Archive by Author

Permissions Update: Bringing Writers Back Into the Fold(er)

21 Oct

For the last few years at PBworks, while building an amazing set of new technologies we’ve tried to stay true to four consistent set of tiers for access:

  • Readers cannot modify the content of a workspace in any way (though they can optionally be allowed to comment).
  • Writers can perform reversible / non-destructive operations that don’t affect workspace-wide settings or security.
  • Editors can modify and delete things on a workspace in an irreversible way but they cannot affect workspace-wide settings or security.
  • Admins can perform any operation on a workspace.

It’s become clear that when we rolled out folder manipulation that we left writers out of the party, so to speak, by not letting writers create folders. Some Administrators worked around this by making everyone Editors but were then worried about people accidentally deleting information. Madness. And since folder creation is a reversible and non-destructive operation, we realized that we ought to fix that to let writers better structure their contributions to a workspace.

So on October 26, 2010 we’ll be flipping the switch to allow writers to create folders. (It’s also my birthday that day!)

Check out our fabulous Permission Levels page for a refresher on exactly what each role can do.

IE6 Support Going Away November 15, 2010

25 Aug

Dearly Beloved, we are gathered here today not to praise IE6 but to bury it.

Microsoft released Internet Explorer 6 on August 27, 2001, almost exactly nine years ago. Since then, it has been superceded by not just one but two separate versions, and IE9 is near release. IE6 has at least 23 unpatched, serious security holes in it – Microsoft has no plans to correct any of these and these holes may have resulted in serious security breaches at Google reported in early 2010.

Furthermore, IE6’s old age means it lacks support for many of the features that make it easy to develop powerful and sophisticated web applications – this means that when we release a new version (which we do twice a week) we need to do extra work to get PBworks to function correctly with IE6. Now that IE6 usage is finally (well) below 5% of our userbase, we’ve decided to formally retire our support on November 15, 2010.

On September 15, 2010, all IE6 users visiting our site will receive an in-product message alerting them that they have two months to upgrade to a more modern browser. We strongly recommend Google Chrome 5+, Safari 5, or Firefox 3.6 for cool features like drag and drop file uploading, although we do also support IE7 and IE8. Opera users – yes, we make a best effort to work well!

On November 15, 2010, all IE6 users will be redirected to our mobile site; this will ensure that they are still able to consistently and correctly access their data but to use our more advanced technology, users will need to upgrade per the above.

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

David Weekly Speaks @ Tec de Monterrey

29 Aug

There are a lot of people, organizations, and governments that are interested in the innovative culture of Silicon Valley as well as PBwiki’s unique structure that focuses on hiring (and listening to) some of the brightest people in the world. We’ve hosted a delegation from the French government in our office, spoken to SwissCom, and most recently our founder, David Weekly, gave several talks in Mexico. Here’s the slides for the talk he gave this month at ITSEM, one of the most prestigious business schools in Mexico.

Watch a video of this talk (in three parts). You can also see David’s pictures on Flickr from his trip to Mexico City, which includes a tour of some of the major pyramids and rafting down the Filobobos River in Tlapacoyan.

You can also watch David’s July 14 talk at University of Sonora in Hermosillo, Mexico. The talk resulted in a SuperHappyDevHouse being thrown in Hermosillo the next month; it was attended by PBwiki employee Joel Franusic and was the first in Latin America. (Video)

Search 2.0: Now Better, Faster, Stronger

28 Jul

Mmm, dogfood. Here at PBwiki, we make use of our own product pretty extensively. And having used an internal PBwiki for some three years, we’ve accumulated a pretty large collection of material! This makes it ever more important that we be able to search it and find what we’re looking for. So we’ve dramatically overhauled (and improved) search.

You may have noticed when PBwiki search improved a few weeks ago, getting phrase search, boolean inclusion/exclusion, and filename matching. Well hold onto your pants, because you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

Search has been dramatically restyled again:

  • Information about who last edited a page and when
  • Suggesting page names similar to your search query
  • An adding helpful icons to the result list to let you quickly distinguish wiki pages from PDFs
  • Giving up to 200 characters of “snippet” context (vs 80 previously)
  • Ranking search results and interleaving results from wiki pages, discussions, and filenames
  • Letting you drill down to only search pages with a given tag or in a certain folder

OLD Search:

NEW Search:

Coming very soon? The ability to search inside PDFs, Word DOCs, Excel files, PowerPoint, and more.

If you have feedback about this new feature, what you like and don’t, please chip in here and I’ll read every comment! 🙂

Terms of Service: We Got Your Back

5 Mar

When I was putting together PBwiki’s Terms of Service a few years ago, I spent extra time with our lawyers to make sure that it was as pro-user as possible. The first few versions I got back weren’t good enough and I pressed them to make it shorter, simpler, and to put more rights in the hands of users. I eventually ended up with something I felt good about. Something that made it clear that we weren’t going try and take ownership of user’s content and that we took their privacy seriously.

That hard work has been paying off, with many enterprise customers praising our confidentiality clause for private wikis and our lack of authoritarian clauses. Today, Joshua Greenbaum at ZDNet published an article called Making Web 2.0 Safe for the Enterprise: TOS à la PBwiki that did a great job showing how important terms are for an enterprise service. So hurrah! We’ve got your back. 🙂

David E. Weekly
Founder & CEO


22 Feb

That’s geek code for “PBwiki loves South by Southwest!” One of the advantages of a tool that’s simple to get set up and running with like PBwiki is that you can use it to make quick, ad-hoc workgroups at conferences like South by Southwest. If you’re looking to post your own itinerary or put together a spontaneous birds-of-a-feather session, come set up a new wiki with us and email with the address and I’ll add it to the official PBwiki SXSW page.

David Weekly
Founder & CEO

Education is Compression

17 Jan

Last night, Nathan (the CTO) and I were talking with our roommate Ben, who at 22 is working on his first startup and naturally has a lot of questions about the process. We were all somewhat surprised by how much wisdom we could communicate to Ben in about half an hour of discussion, but then it became clear to me: education is the compression of others’ experiences into rapidly transferable knowledge.

Were it faster to just have the experience, education would be meaningless. A well-taught math course can generally teach a student several centuries of discovery per year.  Reading the journals of the best minds in a field is much less efficient (and, for most, less effective) than reading a well-written summary of their work.

Wikis let people collect and compress knowledge continuously, making it discoverable and usable. Wikis mirror the very processes by which education operates. It’s no wonder that hundreds of thousands of educators found us before we found them. It’s good that your customers can help slap some sense into you and give you a clue.

-David Weekly, Founder & CEO of PBwiki

PBwiki one of PC World's Top 25 Sites to Watch!

26 Jun

PC World named PBwiki last week as one of their Top 25 web sites to watch, along with our buddies at OpenDNS. 🙂

PC World says “The site’s simple, Web-based tools are perfect for building a wiki” – woo!

Read the full article at!

PBwiki Wall Computer

25 Jun

PBwiki Wall ComputerSo we like to have fun here, too. You just can’t help but want to hack on neat projects with such talented engineers around, so Nathan, Brian, and I put together a computer that is attached to our wall with thumbtacks, displays hundreds of silly cats, and makes a sound whenever interesting things happen at PBwiki, like when someone upgrades. We tried having it make a sound whenever anyone edited, but the loud and continuous torrent of noises proved too much.