Archive | April, 2009

Plan Your Next Event with PBworks

29 Apr

Mashable has a great little piece on how to plan and promote your next event with social media.  I particularly liked this paragraph:

PBworks: The wiki is an ideal platform for planning events – it’s easy to add notes, edit information, and organize content. Both mediawiki (the software that runs Wikipedia) and PBworks (formerly PBwiki) are good choices, but PBworks has been a favorite of organizers because of its business features, better document-sharing features, and RSS notifications.”

If you have an upcoming event, don’t forget to make PBworks part of it!

You think our name should be….

29 Apr

When we announced last week that we were changing our name from PBwiki, thousands of people took their best guess at our new name. More than a few wondered what could possibly be better than Peanut Butter Wiki and only two people guessed the new name – PBworks. Here are some of the more interesting names you suggested:

Hundreds of food related suggestions:

  • Corndog- Because using our site is as good as meat on a stick.
  • BLT – a bit more sophisticated, but still easy!
  • Dagwood- your wiki offers it all
  • (The new “beefed-up” version)
  • OrderOut – even easier than make a PB&J, and tastier to boot!

Several business focused suggestions:

  • AdeptShare – because PBWiki makes anyone adept at sharing data
  • SynergyPlus
  • Infoshare (easy as pie–)
  • GroupShare

Suggestions that made us laugh

  • If you develop a collaborative motion control interface, you could call it Wiikii.
  • The company formerly know as PBwiki
  • Easier Than Falling Off A Log Wiki
  • And, because it’s the internet, we had two votes for ColbertWiki.

Around the Web with PBworks

28 Apr

Here’s a quick roundup of what the Web has to say about the the new company name and the Legal Edition:

Mashable: “PBwiki Rebrands as PBworks to Target Business Customers
“PBwiki, the popular wiki service targeted towards groups and educational institutions, is making some major changes designed to make it a more appealing product to corporate customers. First, they released PBwiki 2.0 a year ago, which gave it a more professional interface. But now they’ve taken their focus on business to another level by changing their name: PBwiki is now PBworks.”

Future Changes: “PBwiki Becomes PBworks; Launches Edition For Law Firms
“PBwiki, the popular, hosted wiki service is changing its name today to PBworks. The company wrote about the forthcoming change last week, and officially unveiled the PBworks name today.  Chris Yeh, PBworks’ Vice President of Enterprise Marketing, explained the rationale behind the changes in a phone call yesterday. He says the company wanted a name that reflects both the idea that its main product is heavily used at work, and that it contains more than just a wiki. The latter fits with the trend toward Wiki++: software suites with wiki at the core that Bernard Lunn of ReadWriteWeb discussed in December 2008.”

Silicon Valley Business Journal: “PBwiki becomes PBworks
“PBwiki Inc., a provider of hosted collaboration for business and education, said Tuesday it changed its name to PBworks.  The San Mateo-based company said its product line will also be rebranded from PBwiki to PBworks to reflect “how the company has expanded its collaboration solution beyond traditional wiki functionality.”

Knowledge Management Is Communications: “Congratulations PBworks!
“It’s the PERFECT knowledge management tool! Take a bite out of your workload with the new PBworks!”

ComPart Learning Blog: “From PBwiki to PBworks…for us it works!
“In the official blog of PBworks, David Weekly explains that the product his team offers has evolved well beyond the definition of a ‘wiki’. It rather is “an increasingly full-featured hosted collaboration environment, used by tens of thousands of companies around the world to get their work done.”

American Bar Association: “PBwiki Launches Legal Edition (And Changes Its Name)
“PBwiki, provider of the popular collaboration tool of the same name, announced that it was rebranding itself PBworks this morning. The name change is meant to reflect the company’s expanding focus on collaboration technology beyond simple wikis.  Coinciding with the name change was an announcement of more interest to lawyers and legal professionals: the launch of PBworks Legal Edition, a variation of their collaboration tool tailored specifically for the legal profession. The Legal Edition includes features for organizing legal research and managing cases, and also allows firms to set up client extranets, firm intranets, and even electronic deal rooms.”

Strategic Legal Technology: “Launch of PBworks Legal Market Wiki Raises Interesting Application Questions
“PBworks (formerly PBWiki) launched today (28 April 2009) a legal market version of their signature collaborative Wiki. I had a pre-launch demo and it looks very good. The company already has many AmLaw 100 firm users. A private group of large law firm KM professionals in which I am involved happily and successfully used PBWiki to organize a recent meeting.  For any law firm interested in wikis and collaboration, this product is worth considering.”

