Best practice: Developing products and services with a wiki

Pinakothek der Moderne
More orientation in the product management with wikis. Image: Pinakothek der Moderne, München 2004, by: Reinhard Jahn (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Wikimedia Commons.

A wiki is the central tool for sharing information about changing products and services centrally, efficiently and systematically. Are there best practises? We have compiled the most important questions.

When companies develop their services and products, there are many questions that need to be answered quickly and communicated to the relevant departments and teams:

  • What is included in the product?
  • How is the product calculated?
  • How does the product differ from competing products?
  • Is there a need to observe certain procedures and requirements at the time of delivery?
  • Where is there additional information about quality features or about similar products in the product range?
  • What are the experiences with this product and how should it be further developed?

Sales, development, project management and support depend on up-to-date information in order to carry out their tasks efficiently and efficiently. Continue Reading

draw.io for MediaWiki and BlueSpice – create drawings collaboratively

A picture is worth a thousand words - show graphics in your wiki with draw.io. Picture: CCO Public Domain via Pixabay.
A picture is worth a thousand words – show graphics in your wiki with draw.io. Picture: CCO Public Domain via Pixabay.

Experienced and creative authors already got to know the diagram editor draw.io a long time ago. It is based on a web application, already developed by the company JGraph as free software, and it is already compatible with diverse applications like, for example, Confluence.

draw.io is also available for MediaWiki, making is possible to display processes, elaborate flowcharts and much more and in many ways. This fulfils the desire of many wiki users to create and present clear graphics like flowcharts, process chains and decision trees, working collaboratively in the wiki.

Continue Reading

The top 10 MediaWiki skins

Maximal mobility and responsive design are central when developing MediaWiki skins. Image: Kelson, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

We have had a look around at what interesting skins are available for MediaWiki and here we present those we think are the ten best.

But first, we will say a few words on MediaWiki and skinning in general. When comparing new MediaWiki skins, one always comes back to the following three themes:

  1. Mobile: How and how well do the skins support mobile applications? Many skin developers use standard HTML, CSS and JavaScript frameworks like Bootstrap or Zurb, to develop “Mobile First” skins.
  2. Navigation: Orientation towards mobile applications has significant consequences for the layout and design. It becomes “flatter”. The edit functions are in the background so as not to overload the small screen, and to reduce complexity. In this way, the pages appear more attractive on the web, and the “Mobile First” skins are more handsome, particularly for the reader. A power user wanting to work in the wiki will often find such skins problematic because they need extra clicks to access the functions they need.
  3. Semantic support: Many wikis use Semantic MediaWiki to work with metadata. Some skins integrate functions from the semantic extension into the skin or customise the layout in such a way that it does not break the optical design.

Let us now look at a few skins.

Continue Reading

Replace Text – Search and replace in your wiki

CCO Public Domain via Pixabay.

When working with longer texts, it is not unusual to have to change a common term because it has been written incorrectly or because it is no longer up-to-date. Common word processing software packages like MS Word have a “search and replace” function so that you do not have to go through the whole text and change everything by hand.

There is a similar tool for MediaWiki users called ReplaceText. This is a small but powerful MediaWiki extension allowing you to search for specific combinations of characters, whether it is text, code or spaces, and to replace them both in wiki articles and in article titles. It is also possible to use complex algorithms which recognise patterns in the form of regular expressions so that you can undertake more sophisticated search-and-replace tasks.

Continue Reading

BlueSpice 2.27.2 released

Now even more user-friendly with impressive new features

We have great news: we are proud to announce the new BlueSpice release 2.27.2. After scarcely three months, we are already publishing the second release of the year.

Looking forward to the release of BlueSpice Version 3 in 2018, we are already working hard on many small adjustments, making BlueSpice even more user-friendly, so you can operate it more intuitively. This means that the new version already contains valuable features and improvements, so it is more convenient to use and working on it is more efficient.

You can find all the detailed information and documentation on our BlueSpice Helpdesk:

Here is an overview of the most important innovations in BlueSpice pro 2.27.2:

Continue Reading

A culture of knowledge sharing – Impressions from the Wikimedia Hackathon 2017

Wikimedia Hackathon 2017 Fixing LDAP
Wikimedia Hackathon – the event for the MediaWiki tech community, image by Mglaser (CC BY-SA 4.0), via Wikimedia Commons

Vienna! A city of music, culture and avant-garde. And, notably, the host of this year’s Wikimedia Hackathon, an annual tech event where roundabout 200 developers, maintainers and users of MediaWiki gathered to experiment, discuss, plan and, of course, enjoy the company of like-minded people. Naturally, BlueSpice, being the largest professional flavor of MediaWiki, was also represented in various ways, getting glimpses at the most recent turns in development, making connections among colleagues, and exchanging experiences and ideas. Continue Reading

BlueSpice MediaWiki vs. Confluence – the wiki alternatives (1)

Soccer image Germany Argentina
Sharing knowledge: One goal – different strategies. Image: Germany and Argentina face off in the final of the World Cup 2014 von Danilo Borges/copa2014.gov.br Licença Creative

In this two-part article, we give a detailed comparison of the wiki top dog MediaWiki and Confluence.

We already wrote a few words about MediaWiki and Confluence some years ago. At that time, we wrote about the main objections to MediaWiki.

That article is still worth reading and remains largely valid. Ultimately the key argument then was that the choice of tool did not depend only on features, but also on the concept behind the software. This is a timeless truth.

However, MediaWiki does not need to fear a direct feature comparison. Importantly, the enterprise distribution BlueSpice has already decided the feature question in my view. This can be seen on our newest internal feature-comparison table, published here and offered for free download:

This publication is a good chance to detail the differences and similarities of the two projects comprehensively and systematically. Continue Reading