Our 2019 in review

23 Jan 2020 5 min read
Written by the XWiki Team

A year can be measured in many different ways: an orbit around the Sun, 4 seasons, 12 months, 52 weeks, 365 days, birthday to next birthday or any measure you prefer.  Our go-to benchmark is the achievements of our hard-working team in the 12 months since our last retrospective. We split them into three main categories, as it follows:  

Company Achievements

Our 15th anniversary

On the 8th of July, we celebrated 15 years of XWiki. For this celebration, we were joined by XWiki Alumni, friends of the company and the Open Source community, and some of our lovely clients. As Ludovic mentioned in his speech:

This party celebrates 15 years of efforts from all the XWikiers to grow a sustainable company building Free and Open Source software that matters.

15 years means a lot for a business, and the fact that we got to celebrate this milestone is the merit of all involved: 

  • it is the XWiki Product Squad spending endless hours releasing 12 XWiki versions per year, our QA team running tests over and over again, catching bugs and thus growing the product;
  • it is the Client Squads, lead by our account managers, spending long meetings with clients to sell projects, and get them delivered;
  • it is the Client Team's architect's and developer's talent building the projects and taking responsibility to make them work;
  • it is our Support Squad, keeping our clients happy, whatever happens;
  • it is the Cryptpad Squad, previously our research team, working hard to get research projects, deliver them and break new grounds;
  • it is our Marketing Squad getting us at conferences and ensuring we have great brochures, flyers, stickers, and tee-shirt for these events, catching our leads, with only a fraction of the budget of the big players;
  • it is our Infra Team that takes care of everything (in the background) so that everyone does their job smoothly; 
  • it is our HR Squad getting young engineers to see beyond the size of your logo on the building and keep us happy while making our two offices work smoothly and seamlessly;
  • it is our Community which uses XWiki, makes it known, contributes to our forums and extensions. There are no small contributions to Free and Open Source software;
  • it is the research funding agencies, along with our research partners who allow us to get the necessary funding to fuel our research and innovation process while building new capabilities and releasing them as Open Source;
  • it is our clients who buy our services, our cloud, our support and are funding the development of these projects and allow this company model to exist.

Launched our new website

We recently unveiled a new design for the xwiki.com website - this is the XWiki SAS presentation website, not to be confused with xwiki.org, the Open Source project's website.  The redesign doesn’t just make the site easier to navigate, it also modernizes our use of XWiki, the obvious solution behind the site. The site’s new structure, navigation, and design are optimized for you, our readers, so you can easily find the services and resources we’re providing today and in the future.

Good information architecture can do more than just help people find objects and information. It can empower people by making it easier for them to learn and make better decisions. 
- Donna Spencer, author of A Practical Guide to Information Architecture

New_xwiki.com_website.png

Attended great events

Advocated for Open Source

Many times we come across as being biased when it comes to promoting Open Source alternatives to proprietary software, yet we are almost never wrong when it comes to the benefits brought to the consumer/user/human that is looking for a solution to a problem. Starting with no fees, which saves significant costs over time, customization to your specific needs, to no vendor lock-in and constant fixes of relevant issues by the community, Open Source sounds ideal, right? Until you remind people that developers have to eat too. 

While its origins are rooted in individual passion, this technology has risen to a mainstream commercial business model. For example, today the size of the Open Source services market is $17.4 billion. And trends continue to point to an unstoppable growth with the global Open Source services market estimated to be at $32.95 billion by 2022, according to MarketsAndMarkets. As exciting as this sounds, getting the money is quite tough and rarely discussed publicly. As per our mantra "Knowledge is power, so it should be shared." we've put aside the impostor-syndrome and started sharing about our experience of funding two Open Source projects, whilst being independent and accepting no "strings-attached" financial backing. 

XWiki and CryptPad are not only our software, but they also belong to the community and you. You are welcomed to participate by developing, reporting bugs or features, and also sponsor the development of these projects: XWiki & CryptPad.

