helped build and promote the use of TWiki at my previous job and I use TWiki constantly in my current job. Thus, when I had the chance to sit in on two days of discussions and planning for the future of TWiki, I took advantage of the opportunity.

Goals of the Community Summit Meetings

The goals of the TWiki Community Summit were outlined at the Rome meeting: The overall goal was to have lots of face-to-face time to get to know each other more, and to develop an agreed on roadmap. Pulling on the same string is strengthening the TWiki Community and the TWiki platform.
  • Set a joint strategic direction for future of TWiki.
  • Define the release themes for TWiki 5.0
  • Inspire more energy in community's software development
  • Define a TWiki marketing strategy, and get community support for TWiki PR and blogging
  • Initiate more community working groups (Doc, User, etc.)
  • Get new TWikiApplications developed
  • Last but not least, let's have fun!

The Sunnyvale Summit

14 people attended at least part of the Sunnyvale Summit, either in person or via conference call and IRC. It was clearly noted that the purpose of the Summit is to brainstorm ideas and strategy, not to make any "final" decisions.

The agenda of the two-day Sunnyvale Summit covered.

  • Introductions
  • TWiki Business Model, Governance, and the Decision Making Process. Who are the "teams"" inside the TWiki Community? (The "core" team needs to be renamed and re-evaluated.)
  • TWiki Strategy Question: "in 30 seconds - where do you want TWiki to move the next two years?"
  • Scalability and Performance - brainstorming ideas for supporting larger sites and faster searches
  • Recruiting and Retention of Community Members - users, code developers, plugin developers, consultants, and others
  • Roadmap and Release focus of Georgetown Release (aka TWiki 5.0)
  • Marketing (Generating Buzz) : How can we get more exposure in the press and blogosphere?

Minutes of the meeting are online at Codev.TWikiCommunitySummit2008Q1.

Brain Full

The User Meetup

Following the Summit, we had the second Silicon Valley TWiki User Meetup (also held on the Yahoo! campus). Approximately 35 TWiki users and interested parties convened to eat pizza and learn more about TWiki.

Five people gave short presentations, either of sites they've implemented in TWiki or projects they would like to see implemented. There was time before and after the presentations for networking and general discussion.

My Brain is Full

From my point of view, the Summit provided a valuable opportunity to meet more members of the TWiki community — face to face or voice to voice — and to discuss strategy and direction for the TWIki project. There was a lot of discussion, a small amount of shouting, and many ideas tossed back and forth. I took pages of notes for later contemplation. I'm feeling a bit like the student in Gary Larsen's Far Side cartoon (right), but I'm pleased to have had the opportunity to attend and to add my thoughts to the mix.

TWiki Community Summit and Meetup ( in category Trivial Pursuits , WebTech ) - posted at Sat, 16 Feb, 23:33 Pacific | «e»

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