XWiki Year In Review 2012

Apr 02 2013

It's been a long time since I last wrote about XWiki SAS' and the XWiki project's achievement, back in 2009, although I have written more recently about the XWiki SAS company and its motivations.

It has been quite a ride. During this time, XWiki has become a grown-up and independent small business and we are very proud of it. 

Since 2009, XWiki has been profitable every year, while growing steadily with no external investment and improving our product and services. We're still maintaining all our software Open-Source and keeping an Open Development process. 

Product and extensions

On the product side, since 2009 we have been able to continue improving our product, allowing the "best" Open Source wiki engine to extend its use cases beyond the simple wiki principle. Since XWiki 2.0, we have released 18 major versions of XWiki Enterprise and XWiki Enterprise Manager, which have all brought their load of innovations:

  • XWiki 2.x cycle
    • Many user interface improvements with the Color Theme Editor, new Profile UI, new Search UI
    • The new Annotations feature
    • The Activity Stream
    • Invitations
    • New Template based creation
    • Clustering
    • Preview of Office documents
  • XWiki 3.x cycle
    • Application With Minutes allowing easy application development
    • Extension Manager to install and update applications available on our extension repository
    • Workgroup spaces with XWiki Workspaces in XWiki Enteprise Manager
    • Gallery Macro and Office Presentation Viewer
    • Personalized User Dashboards
    • Many user interface improvements with the new Administration UI, Live Searches, New modern color themes
    • XWiki's move to GitHub to make it easier to contribute
  • XWiki 4.x cycle
    • More improvements in AppWithinMinutes
    • More improvements in Extension Manager with the Distribution Wizard allowing to install/upgrade an XWiki installation
    • User Profile customization and User Directory
    • LDAP Administration UI
    • Many user interface improvements like hiding technical information for non-technical users and the Application Panel and new Users and Date pickers
    • Support for templates in XWiki Enterprise Manager Workspaces allowing to create customized workspaces
    • User Interface Extensions allowing to extend the XWiki UI without modifying the XWiki Skin
    • Improvements to the XWiki REST API allowing to create better mobile or desktop clients following XWiki activity
    • Experimental new Search engine based on SOLR

Since 2009, many extensions have been published on our extensions wiki, including applications such as the Forum, FAQ, Meeting app, File Manager, Calendar, etc.

It's a huge number of improvements for XWiki, making it the "best" Open Source wiki even more and allowing XWiki to address more and more enterprise needs. 

XWiki is one of the rare fully Open Source Enterprise Web Applications with an Open development process. The company provides services to Enterprises, supports this Open Source development process and invests heavily in it. At XWiki SAS we believe it's important that we don't have different code in the software that anybody can download, from what we install and support at clients or run on our XWiki SAS Cloud. Since I created the XWiki software, and then at XWiki SAS, we have kept this, guaranteeing our users and clients freedom of choice.

Research and innovation

As part of our research and development effort, XWiki SAS also participates in Collaborative Research Projects funded by French and European public entities. These projects allow to boost the development of the XWiki Software, as well as prepare for the future by allowing us to experiment with new technologies. Since 2009, when we had already worked on a few research projects, we have had the opportunity to participate in multiple very interesting new projects:

  • Wiki 3.0: which allowed us to bring in new features already released in XWiki, like the Dashboard, Annotations, Activity Stream, as well as prepare for the future with the XWiki Real-time editing, which we are continuing to work on.
  • CompatibleOne where we participated to the OpenCloud effort to build more Open-Source and Open-Standards technologies for Cloud Computing, as well as build the XWiki for Cassandra prototype that allows to run XWiki on top of a Cassandra Database. Not all XWiki features are supported and we won't make it our default database soon, but this is probably the most advanced Wiki running on NoSQL.
  • Resilience, which will allow the building of Web Viewers and Editors that can be integrated easily in an open-standard way in Content Management Systems, including of course XWiki, and bring new features to some of the editors, including Real-time editing.
  • Streams and RiscOSS to which we contribute as partners.
  • EESC which will help integrate the XCLAMS platform underlying the Curriki and Sankoré projects with LILI, the leading open-source software for Education Numerical Environments (ENT in French) used by the major French regions.

All these projects allow us to continue to innovate on new technologies.