Webbyist: “PBworks Introduces Legal Edition
“PBworks, formerly known as PBwiki, announced the launch of PBworks Legal Edition, the hosted collaboration suite that responds to the unique business needs of law firms and corporate counsel.”

Technola: “PBwiki Launches Legal Edition
“Today ABA Site-tation reported that the popular wiki solution, PBwiki (now PBworks), has launched a Legal Edition. Specific features for the legal profession include the ability to organize legal research, manage cases, and set up client extranets, deal rooms, and law firm intranets.”

If you blogged about the change, feel free to add your own link in the comments to this post!

PBwiki is now PBworks

27 Apr

The beginning

Back in early 2005, I was helping a number of folks out by setting up private wiki installations on my servers. I got tired of setting each wiki up by hand and had a vision for a simple wiki service that people could set up themselves. In fact, I’d make it as easy to make a wiki as making a peanut butter sandwich. So at 1:00 AM on May 29, 2005, I registered By 8am, I had my first users testing the service, and within 48 hours over 1,000 groups were trying the service out.

Since then, the company has grown from just me to a staff of 29. We received venture capital financing, hired a professional CEO, and totally rewrote and improved the service and interface to be a powerful but approachable collaboration tool for individuals, groups, non-profits, educators, and corporations all around the world. Now we have some 3,000,000 users a month on well over 800,000 workspaces.

Why we’re changing our name

The product has evolved well beyond the definition of a ‘wiki’. What we have now is not just some user-friendly generic wiki; it’s an increasingly full-featured hosted collaboration environment, used by tens of thousands of companies around the world to get their work done. It became clear that ‘wiki’ was caging us in.

We went through a lot of different possible names, some of them dramatically different (Viscade) and some of them adorable but too long (Accordiance) and ones evocative of the wild west (Collabero). But we kept on coming back to the warm fuzzies that PBwiki seemed to give folks and the enthusiastic community built around PBwiki. While we knew we needed to drop ‘wiki’, we ultimately couldn’t find it in ourselves to get rid of the ‘PB’.

Introducing PBworks

After months of deliberation and consideration, we’re proud to introduce PBworks. All of your existing wikis have been magically ported over to thanks to the diligent work of our engineering team. Some things will change, like your URL, but the service still works and costs just the same. You can check out our FAQ on the renaming for more details about how your PBwiki will change.

Thanks for your support

We’re glad to have you with us as we go through this development. As I’ve remarked to many friends, it’s been a joy to watch my company grow and mature from a project I put together in a weekend into a real professional enterprise Software-as-a-Service offering, one akin to watching a child grow up, take its first steps, make its first friends, and go to school.


For those of you curious what that first version of PBwiki looked like, here’s the first version’s front page, thanks to the magic of The Internet Archive.

Much Love & Collaboration,
David E. Weekly
Founder & Chairman, PBworks

Official Announcement – We're changing our name!

21 Apr

When PBwiki launched in 2005, our founder David was excited to build a fast and easy way to create a wiki. He even named the company PBwiki – because starting your own wiki was ‘as easy as making a Peanut Butter sandwich’.

In fact, it’s still easy to use our product, and you can definitely create your own workspace in less time than it takes to make the proverbial PB&J…especially if you have to dig around in the pantry to find the peanut butter.

We spent much of the next few years answering questions like, “What’s a wiki?” and “How can I use one in my school or organization?” But over the past year, we’ve noticed a change. These days, we get far fewer questions about how to use a wiki, and a more questions about specific ways that our collaboration tools can meet specific needs.

We’ve spent so much time talking with users and building features that people asked for –Access Controls, Document Management, Mobile Edition– that it’s become increasingly difficult to claim that we’re just a wiki company.

In fact when we asked our users how they use PBwiki, here’s what they say:

“[PBwiki] proved to be a key resource for our support staff…we centralized the vast organizational knowledge around the implementation in a single place.” – RBC

“We use PBwiki to manage workflow.” – Top Fortune 100 business user

“I use my PBwiki as a better alternative to a course management system” –edwebb

We’ve gone far beyond the traditional concept of wiki functionality, and as a result, the name “PBwiki” doesn’t reflect how we think of ourself – or how our users think of us.

