It’s been rumoured for a while, but hosted-application service Zimki is closing at the end of the year (or rather, by the end of 2007).
As a Zimki user I’ve not had an email through about it nor is there any announcement on the front page (I discovered the sign-up notice by accident after I referred Zimki to a friend, I’m not sure how long it’s been there), and the T+C’s don’t state a termination date. Y’never know, it might just be the ‘beta service’ that’s finishing and it’ll go to a full product.
Seems unlikely though.
Update: Another colleague who’s been playing with Zimki has received a ‘service announcement’ email confirming that all existing Zimki data will be deleted on 24th December:
As of 24 December 2007 all applications and data remaining on the Zimki service will be deleted and the servers decommissioned. Users are advised to move their applications along with any associated data before the closure date. There are no plans to opensource Zimki.
What a shame – it wasn’t a bad idea at all. What other alternatives are out there for such hosted services which don’t have a SPoF in the company they’re hosted by?
Simon Wardley, COO of Zimki has resigned, during his speech at OSCOM, with the quote:
Open source is not a tactic. It is not a strategy. It is the only practical way of competing in this marketplace.
I’ve just heard a couple of rumours that the entire staff have been laid off too, with a potential platform closedown imminent. Nothing on the Zimki blog yet, but I wouldn’t expect there to be – plenty to be found via Google Blogsearch though, and Simon’s own blog posting on the subject is here.
There’s a Reg story about it as well.
Anyway, yesterday one of the staff posted what sounds like a hiatus on the Zimki blog. I suspect now the company is pending a profitability/viability review by Canon, and everything will be in a maintenance state until then (some might ask what Canon are doing with a hosted application company anyway, but let’s ignore that difficult question for a few paragraphs).
This in my opinion is quite a sad turn of events. True, the platform is slow and seems to be underspecified server-side, there are minor annoyances/niggles, and the documentation leaves something to be desired – but it’s not actually a bad concept which with a bit of work could take off pretty well.
I’ll probably still look in on Zimki occasionally, but I haven’t had the time or impetus to investigate anything new they’ve done with it in the past few months beyond reading the occasional blog posting. Add to that the lack of further development, and I think it’d take some serious consideration if you were going to put all your business eggs in their basket – especially since the plan to open-source the platform has all but evaporated.
I’m not alone in this: while looking for further info I came upon another developer stating that he’ll not spend any more time on it – something which Zimki can ill afford to lose given how few developers and commercial entities seem to be actually using it in anger despite another developer contest. Discussion on the unofficial Zimki forum I set up some time back is sparse at best.
If Canon do want to get rid of it, putting it on hiatus may well demolish what interest the developers have, and erode the commercial confidence of the beancounters – rendering it almost worthless.
Cor, I won second prize in the Zimki competition, for rssfoo. To say I’m pleased is an understatement, cos I’m usually Mr Never-Win-A-Bloody-Thing.
There’s some nice comments from the judges which I’ve been told will be posted to the Zimki blog, mostly talking about performance and speed.
Edit: The results are now official and the Zimki page about it is here. Sounds like the winner was well-deserved (couldn’t really afford the time off for Etech anyway), and nice to see Maulkin won a Mac Mini as well.
At the suggestion of a couple of colleagues this morning I set up an unofficial forum for the Zimki platform primarily aimed at developers using it who require peer support, and also to create a Google-able knowledge base.
It’s not aimed as a replacement for Zimki support I hasten to add, but as an assistance for those who code at 3am and want to know an answer nownownownownow.
Feel free to go poke – it’s a bit sparse right now but I’m sure it’ll flesh out!
A bit of a short space of time before an update, but thanks to the folks who’ve tested rssfoo a bit for me – I’ve made a few tweaks to the way it does cache management and now I need to leave it for another few hours for it to repopulate and settle down.
I suppose I’d better do some real work now… 😛
Right, the link for the application i’ve been doing in the Zimki framework is here.
If you guys come up with any errors while using it (I’m looking particularly for ‘mocha’ timeout errors which pop up in an alert box) please can you note the date/time to GMT so I can research it in the error log? Would help me lots.
The result of my own fiddlings and learnings are in a web2.0 application which searches a list of RSS feeds for text, so you can find (say) all the stuff about Richard Hammond without waiting for Google Blog Search or Google News to pick it up. I think it’s not too bad, but it needs more typical web 2.0 widgetery really 🙂
(I’ve removed the link, since I’m not sure if it being used is causing a slowdown or if it’s Zimki itself or what – I’m still learning to use this :P)