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February 15, 2005 / jnolen

JotSpot @ DEMO

JotSpot is presenting at DEMO this week. I worked on a DEMO demo a couple of years ago. I didn't have to give the presentation, but I remember how nerve-wracking it was for everyone involved. I also remember how completely insane were the two weeks leading up to the presentation (which was on February 8th: a deadline burned in my memory forever). We were coding around the clock to finish our app in time. Man, that was fun.

In conjunction with their moment in the spotlight, Jot* has announced a handful of new features via a press release on their website. Unfortunately, the new features aren't available to the beta accounts yet, but they promise them "over the next few weeks."

JotSpot’s coolest addition seems to be the ability for users to “turn Excel and Word documents into Web-based applications on their wiki.” I’ve had lots of folks at my company trying to get their Word documents into our wiki, with varying degrees of success. This Word-to-Confluence script has worked in some cases. And David wrote a rudimentary Excel-to-Confluence converter (which he should really add to the Atlassian wiki). But it still remains a challenging task for many people.

And there is really is a limit to what can be converted. Trying to convert three-hundred-page specification documents just crashed my colleagues’ computers. And besides, a three-hundred-page wiki page is hardly more useful than a three-hundred-page Word document. Eventually, we just gave up on the longer and more complicated Word docs and attached them as binaries. That at least gave us a central, versioned repository for documents — definitely a step in the right direction.

My colleagues seem to be adapting to the new wiki-paradigm. They’re learning to start writing in the wiki rather than in Word and then attempting to import. But anything we can do to make their lives easier (including wysywig editing, or allowing them to write with Word and later move into the wiki) would make adoption more likely.

* Is it proper to refer to them as “Jot?” That’s their domainname. And all of the emails at I don’t know.

One Comment

  1. Scott McMullan (JotSpot) / Feb 15 2005 6:50 am

    Hi Jonathan,
    I can say I now know what you mean about the efforts prepping for DEMO. We’ve been prepping pretty heavily for a couple of weeks, and despite all our practice, I still somehow muffed one of the pastes from my “Clipomatic” multi paste buffer tool during today’s demo. Joe covered me nicely and all was well in the end! We’re super excited about the new Excel->app features. It’s automating what everyone asks us to do already. We’ll have to see about those 300 page Word docs… Any thoughts appreciated.
    -Scott McMullan
    scott at
    ps. Yeah, “Jot” is definitely good by us. It’s what we say around the office…

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