XWiki's adoption

On the adoption front:

  • XWiki is more and more popular. From a search query that did not yield more than 20 results, the "xwiki" query now has more than a million results on Google.
  • XWiki is a top download on OW2 with 30K downloads per month and has recently reached more than 1 million downloads.
  • Since the launch of the Extension Manager we have been able to see more and more contacts on xwiki.org performing extensions searches on our Extensions Repository, showing more and more active installations.
  • More and more prospects are contacting us with advanced use cases that XWiki can achieve for them, expanding what XWiki's being used for.
  • Multiple companies have been building solutions or providing services on top of the XWiki Platform in France, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Luxembourg and Sweden.

The company: what's new?

Business

We have made great progress on the business front:

  • Since 2009 we have doubled our revenue and for 2013 we are getting close to surpassing the 2 M euros line. 
  • Since the beginning of XWiki we have implemented more than 400 projects for XWiki SAS clients in France, Europe and in the USA.
  • We estimate the business around XWiki from XWiki SAS, all companies building on top of the XWiki platform or companies providing services based on XWiki at over 10 M euros, more than doubled since 2009.
  • In 2012, we have been able to convince more companies that our solution is the right choice, even when compared to the number one proprietary software vendor and when the scope of work was large. Our expertise in information sharing, as well as the collaboration and the power of the XWiki Platform helped convince them.

XWiki SAS team

On the team side:

  • In 2011 we have moved our employees in Iasi, Romania to a new office, "The XWiki House", tripling our office space. In 2012 we moved our Paris office to a great building next to the Beaubourg Pompidou Center, more than doubling our office space.
  • Since 2009 we have expanded our annual seminar to 10 days. After organizing the 2009 seminar in Paris and the 2010 one in our Iasi office, we did the 2011 sessions in a great hotel in Bran, next to Dracula's Castle and the 2012 seminar in the Danube Delta. Our annual seminar has become a very important gathering of our teams from Paris and Iasi, as well as our remote workers, allowing us to set the course for the next year.
  • Since 2009 we have expanded our teams and provided more benefits to our employees, as we grew from a promising "startup" to a stable company.

XWiki's uses

XWiki's main use case is Enterprise software, allowing users to better organize and collaborate on information. There are many many companies, and a large portion of which we don't know, that use XWiki and we have implemented many projects and provided support for a large number of companies for this use case. XWiki is also used outside of Enterprises and particularly for Education.

We have been very proud to be able to work for both Curriki and Sankore, helping building Curriki and Planète Sankoré, two US and French projects which aim to facilitate the sharing, organization and collaboration on Educational Resources. In Sankoré in particular it is now possible to share the content of a class created with the Open Sankore Digital Whiteboard software with just a few clicks. 

We have also been proud to be able to help organizations such as CDLSWorld, the Community Legal Clinic, Transparency International, all international projects that help improve our society. ONGs and Open Source have many common values and goals when it comes to sharing code, knowledge or contribute to our society. These projects are of course not high revenue projects, but it is exciting for a company like ours located in Paris, France and Romania to be able to work with organizations anywhere in the world and help them achieve their goals.

In 2013

We start 2013 with a very busy first quarter, after just having sold our best quarter ever and with a very heavy workload planned for the next 4 months. This will also be a very busy sales quarter as we renew many support and hosting contracts at the beginning of the year. We are working hard on very exciting projects and continuing to improve the XWiki Products with the start of the 5.x cycle, which will bring exciting new things and many improvements that will make XWiki even easier to use. 

As the creator of the XWiki Software, I've been spending less time on the XWiki code since 2009, which I have left to Vincent Massol, our CTO, and to our committers. I'm very proud of their work since 2009 and I'm very grateful to both the XWiki SAS employees and our contributors for the energy they have put into improving XWiki. I've been spending more of my time making sure XWiki SAS sustains itself, as well as promoting XWiki and XWiki SAS' services, as I believe this is very important for XWiki's adoption and the ability to fund its development. I'm very proud of the progress we have made and of the work of our Sales, Marketing, Platform, Support and Client teams who are working hard to promote XWiki, sell our services and deliver these services to our clients.

What makes me even happier, is that we have been able to build all this with the help of our customers, partners and community, while staying faithful to our open model and to our Manifesto.

I look forward to continuing these great efforts in 2013 with the help of our community, our clients and our partners.

Ludovic Dubost
Creator of XWiki and Founder and CEO of XWiki SAS