Jive enhances Web-based collaboration

Jive Software is retooling its discussion forums collaboration software to support clustering and tout the program’s ability to integrate with other systems using its available source code.

Version 2.5 of Jive Forums was released April 1 with a module that allows enterprise customers to run the software in a clustered environment to improve performance and ensure fault tolerance. The module is based on Tangosol Inc.’s Coherence caching product.

The latest version of Jive includes the ability to organize forums into categories, a notification mechanism to alert users to new content, multilanguage support, and enhanced single sign-on support.

Jive Forums is Java-based software for creating discussion forums that can be used for business-to-consumer or intranet and extranet forums, and integrated into other applications. Companies such as Sony Music Entertainment Inc., Shell and IBM Corp. run the software.

IT executives also can use the software’s available source code to build other discussion-based applications or integrate the software with existing applications. Building collaboration directly into applications is a growing trend known as contextual collaboration, which gives users access to collaboration features from within their familiar applications.

“We see this as an engine for other applications in the future,” says Greg Obst, technical architect for Rodale Press, which publishes such magazines as Runner’s World and BackPacker. “We are thinking about an intranet application that would be a request for comment system that would also include an approval process.” Obst also has integrated Jive into a change tracking system to record server change logs and defect tracking.

“The availability of source code is what makes this adaptable,” he says.

But the company mainly uses Jive to support discussion forums for readers of their health and sports related publications. They also cultivate marketing data from those forums.

Obst says the new clustering features will ensure that the forums don’t go down at peak times like during marquee running or cycling events.

Jive began nearly two years ago as an open-source project. Last fall, Jive Software produced a commercial version and now the company is pushing into the enterprise and competing with offerings from Infopop and Web Crossing.

“We are trying to become a communications hub, integrating e-mail and newsgroups,” Jive CEO Dave Hersh says. The company is building a knowledge base feature into the software that allows users to automatically pull information from discussion groups into a decision making process.

The software is priced at US$6,900 per server for the enterprise version. Each additional server is US$2,300 including basic support and maintenance.

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