Long-time techheads recognize Bricklin as the co-inventor of VisiCalc, the first spreadsheet program for PCs. More recently, Bricklin has been developing wikiCalc, an open-source, web-based group spreadsheet utility.
Under the terms of the partnership, Socialtext will have exclusive rights to distribute, commercialize and co-develop wikiCalc. Dan will serve a consulting role and may join the Socialtext board (I've put in an inquiry to Ross on this matter).
You can read Ross' and Dan's takes on their respective blogs:
- Ross' take on the Socialtext + wikiCalc partnership
- Dan's take on the Socialtext + wikiCalc partnership
It's somewhat fitting that this news comes out the same week as the Google Spreadsheets mania. According to Ross and Dan, this partnership has been in the works for months (as one would've expected); but the timing of the announcement was commensurate with Dan's release of the public wikiCalc beta.
In simple terms, a fully functional wiki-powered spreadsheet offers a ton of appeal to a lot of users, myself included. How many times have you worked on a spreadsheet and then emailed to yourself (from work to home and back) or to colleagues for modification. Now imagine having the ability to offer secure access to the same spreadsheet via any browser. Groups can alter (collaborate) on the spreadsheet while maintaining versioning. That's powerful stuff. And unlike Google spreadsheets, the Socialtext/wikiCalc can be hosted on company servers; enterprises don't have to give up control of their data if they don't want to. Socialtext has posted a demo of wikiCalc, check it out here.
I'm looking forward to working with wikiCalc as I continue to test the power of Socialtext's wiki environment. In addition to the public wiki for SAP Sapphire, I've recently started two additional Socialtext wikis that I hope to talk about in the near future. Once again, a hearty congratulations to Ross and his team, and to Dan, as well.
- Michael Arrington agrees that this is more interesting than Google Spreadsheets
- Jeff speaks to the engineering complexity involved in successfully deploying this kind of solution