The Standards Blog

Sourceforge + Wikipedia = Swik

Open Source/Open Standards

The latest entry into the "now that's really cool" department (or at least my RC department) is a new, free service announced by SouceLabs, a VC backed service provider for open source software. That service is called "Swik." How cool is Swik? Very cool indeed.

The latest entry into the "now that's really cool" department (or at least my RC department) is a new, free service announced by SouceLabs, a VC backed service provider for open source software. That service is called "Swik," which I learned about from an eWeek.com article, which in turn came my way via Robin Cover's invaluable XML.org Daily News Link (subscribe at http://www.oasis-open.org/mlmanage/). As described at the Swik "About" page, Swik is:

 A project to create a useful free-content directory for open source software. Swik was inspired by the wiki concept used by projects like Wikipedia and WikiWikiWeb. Anyone can edit Swik project pages, including you.

The eWeek article does a better job than the Swik page describing what it's all about, quoting SourceLab Board Director and VC investor Brad Silverberg's: "It's primarily for developers and end users to find out about all the different open-source projects, including documentation, download sites, reviews, descriptions, tips, tricks, all that kind of stuff." But Silverberg goes on to explain that "it's built using RSS technology, so that if you enter a project that's not already in its database it goes out and it automatically searches and builds information or an entry for that database from existing syndication feeds and populates that database....When [I first saw a demo], the database was still pretty sparse, so we sat there and entered some project names, and Swik started to fill itself out automatically."

Fill itself out as in, "How cool is that?"

Swik is built on a technology platform that has been developed to enable the kind of "SuperIntegration/Creation" that I wrote about in the June issue of the Consortium Standards Bulletin in the trends piece, The Web and the Advent of "SuperIntegration/Creation" That process is one that brings together a potentially infinite number of people from all over the world to create new knowledge (there's a lot more, but you can find that in the article).

When I read about new communities/platforms like these, I realize that we are fortunate to live in very cool times indeed. Not only do bright and creative technical people come up with new technologies (a/k/a the Internet and the Web), but those technologies enable other types of bright and creative people to come up with new concepts (such as Wikis, new political action strategies and Open Source), which in turn inspire other bright and creative people to come up with new platforms (legal as well as technical - the Swik community site is under a Creative Commons license) to enable yet another wave of conceptualization, and so on, into the future.

The best innovation years of the Internet and the Web are hardly behind us -- they're just beginning, as creative expression of every type begins to take full advantage of what this new global infrastructure of technical platforms and billions of potential participants can make possible.

And that, I would submit, is really very cool indeed.