Empowering thinkers and makers

Federatial helps clients thrive in our new socio-technological world. Skilled in open, iterative development we build new categories of applications that help individuals and teams get stuff done with information at density and scale

HelloThere

We design and build bespoke software for clients large and small. Our focus is creating generative software tools that can be used by people without conventional experience of building software: tools for making tools. By letting domain experts build their own tools to address their needs we allow them to shorten the cycle for iterating those tools, making them ever more effective.

There is an adage to the effect that giving someone a fishing rod has more long term value than giving them a basket of fish. Federatial goes further: we provide a factory that can make an infinite variety of fishing rods, each uniquely adapted for specific needs.

Federatial is the home of TiddlyWiki, an unorthodox open source JavaScript wiki with powerful capabilities not found in other software.

Email us at jeremy (at) federatial (dot) com, or use the services below.

About

Federatial helps organisations explore new user interaction concepts through rapid prototyping of sophisticated web-based tools.

Federatial was founded by Jeremy Ruston in 2011. Based in leafy Oxford, UK, we work with a network of associates to serve clients all over the planet.

Clients

Federatial works with clients large and small across industry sectors. Some of our recent projects include:

  • For a law firm, we have built a document management system handling tens of thousands of pages of richly structured legalese
  • For a charitable body, we have developed an extranet for partners to explore the charity's work
  • For an electronic publisher, we have explored new interactive delivery and collaboration formats
  • For a finance software company, we have built dashboards and dynamic reports
  • For a healthcare startup, we have built a collaborative, re-usable library of health information for patients and carers

Federatial is also open to sponsorship to support our work on the open source TiddlyWiki core.

Jeremy Ruston

Jeremy Ruston founded Federatial in 2011, after several years as Head of Open Source Innovation for BT plc. He took up this position when his open source startup Osmosoft was acquired by BT in 2007.

Previously, Jeremy was Chief Technology Officer of several earlier startups, Global Head of E-Commerce at the investment banking arm of Dresdner Bank, and Chief Designer at a specialist real-time telecommunications software developer.

Even earlier, in the 1980s, Jeremy wrote books about the BBC Micro and designed animations for BBC Television.

Process

Federatial's usual process for working with clients emphasises agility and responsiveness.

➀ Learn

We learn about the problem domain, usually through structured conversations with users and stakeholders. We also study how the problem has been tackled in the past, and look for similar problems in other domains.

➁ Build

Federatial uses sketches, mockups, prototypes and full-fledged applications to explore potential solutions. Federatial's in-house hypertext technology addresses persistent and fundamental issues that our clients encounter wherever there are demanding levels of information complexity.

➂ Use

Federatial trains and supports the people using the software, in the process learning more about the problem and the potential solutions.

➃ Repeat

Federatial believes that rapid iteration is the most effective way to explore unknown territory, and gives clients the best visibility and control of the work.

TiddlyWiki

TiddlyWiki is a rich, interactive tool for manipulating complex data with structure that doesn't easily fit into conventional tools like spreadsheets or word-processors.

TiddlyWiki is designed to fit around your brain, helping you deal with the things that won't fit. The fundamental idea is that information is more useful and reusable if we cut it up into the smallest semantically meaningful chunks – tiddlers – and give them titles so that they can be structured with links, tags, lists and macros. Tiddlers use a wiki text notation that concisely represents a wide range of text formatting and hypertext features. TiddlyWiki aims to provide a fluid interface for working with tiddlers, allowing them to be aggregated and composed into longer narratives.

TiddlyWiki was created in 2004 by Jeremy Ruston, and is now a thriving open source project with hundreds of contributors.

Vision

Throughout history, humanity has organised itself into hierarchies in order to accomplish big challenges, from invading a new territory to building a modern global enterprise. Now we see the rise of methodologies involving small, loosely federated groups that use the web to establish agreement and organise action.

Organizations employing such methodologies increasingly define themselves by the software, tools and conventions that embody their operating principles. Federatial enables the cost-effective delivery of software tools that can evolve at the same speed as a business.

Much effort in contemporary user interface design is directed at persuading unwilling, busy people to complete simple transactions, ruthlessly reducing the cognitive load of the task to fit the capacity of the lowest common denominator user. Federatial is at the other end of the spectrum: producing software that will be used by thoughtful individuals who are prepared to put in the effort to learn something non-trivial in exchange for the ability to do things that are non-trivially useful.

Xememex

Xememex is an online service under development by Federatial Limited. It is currently starting the second of four phases:

Phase 1: Custom TiddlyWiki solutions for corporate customers

(in progress) low volume, high value.

Phase 2: Generic TiddlyWiki services for the TiddlyWiki community

Medium volume, low value.

Phase 3: A platform for the TiddlyWiki community to sell custom solutions to customers in vertical niches

Medium volume, medium value.

Phase 4: A hugely simplified son-of-TiddlyWiki service in the mass market

High volume, low value.