Jux.com – The Open Source Web-Making Community

This week’s Startup of the Week features an interview with Ted Metcalfe, CEO of Jux, a web page creation service that simplifies the creation of online, interactive content.

Launched last March, Jux aims to be a website builder that’s different from the rest. Jux is an open-source site builder which allows website creators to copy, mix and modify components made by every member. As you build your Jux website, you will have access to several drag-and-drop widgets and themes and still have complete control over your source-code.

Here’s the interview:

webgeekly interviewed Ted Metcalfe to find out more about Jux.
What’s your name and role for Jux?

Ted Metcalfe, CEO.

Describe Jux in under 50 words.

Jux encourages random acts of creativity.

Between tiny tweets and full-blown websites or blogs, lies a huge, under-explored range of stuff to make. Whether it’s a photoessay, announcement or yet-to-be-imagined, Jux is building tools that simplify the creation of gorgeous, interactive content for circulation across social networks and devices.

How and when did the idea for Jux come about?

Jux emerged from the long-running passion of our founder, Mark Gorton, for taking open-source principles where they haven’t gone before, like geographic information, government and the streets (see OpenPlans.org).

Jux is the latest foray. We launched in March with the goal of liberating the actual presentation of content from all the constraints and clutter of photo, video, blog, and social network platforms. The idea is full-bleed, authentic self-expression. Pull content from the social web into a freer space. Add to it, curate it, bundle it into something more personal and sublime. Pump it back out.

The zeitgeist inspires us. Especially mobile devices and iPads, where content lives purer (think Flipboard) and creation is cooler (think Instagram and Hipstamatic). This is a wakeup call for the web – and for Jux. Right now, Jux offers a freeform page creation tool. But, beginning this week, we’ll start launching much simpler tools that ensure instant utility and beautiful results like the mobile world.

Following the closure of Geocities, the trend of website makers appeared to slow down for a while but it seems it is rapidly gaining popularity again. Do you agree?

It depends what you mean by website maker. Geocities actually had a bit of community. People were in it together. By contrast, most of what are called website makers are standalone tools. They try to automate standard website components and thereby enable more people to get started online. The intention is noble but misguided. It essentially means roping people into the long, unrewarding work of building yesterday’s websites. It’s the back forty acres of user-generated content.

Social media, by contrast, is the truer heir to Geocities and the vastly bigger trend. From this perspective, a web presence:

  • Involves frequent small creations around meaningful experiences and events
  • Gets communicated immediately
  • Grows organically
  • Is fun to do rather than a chore to maintain
  • Changes with interests, times and technology

By providing a platform where your content can live on its own and take further shape, Jux hopes to help people recognize their social media contributions as web creation and invent tomorrow’s websites.

An example of a Jux.com widget
What would you say is the one best feature of Jux which makes it unique and better than its competition?

By contrast to blogs, photosharing sites, and lightweight aggregators (like Flavors or About), Jux gives you a blank canvas to fill completely with your content and express yourself in a new way.

What are the long term plans for Jux?

We love making stuff. But we hate doing it alone. So we’ll go wherever our creative community takes us – with a special focus on helping them help each other. We have a pretty deep technology stack and are eager to let people collaborate, share content, apply each other’s styles, contribute apps, even make their own variants on our web creation tools.

Another example of a Jux.com widget
And finally, convince us to use Jux in under 50 words.

Just try our new blockquote creator for the first and simplest taste of Juxing. It may not be up when this interview appears, but should be within a few days.

A big thanks to Ted Metcalfe from Jux who took the time to complete this interview. The best way to find out about how Jux works is to actually use it. Or head to their “Explore” section to see what kind of sites have been created.

What do you guys think of Jux?

Don't forget to check out more posts from the Startup of the Week section.

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