Visualization BlueSpice MediaWiki

Visualization of content in BlueSpice MediaWiki

It doesn’t always have to be text. A smart mixture of written and graphic content is recommended to overview information and quickly absorb knowledge. Markus Glaser, CEO of Hallo Welt! GmbH, explains the possibilities of visualization in the BlueSpice enterprise wiki.

Markus, a wiki is first of all a text-based medium, right?

That’s right. In a corporate environment, a wiki is ideally suited for text-based documentation, manuals and management systems such as knowledge and quality management – basically for setting up a knowledge base. There is a markup language for formatting the corresponding texts in wikis: WikiText. This is much easier than HTML and offers a lot of freedom in the design of articles.

With the visual editor it’s even easier, without knowledge of markup languages, isn’t it?

Correct. The visual editor maximizes user comfort. For example, lists, quotations and links can be created with a single click or font styles (italic, bold) and headings can be adapted. The concept behind it: WYSIWYG. That means “what you see is what you get”. The user immediately sees what his formatting does in the text and can optimize wiki content accordingly.

 

Visueller Editor BlueSpice
Screenshot: The visual editor in BlueSpice pro

So there is a need for companies to present content visually or graphically?

Absolutely. Text usually represents the supporting part of a wiki. In addition BlueSpice offers numerous possibilities to work visually. It is nothing new that audio-visual formats support the perception and processing of information and knowledge in a positive way. In this context, we differentiate between the following three possibilities:

 

1. Upload of content to the wiki

With a few clicks, individual images, image galleries or videos can be uploaded or created in BlueSpice. JPG or PNG files as well as MP4 or WEBM videos are suitable formats.

 

2. Creating content in the wiki

Images and ImageMaps

Images or visualizations of any kind can be superimposed in BlueSpice with ImageMaps or HotSpots. If the user moves the mouse to a HotSpot, he is forwarded to any target page via a link. This procedure is ideal for complex technical visualizations and corresponding explanatory texts or videos. Further information on this topic can be found at MediaWiki.org.

Tables

Tables are a frequently used medium for displaying (complex) content in a structured way. BlueSpice 3.1 optimizes the formatting of tables. New features include:

  • the change of the background and font color
  • the text alignment incl. vertical text
  • the assignment of prefabricated table styles (frame thickness, color, background color)
  • the definition of table and column dimensions

Additionally, tables can be sorted, filtered and exported.

Process diagrams with draw.io (extension)

Flowcharts, process chains or decision trees are classics in corporate wikis. For example, think of the complex processes in quality management. Without appropriate visualization, the overview is lost very quickly. BlueSpice relies on an interface to draw.io to allow wiki users to develop and publish complex process diagrams directly in the wiki. If a change is necessary, the diagram can be adapted within the wiki. This saves a lot of time, as there is no need to upload the updated file again.

 

Draw.io BlueSpice MediaWiki
Visual: Draw.io in BlueSpice pro

 

By the way, we have already written an article on this subject, to which we would like to refer again at this point:
https://blog.bluespice.com/2017/08/30/draw-io-mediawiki-bluespice-create-drawings-collaboratively/

Also in our helpdesk there is more information about the integration of draw.io:
https://en.wiki.bluespice.com/wiki/Drawio

Besides the above mentioned possibility to draw processes with draw.io directly in the wiki, diagrams can also be generated automatically in BlueSpice via semantic data (see below).

Tag cloud (extension)

With TagCloud you can visualize a category or keyword overview in a graphically appealing way (e.g. popular search terms). With this extension, both TagClouds and lists can be generated. It is always based on the categories that were used the most. The corresponding keywords are displayed larger or highlighted in another way.

Graphical representation of user activities

In BlueSpice, various user activities can be evaluated and graphically displayed. These include, for example, the number of pages created or search queries over a certain period of time. The generated representations can be exported in order to integrate them into another application, such as a power point presentation.

 

diagramm bluespice mediawiki
Screenshot: X-Y coordinate diagram in BlueSpice pro

 

Visualization of semantic data

Data usually plays an important role in enterprise wikis. In this context we are talking about semantic or structured data, which are mostly prepared in tabular form and are entered into the wiki via “semantic forms”. The corresponding forms can be implemented by the customer himself. With our semantic training and workshop we offer the corresponding know-how. Alternatively, we are happy to develop input forms and interfaces to existing databases on behalf of our customers. I would like to show three examples that illustrate the potential of semantic data:

• Open Street Map: The “circles parameter” can be used to mark and graphically highlight areas in OpenStreetMap map displays. For example, different locations or regional activities of a company can be marked on a global map and enriched with further information.

 

OpenStreetMap open street map bluespice mediawiki
Screenshot: Open Street Map

Further information can be found here:
https://www.semantic-mediawiki.org/wiki/Extension:Maps/Displaying_maps

• Charts and diagrams: There are many ways to create charts from data. The following example shows a sample bar chart with labels for the X and Y axes. But pie charts and other graphical output formats are also possible.

 

 

 

Diagramme BlueSpice MediaWiki
Screenshot: Column and pie charts in BlueSpice pro

Further information can be found here:
https://www.semantic-mediawiki.org/wiki/Demo:Jqplotchart/Distributable_data

• Timelines: With the help of the appropriate extension, BlueSpice can be used to graphically display timelines, e.g. to illustrate the company history, strategic planning or important milestones in a project.

 

Zeitachse Timeline BlueSpice MediaWiki
Screenshot: a timeline generated in BlueSpice pro

Further information can be found here:
https://www.semantic-mediawiki.org/wiki/Help:Timeline_format

 

3.  Embedding content in the wiki

Besides the already mentioned possibilities of uploading content to the wiki and creating content in the wiki itself, I would like to briefly discuss the possibility of embedding content using so-called widgets. A widget is a small computer program that embeds third-party content into the BlueSpice graphical user interface. Classic examples are:

  • YouTube/ Vimeo-Videos
  • Slideshare presentations
  • Podcasts/ Audio files
  • Google Maps or OpenStreetMap

However, exotic video players such as Brightcove or other tools for creating process diagrams can also be integrated via widgets. There are a variety of ready-to-use widgets optimized for MediaWiki. These can be found here (login required):
https://www.mediawikiwidgets.org/Widgets_Catalog

Apart from that embeddings in BlueSpice are also possible via APIs (Application Programming Interface). For example, it is possible to connect a Lotus Notes database or SharePoint document lists. In this case, our programmers are at your side with advice and action to ultimately achieve the optimum result for the customer. Because that is always the most important thing for us.

Let’s Wiki together!

 

Test BlueSpice pro now for 30 days free of charge and without obligation:
https://bluespice.com/bluespice-pro-evaluation

Visit our webinars and get to know BlueSpice:
https://bluespice.com/webinar/

Contact us:

Angelika Müller and Florian Müller
Telephone: +49 (0) 941 660 800
E-Mail: sales@bluespice.com

Author: David Schweiger

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