Publishing in Real Time: Wrox Stays Current with Near-Time

Nov 13, 2007

A recent partnership launched between Near-Time, Inc. and Wiley Wrox Press has opened the door to interaction among P2P digital publishing communities. Announced on October 30, this joint venture enables Wrox Press--a traditionally fee-based information service--to, for the first time, provide free online access to book content by implementing the ASP3wiki, powered by Near-Time.

Near-Time, a Web 2.0 platform used for cross-organizational collaboration, partnered with Wiley Wrox Press in order to enable delivery of a new technology community for one of Wrox's web programming books, Beginning Active Server Pages 3.0. Reid Conrad, CEO of Near-Time, says, "We are partnering with Wrox on the creation of interactive communities around its technology titles. Near-Time's platform brings content and conversation together in a managed environment." Wrox Press, established in 1992 as a division of John Wiley & Sons, Inc., is a digital publishing company that specializes in books written by computer programmers, specifically for computer programmers.

Wrox Press, like many other digital companies, recognized that there are two main platforms driving the Web 2.0 movement: blogs and wikis. Through the company's new ASP3wiki, publishers can now discuss Beginning Active Server Pages 3.0 in a forum, thus opening up communication and engaging community members. "This is an important relationship and initiative for Wrox because it's our first venture into the world of wikis," says Joe Wikert, VP and executive publisher of Wrox. "Wrox has been firmly built upon community principles, hence our commitment to the extremely popular p2p forum on We believe wikis represent an interesting way for us to encourage and enable even more community participation with our content."

The ASP3wiki does not require a special reader device so anyone can access the wiki via a web browser. Furthermore, the interactive website powered by Near-Time facilitates speedy content updates and corrections, as well as allows readers to comment on any aspect of the 1200-page programming book. "This partnership," says Conrad, "represents a generational upgrade for publishers. Near-Time communities bring together collaboration, content delivery, monetization, and a direct relationship with consumer and business markets. While our partnership with Wiley impacts the publishing industry, we are seeing the leverage of communities in businesses of all industries and sizes."

As the internet evolves, Web 2.0 technologies are increasingly being incorporated into company websites in an attempt to promote dialogue and increase activity, thus enhancing the visitor's experience. With the ASP3wiki, Wrox hopes to leverage the Web 2.0 movement as the company explores future possibilities for new technology on its website. "Our primary goal is to explore the wiki platform and determine how it can best be leveraged to build more community around Wrox and Wrox content. Sharing the content in an open forum as we're doing with Beginning ASP 3.0 is an important step, but we also want to look further down the road and see what other ways there are to utilize Near-Time's platform," says Wikert.

Digital and tech publishing have a lot to gain from near real-time publishing, since long publishing lead times often cause information to be stale by the time it makes it into print. Conrad notes: "Tech publishing is unique in its speed-to-market requirements. The Near-Time community platform brings together the complete content and business lifecycle. It is also creating new channels. We see our communities setting the industry pace for our clients. Speed in technology publishing and interaction is essential to success."

Wrox acknowledges the need to stay up-to-date on current web trends, Conrad observes. "Extending the reach of Near-Time with this partnership is strategic. Wrox is a leader in the publishing industry and is celebrating its 200-year anniversary. They get the future with a perspective few have. We are thrilled by our partnership." Wikert agrees: "We're fortunate in that Near-Time has built a model that enables many different types of models. We want to figure out which ones are best for our customers and use Near-Time's tools to provide as rich a user experience as possible. We are looking at this initial project with Beginning ASP 3.0 as the first of what we hope will be many more wiki-based projects to come."