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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

WikiFarm: Software for centrally administering several wikis.

CCO Public Domain via Pixabay.
CCO Public Domain via Pixabay.

Administering several individual wikis is technically intricate because all too often, a confusing “wiki chaos” develops, which is difficult to take care of. In this area there is already a concept which has proved itself: the wiki farm.

Several wikis can be created, archived or deleted quickly and easily by using a wiki farm.  When creating wikis, the user has the option to create an empty wiki or to clone what is known as a “master wiki”. Such a master wiki can be already filled with content (e.g. handbooks), or contain files and configuration data, all of which can be transferred and supplied.

From a technical point of view, by using the farm concept, one can provide several wikis with just one wiki installation. The wiki software is only installed and saved once on the server and all the wikis use this installation together.

We have had an increasing number of enquiries from customers over the last few years for whom the best possible solution is provided by a wiki farm.  Many have the problem that a single wiki is no longer sufficient, because they need to reflect the most differing topics, languages and permissions concepts. In such cases, we always recommend the use of several wikis via our wiki farm solution.

Why does one need several wikis?

By providing several wiki instances within one organisation, we can ensure that data and permissions structures are absolutely separated. While access to information can be controlled within a wiki by assigning permissions for separate namespaces, this harbours risks and gaps. The basic software MediaWiki does not recognise the regulation of access by namespaces and presents loopholes which an experienced user might make use of. On top of this, there is the risk of errors creeping in when permissions are assigned, making data available for non-authorised users. This can have fatal consequences, particularly in divisions with sensitive information like personnel, research and development or management.

Creating new individual wikis is also especially useful in project management. In general, projects with wikis can be excellently organised and monitored by including, structuring and keeping up to date the content of the project or data like the points of contact and costs, schedules and milestones or the current status and the to-do list.  The security obtained by separating the data makes it possible to share a project wiki with, for example, external service providers or customers, so you can work together and exchange ideas without risk. When a project is concluded, then the wiki can be archived so that the information and data can be made available again if needed at a later time.

Single wikis are not intended to implement multilingualism. There are differing concepts around for solving this, but using separate wikis for each language is still the most elegant and cleanest option (see Wikipedia). This is an indispensable requirement for companies working across the globe, which can be optimally fulfilled with WikiFarm. BlueSpice even has its own special features here. Linking individual articles in different languages is done with InterwikiLinks. In such cases, BlueSpice automatically adds a menu for navigating between languages (see fig. 1).

Figure 1: Navigating in a multilingual wiki
Figure 1: Navigating in a multilingual wiki

Because multilingualism is just as much a hot topic and just as involved as before, we will devote a blog entry just to this topic so we can give more detail.

How does a wiki farm pay off?

So that the creation and maintenance of a number of wiki instances can be managed quickly and simply, there are farm solutions with which organisations and users can practically “host” as many single wikis as they want.

We have developed the technical basis of the BlueSpice farm solution a great deal further, and tailored and optimised it with a view to the individual use-cases of our customers. Not only MediaWikis, but also BlueSpices can be administered by the solution.

The great advantage of using a wiki farm is that the systems are simpler to maintain, which reduces the costs. Patches, updates and upgrades are only carried out in a single system but are available in all wikis of the farm.

Wikis with a limited “lifespan”, like project wikis, are better organised in a wiki farm: if there are processes and tasks that occur again and again, they can be put in a prefabricated structure in the master wiki and content which repeats can be populated. As soon as one needs to, one can clone this wiki so the project can begin immediately. After finishing the project documentation, the wiki is archived in such a way that it is no longer active. The information contained within it, can still be recalled at a later date.

Farm management is configured to be very clear (see fig. 2). Along with a description, keywords can be assigned to individual wikis. The list of wikis can be sorted, filtered and grouped according to different criteria. This makes all wiki instances simple to keep an eye on, and redundant wikis and unused relics can be avoided.

Figure 2: A clear overview of several wiki instances in the farm administration.
Figure 2: A clear overview of several wiki instances in the farm administration.

Putting together the biggest advantages of a BlueSpice WikiFarm, we have:

  • 1 click installation for new wiki instances
  • Very little effort needed to update and upgrade
  • Provision of standardised content via master wikis
  • Data security because content and rights can be separated
  • The clear presentation, sorting and filtering of wikis

Conclusion

If you would like to create and manage several wiki instances in the twinkling of an eye, WikiFarm is exactly the right solution for you. Even when operating just a second (Media)Wiki, the software’s architecture and administration interface save time and costs.

 

BlueSpice 2.27.1 released

Header-BSP-CustomerInformat

A patch release that’s worth seeing.

It is that time again: we are very pleased to announce the new BlueSpice release 2.27.1, and it is difficult to believe that this is only a patch release.

When we consider the new features, Version 2.27.1 is right at the forefront. The first release of this year focuses on the optimisation of usability and applications in quality management, alongside bug-fixes.

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

BlueSpice 2.27.0 released

New BlueSpice release 2.27.0.

Our focus: quality assurance, usability and farming.

We proudly announce today’s stable release of the new BlueSpice for MediaWiki 2.27.0. It is our second release this year and brings new features and numerous optimizations. Above all, it is fully compatible with the long-time support version MediaWiki 1.27.

All detailed information can be found in our BlueSpice Helpdesk:
Notable changes,
Release notes with changelog,
• Installation instructions with installer and without installer,
Update instructions.