Product

CryptPad winning the NGI award

We started the year as well as one could dream: by receiving an award for all the hustle behind CryptPad. It is difficult for all of us to give up powerful Internet services and software which brings us great value, but at the same time, we do not like to see how our data is being used for advertisement, political means or malicious hacking. Receiving the NGI Award is showing that it is possible to get our privacy back while enjoying powerful and easy to use services. We built CryptPad to show how far a team can go to empower users and increase their expectations of privacy from online services. While it was previously accepted that collaborative editing meant sacrificing confidentiality, we’ve not only proven that private editing is possible, but we’ve made our entire platform Open Source to ensure that this technology remains available.

XWiki 11

The 11.x cycle is defined by having improved usability for users and administrators: from conflicts management to multiple login attacks protection, to inline editing for wiki macros, to improved pickers for the date, color, attachments, and pages. We managed to have over 723 issues closed: 361 bugs, 133 improvements, 21 new features and more!

issues_fixed_in_11x.png

XWiki Cloud updates

XWiki Cloud is the most convenient and cost-effective way to run XWiki. We take care of the setup, hosting, upgrades, maintenance, and backups, so you can focus on getting things done. We're happy to announce our cloud demo platform has just been updated to XWiki 11.3.6 and it brings great new features and bug fixes.

Launched an Antivirus Application

The new XWiki Antivirus Application provides extra protection for your wiki, by scanning uploaded attachments via an external antivirus engine. The antivirus performs various checks and verifications through different algorithms and its extensive virus database.

The checks are performed in two steps:

  • Directly at upload time, canceling the upload operation in case an infected file is detected, thus not allowing the infected file to reach your wiki.
  • Periodically, by scanning all attachments on your wiki (including subwikis), in order to cover the case where a periodically updated virus database would now be able to detect a threat that was previously unknown. The period is configurable through a scheduler.

For your convenience, the Antivirus Application comes with ClamAV integrated by default. ClamAV is the leading Open Source antivirus solution. However, other antivirus engines can also easily be implemented and configured to be used by the Antivirus Application.

Knowledge sharing for better experiences

Our team is always eager to share all the coolest features, improvements and tips for an enhanced XWiki experience. Whether it's via chats, emails, our help center or articles, we want to make sure everyone gets the best of an XWiki instance. Below is a shortlist of the pieces we've put together this year:

Consolidated the team

You don’t build a business. You build people, and people build the business.
- Hilary Hinton "Zig" Ziglar, author, salesman, and motivational speaker

XWiki_2019_Team_retrospective.jpg

100% of what we are today is due to our phenomenal team. In the 15 years we've been around, we had multiple structures, with numerous people joining and leaving. This year was no different:

- we parted ways with some great colleagues: Nicolas, Ioana M, Denis, Catalin, Ecaterina, Nicoleta D.;

- we added stellar additions to our teams: Camelia, Nicoleta B, David, Any.

Fully aware that this will sound cliché, we would like to take a moment to thank all the XWikiers, past or present, that did the tough and crucial work, that silently tackled the difficult tasks, without being in the spotlight. It's not always those of whom we speak the most that do the most important work.

How's your work life?

As we are a distributed and remote-friendly company, every year we meet and work together for a week. We call these meetings "seminars" and they are a great platform to tackle the company strategy, team updates, needs and, of course, for team building. This year we went a bit more personal with a discussion we had, but our team concluded it was needed. Its subject was "Stress and burnout" and has stirred some raw and constructive discussions.

Burnout is a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed. It is characterized by three dimensions: feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion, increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one's job and reduced professional efficacy.
- World Health Organization

Colleagues, at every stage of their careers, have shared their triggers, manifestations and how they overcome them. Here are the basics of dealing with burnout that our team has signaled out

  • identify the "why" - it goes without saying that anything is easier to treat if you know its cause;
  • share your feelings with someone - colleague, manager, family, friends, therapist or anyone that won't insert more negativity in your life;
  • (re)evaluate your priorities - set boundaries, make time for hobbies, take technology breaks or whatever helps to fix your "why";
  • take care of your body - exercise regularly, eat healthily and sleep well - it gets a lot easier with practice;
  • get informed and adapt everything to your needs.

From turning 15 years of existence to finding the power to have "vulnerable" discussions, whilst growing two incredible Open Source projects, our 2019 was a whirlwind. How about yours? 

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