All-in-one workspace Wikifactory, a social platform for collaborative product development, has been pretty busy this summer, first releasing its beta platform and then launching the Docubot Challenge. Now the startup, which was established last summer in Hong Kong, has more good news to share – during its keynote at the recent FAB15 conference in Egypt, Wikifactory officially introduced its new Projects.Fablabs.io site to the global Fab Labs community.
The conference, which was titled “Collectively Independent” and ended a few days ago, welcomed members of the over 1,600 fab labs around the world to Egypt, where they could meet to discuss, collaborate, and share about innovation, technology, and digital manufacturing. Fab labs provide people with a place to invent, create, and learn – they bring their ideas, and fab labs provide access to an environment with advanced technology, materials, and skills so that makers can get busy making.
Fablabs.io is the official international online community for fab labs – it’s an open, online social network where artists, educators, engineers, fabricators, and scientists, from over 40 countries and ranging in age from 5 to 75, can discuss their projects. Soon after Wikifactory was launched in 2018, the startup wondered how it might be able to support the Fablabs.io community.
“That’s why we started working on a new Projects site that uses Wikifactory’s infrastructure to allow Labs around the world to collaborate more effectively in product and hardware development,” Wikifactory wrote in a press release.
The platform’s new partnership with Fablabs.io, which was announced at FAB15 by Wikifactory co-founders Christina Rebel and Max Kampik, means that fab labs around the world are able to not only document, but also share their projects via the Wikifactory-powered Projects.Fablabs.io site. This new site will make it possible for global members of the fab lab community to collaborate in a communal online workspace, which combines “the essential tools for online product development” so that communities, teams, and individuals can receive support and also use functionalities, such as an issue tracker and a version controlled drive, to their best advantage.
But the new Projects.Fablabs.io site isn’t the only news that Wikifactory is sharing. The platform also recently launched some new features to help improve its workflow for users.
Wikifactory launched three new features that will make it even easier to collaborate with distributed product development teams – a Version Control System, Time-travel, and Conflict Resolution.
“Both from an insiders and an outsiders perspective, it’s extremely useful to be able to track the evolution of a Project. This has influenced the design of our Version Control System, inspired by git, but designed for a product development environment,” Wikifactory wrote in a press release.
“Moving away from the command line but considering the same methodology, whatever changes you make to a Project in your own session of Wikifactory remain a local save to your computer until you click Contribute. Every contribution must have a title and a description to send your local changes to the global servers, and when they do, they get logged in the History.”
Version Control, which is “all about managing contributions” between product developers, makes it easier to browse, visualize, and download older versions of your existing files, while the Time-travel feature lets you find a specific version of an older file – such as one before a change was made that you’d like to do unmake. Both of these features allow users to browse through all the versions of a file on Wikifactory.
The visual Conflict Resolution feature obviously lets users resolve conflicts that may arise during product development, such as when a file was deleted by one person while another was modifying it, or if two different collaborators changed the same 3D file. The new feature helps you figure out which changes should stay, and which should be ignored.
“After implementing the conflict-resolution flow, we know this will pave the way to develop functionalities such as forking, merging, branches etc., which are all things we want to add, as we believe they will improve open/distributed collaboration for product developers,” the press release states.
To learn more about these new features and any other developments, check out the Release Notes category on the Wikifactory forum.
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