We have installed some pretty helpful features. The focus is on characteristics such as quality assurance, usability and farming.

These are the most important new features of BlueSpice pro 2.27.0:

Continue Reading

Agile prototyping: “MediaWiki is like a white sheet of paper for data”

The Wikipedia software MediaWiki is a well known solution for collaborative knowledge platforms. It is less popular, but not less ideal, for the development of prototypes and new platforms.

At this year’s Semantic-MediaWiki-Konferenz (SMWCon) in Frankfurt, our Hallo Welt! Technical Manager Markus Glaser talked about this connection between MediaWiki and prototyping. Here are the slides of his presentation.

Markus Glaser started his presentation explaining different forms of prototyping. His introduction was followed by showing MediaWikis richness of functionalities. By combining and expanding these functionalities, you can develop new and very specific applications. MediaWiki already provides a large toolkit, which allows quick adjustments without having to program completely new functions.

The semantic MediaWiki extension packages, which can be used to capture and query metadata, are certainly worth mentioning. Those are very useful, if for example data models are being modeled or user interfaces and operating elements still have to be positioned. Of course BlueSpice for MediaWiki supplies a wide range of options. Responsive skins like Chameleon are the basis for stylish surfaces. And with Lua you have a script language, with which the construction of a page can be designed very dynamically.

That means MediaWiki is an ideal base to build agile new knowledge platforms. The flexibility of MediaWiki means a great advantage in time. You don‘t have to be a programmer to build these prototypes, because a lot of these things can already be done with the  integrated tools of MediaWiki. Like this you get a working system at an early stage, with which you can gather important experiences.

Nevertheless users should be aware that, despite the variety of integrated tools, developing a new knowledge platform is always complex and cost-intensive: planning, meetings and adjustments take time. After the development of an alpha or beta version, individual functionalities have to be professionalized and programmed independently.

You might say that the development of a stable productive system takes as much time as the development of the beta version for the first test users. However, the time and the risks of development are significantly reduced with the prototyping based on MediaWiki.

BlueSpice Release 2.27.0 – beta version released

Say hello to the new BlueSpice free for MediaWiki 2.27.0 beta version!

Have you already tested it? Well then go! Since last week, there is the BlueSpice 2.27.0-beta, a minor and maintenance version of BlueSpice free, which can be downloaded to tested at SourceForge. Now we need your help!

Download the beta version and test it. Please report bugs, patches and other feedback. Any kind of feedback (the more constructive, the better) is welcome at our SourceForge forum or per email to support@hallowelt.com. We look forward to your opinions and appreciate your help!

Try some of our interesting new features like:

  • Page Assignments: Assign poeple and groups of people to pages, e.g. as responsible editors. Supersedes ResponsibleEditors.
Page Assignments
Page Assignments
  • Disable users: Instead of user deletion, you can now disable the users while keeping their full record.
  • Support your admin: certain user groups can now assign users to groups without having to be sysops. It is also possible to allow users access to a selection of administrative tools without having to be sysops.
  • Namespace-specific notifications: notifications are now much more configurable. Get notified about changes in the wiki on a namespace basis.
Namespace-specific notifications
Namespace-specific notifications
  • Track usage statistics: know how often a certain feature is used in your wiki.
  • Improvements of the user experience: confirmation dialogues are more unobtrusive now.
  • FlexiSkin: manage uploaded images.
  • HitCounter: Restores the hit count functionality missing in MediaWiki core since MediaWiki 1.25.
  • Testsystem mode: visually indicate when a wiki is a testing system.

For detailed release notes see our BlueSpice Helpdesk.

Have fun testing!

Many new features: The BlueSpice Demo has been completely updated

To all the curious people, who like trying new things: the BlueSpice Demo has been completely updated.

With regard to the needs of our customers we updated the BlueSpice Demo and improved its shape. We really got going and improved the Demo version significantly. It was subject to a substantial revision.

The new BlueSpice Demo is online.
The new BlueSpice Demo is online.

Practical applications

Due to lots of new contents and a developed structure, we put the focus on the most important applications of the software: Knowledge and Quality Management. With the new navigation these topics are found immediately and new users can see the usefulness and the practical effects of the BlueSpice software from the beginning on.

If you don’t want to miss illustrative flow charts or process maps within your Wiki, try the new Demo version. It shows perfectly what the BlueSpice pro software for MediaWiki is able to do.

Using Semantics

New features and a lot of additional semantic information provide the user a variety of options for different queries. There is for example a query, which gives you a list of documents for Quality Management. These documents can be used to accelerate processes, improve workflow and guarantee a high quality of work.

A variety of queries can simplify your work, for example for Quality Management.
A variety of queries can simplify your work, for example for Quality Management.

New BlueSpice function Flowchart Maker

The new BlueSpice Demo offers plenty of functions. Expand your articles by using graphics and videos, insert complex mathematical formula and add interactive elements like checklists or drop-down menus. From now on, you can also create and edit complex flow charts.

With the new Flowchart Maker, you have various possibilities of displaying processes or something similar. You might want to try this application with our example of the relocation of an IT employee.

The new flowchart maker offers various possibilities of displaying processes.
The new flowchart maker offers various possibilities of displaying processes.

Try it and see for yourself!

The new version of the BlueSpice Demo can be found here.

We are looking forward to your feedback.