Next month we have some big changes that we will be announcing, and one of them is a new name and logo. Yes folks, the peanut butter sandwich is going into retirement.

Your workspace will remain exactly the same – with the same features and login information. And we will always be an easy-to-use solution that you can depend on, with great free products. But we hope you’re excited about all the additional things we’ll be bringing you.

For more information about about what changes you’ll be seeing, check out our PBwiki FAQ.

Before we say good bye to our Peanut Butter Sandwich, we want to have some fun. Guess our new name, and we’ll send you a soon-to-be vintage PBwiki t-shirt. In fact, you don’t even have to guess correctly! We’ll also give out PBwiki t-shirts to the most creative and interesting suggestions.

Take your best guess here!

The Spirit of Flowerdale

3 Apr

Rebuilding in Flowerdale

You’ve probably heard me focus relentlessly on my core message that PBwiki helps teams become more productive and profitable.  But while my job (VP Enterprise Marketing) requires me to focus on helping paying customer, it is quite wonderful to hear stories about PBwiki making a difference in a non-monetary way.

When devastating wildfires struck Australia and the town of Flowerdale, PBwiki customer Peter Williams of Deloitte Digital wanted to do something about it.  He and other volunteers set about the business of helping the town’s residents rebuild from this terrible disaster, using PBwiki to help coordinate the efforts.

Today, Peter and the other volunteers are helping the town to rebuild.  There is temporary housing for displaced residents, and they’re even holding an Easter egg hunt for the smallest citizens.

We’re proud to be a part of this wonderful effort.  To follow this heart-warming story of generosity, check out the Flowerdale blog.

"Do you support beta browsers?"

3 Apr

When you’re working as hard to optimize a user experience as PBwiki does, beta browsers present a bit of a dilemma.

On the one hand, we want to support as many of our users as possible. On the other hand, it doesn’t make sense for us to do a lot of engineering work to support a browser until we’re pretty sure that its been stabilized.

For the most part, beta browsers will work, but there’s no official guarantee.

For example, we absolutely plan to support Firefox 3.1. But until the beta is set, we’ll probably hold off on making changes…after all, Mozilla might change the 3.1 code further before it’s finalized, which means that any work we do now could be wasted, or even worse, cause more problems down the line.

PBwiki Single Sign-On 3.0

2 Apr

We’ve recently released the third generation of our single sign-on capability, which represents a significant increase in functionality.

Previous generations of PBwiki’s single sign-on let you authenticate people from a particular domain; in other words, if I ran an authentication server for, I could allow other people with identities to log into my individual PBwiki without creating their own PBwiki accounts.

However, we discovered that many of you wanted to authenticate people from more than one domain, and for more than one wiki.  This is a complicated problem, so we sent our resident genius and CTO, Nathan, off to build a solution.  He returned with Single Sign-On 3.0.

Now you can authenticate people from any domain to access any wiki that you control.

Since I am but a marketing guy, for the full details, I’ll turn you over to Nathan and Steven, one of our Support Gurus:

“Single Sign-On (AKA SSO AKA delegated authentication) allows you to build an authentication server that can use your existing user database/directory to help identify and verify users so they may have access to your company’s PBwikis. By doing this you eliminate the need for your users to register an account with PBwiki which in turn eliminates the need for them to remember another username/password.

In four steps the user can use their existing identity to log into into or Depending on the authentication server, you may also be able to set delays (wait period before logging in), access levels (reader, writer, editor, admin), and wiki access (wiki1, wiki2, wiki3 or all the wikis).

Here’s how it works:

1) Your user visits the wiki, and if not already logged in they’re redirected to your authentication server along with several URL parameters required to complete a login.

2) Your authentication server identifies the user and determines the wikis and access levels to grant.

3) Your authentication server redirects the user back PBwiki along with securely signed URL parameters which indicate to our servers who the user is and what permissions they should have on your wikis.

4) PBwiki verifies the URL parameters and signature, then creates a new user account if necessary and then grants the indicated permissions and issues an appropriate set of session cookies for the particular user.

This system, while highly secure, is quick and easy for end users and simple for an IT administrator to set up on your organization’s network. PBwiki has sample code available for a number of common programming languages and can refer independent consultants who have experience integrating customer intranets with PBwiki’s Single Sign-On features.”

For more details on SSO 3.0, you can refer to our documentation on delegated authentication.