Browse Author by Anja Ebersbach

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.

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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.

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Military Wiki: Standard Profile, Article Rating and Gamification

Jason Bock works for a company called DSA, which primarily does IT Support for the US Department of Defense. He is responsible for milWiki, a military enterprise wiki started in 2008 to be an „online internal encyclopedia for the US Department of Defence“. Milwiki is one component of an overall suite of DoD social business tools called milSuite. The milWiki alone supports 400.000 users and contains more than 20.000 articles in more than 7.000 categories.

In 2010 Semantic MediaWiki and later Semantic Forms were introduced to milWiki, which had a major impact on the data integrity.

In his talk at the Enterprise MediaWiki Conference 2016 in New York Jason Bock informed about some social aspects they built into the system also implemented by the functions of Semantic Mediawiki.

Standard Profiles

  • Instead of „normal“ wiki user page there is a template/form with certain fields,
  • Minimum information of the user like name, foto, skills, location and some tags to match across users,
  • Alternatively, the PageNotice extension can add a template with information on acquired points or badges in the header or footer of the user page.

Article Rating/Reviews

  • Customer wanted to have a rating tool like in TripAdvisor
  • Elected to go with the SemanticRating extension which places a form on any wiki page generating a subpage for the rating and the review.
  • Implemented an template which shows all ratings and reviews in a list attached to the article
  • Calculation from all the ratings on the subpages to get an average score of „stars“

Point System

  • Introduces elements of gamification to the wiki
  • Rewards users for creating, editing and gardening efforts
  • Special feature: points for users for each additional author who contributes to a page that user created
  • Point calculation shown in a sidebox on user page

Automated User Badges

  • Manually badges did not work,
  • Automated badging system like in Foursquare and ProjectNoah (National Geographic),
  • Rewards participation within specific topic areas,
  • Helps to identify the experts for certain topics,
  • Tap into Semantic Ratings effort to reward users who receive positive reviews on articles.

At the end of the talk Jason shows some very useful code examples concerning the mentioned social functions.