JotSpot Live – The Perfect Wiki?

Company: JotSpot Live
Launched: September 27, 2005
Blog: JotSpot Live blog
Location: Palo Alto, CA

JotSpot Live, a JotSpot company, launched today. They’ve created an awesome wiki tool that solves at least two common wiki problems – the specialized markup language and multiple simultaneous users.

I love wikis. We have one. They are perfect for group collaboration.

But wiki code is different from everything else and while it isn’t difficult, it’s silly to have to use it (note Social Text’s wikiwyg, however, which is a nice wysiwyg editor for wikis). And only one person can edit text at any one time.

Jotspot Live solves both of these problems. It also doesn’t require any server software. It’s a dead simple wiki application. With a few feature additions (like link and image support) it will be good enough for most people to use.

It’s built with Ruby on Rails and uses Ajax to allow dragging and dropping of text around the screen. Add users by adding their email address. The wiki has presence functionality, meaning it shows you who is live on the page at any time. Multiple users can edit text simultaneously.

Abe Fettig, who is one of the people who built JotSpot Live, writes this about it:

I’ve been working on a project at JotSpot that is so incredibly cool, I get excited every time I think about it. It’s called JotSpot Live.

JotSpot Live is a real-time wiki interface that allows multiple users to edit the same page at the same time. Calling it “SubEthaEdit for the web” is an oversimplification, but that’s probably the quickest way to wrap your head around the concept. Unlike SubEthaEdit, JotSpot Live doesn’t require any special client software: it’s a web application that runs in Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Safari, using nothing but HTML, script, and CSS.

It’s not perfect. Brian Benzinger (who also writes about JotSpot Live here) and I are editing a page right now and he’s found a bug that occurs when two users simultaneously edit text. We also noticed that if one person logs off and then back on, two separate versions of the wiki page seem to run and each person only sees themself as “present”.

Other problems: Slow load time, no image support, it doesn’t tell you who written or edited text, there is no page delete function and you can’t uninvite people once they are added.

However, all of these bugs/feature adds are easily fixed.

Fred Oliveira (TechCrunch editor) wrote a post on webreakstuff about problems with wikis and collaborative software in general in July 2005. He identified many of the problems that JotSpot Live addresses.


Free for up to five wiki pages per month. Includes advertising.

$5/month for up to 15 pages per month. No ads.

$20/month for unlimited pages. No ads.

There are no restrictions on functionality or number of users.


Joe Kraus, co-founder and CEO
Graham Spencer, co-founder and CTO
Ben Lutch, Vice President, Operations
Ken Norton, Vice President, Products

Additional Reading

Ben Barren, Paul Kedrosky, Reg Cheramy, Media Guerilla