Mourning the loss of Dekiwiki

In 2007 I implemented Mindtouch Dekiwiki as an internal website. I was excited by the quality of the product, the extensibility, and most importantly the active community and developer interaction.

As Mindtouch grew, they incorporated more excellent features, and were very open about the direction of the product. The developer site contained a wealth of information about release schedules, change logs and tutorials for the product. I found myself interacting with the community regularly, posting information on how to do certain things, answering questions on the forums and filing bugs. I was encouraged that employees of Mindtouch were directly interacting with the community on a daily basis.

I don’t think the company that produced that product exists any longer. It’s been replaced by a buzzword-spewing, no-face entity who hides real information about their product behind flowery text and email signup forms. I lose a lot of interest when companies make it difficult to gather information about their product, and If you take a look at mindtouch.com you’ll find they’re one of the worst offenders. There is only a single line or two on the main page describing what the company is all about, and the product page itself is still undergoing an identity crisis with names such as Mindtouch TCS, Social Help System and just plain Mindtouch in most of the descriptions.

There is actually very little information about the product, no demo site or feature comparisions, no cost information or even licensing models. What videos there are, are hidden behind email sign-ups. As a company marketing it’s product, if you feel the need to hide what you’ve built behind a sign-up wall, you immediately make everyone who comes across it distrustful. Are they not confident enough to proudly show it off? Are they worried that the licensing model will scare people away?

The developer site is effectively dead, and so is Mindtouch Core, the open source edition of what once was Deki Wiki. Most frustrating of all is that Mindtouch Core (the open source derivative of Mindtouch) is no where to be found. Its basically impossible to find it now, which is sad considering that I remember the owners and developers passionate exclamations a few years ago that the product started as open source, would always remain open source and that it’s community would always be vital.

To be clear, I can’t really blame the leaders of Mindtouch for moving in this direction. One look at their customer list and you can see it’s a profitable transition. However I can’t help but be disappointed and a little bit betrayed. To see the excitement of the developers and of the users who are adding to the product is one thing that makes it very attractive. It tells me that the product is good enough to make people talk about it and invest time into it.

Dekiwiki, I’ll remember you fondly as I go looking for your replacement.

 

 

7 thoughts on “Mourning the loss of Dekiwiki

  1. I too have been a Dekiwiki user for many years, and I have been watching it die a slow death. It met our needs in so many ways, but now I struggle to justify why we still use it.

    I’ve even looked briefly what it would take to extract our data and migrate, but I didn’t find anything easy.

    I look forward to hearing what you find for a replacement.

  2. I’ve been using dekiwiki for the past 4 years and just upgraded our production server to Mindtouch Core 10.1.4….didn’t have any issues. Granted we don’t use for much more than a knowledge base and document repository, but it performs flawlessly and fast on minimal hardware. I don’t deal with Mindtouch support or their website much, but I would be curious to hear about what exactly caused you to ditch it, seems okay to me.

    1. Henry, we’re still using Dekiwiki and while I mentioned finding a replacement, it’s not high priority project so I haven’t seen what is comparable.

      However my dissatisfaction with the product is less about the features and more of the direction of the product as I outlined in my post. Its a dead end, with no future and that is incredibly disappointing.

      How many products last in your environment when it has no development or community surrounding it?

  3. I had noticed the slow down in the community recently and yesterday I requested how to get licensing to activate SSO with active directory. The response was they only have their SaaS model now and no longer support Core. Though there was a recent maintenance release, I’m begging to think that will soon die off as well.

    It was a great product while it lasted and I hope something will fill the soon to be void. Until then we are still running with what we have.

    1. Zeuth, I’m still using Mindtouch Core, unchanged from when I wrote this post. My company was acquired in September 2013, and the intention is to eventually move everything over to Sharepoint.

      I’ll lost a large amount of flexibility and add-ins, but at least then I won’t have to manage the wiki.

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