This little helper from MediaWiki enables administrators to search and replace words or text passages. The changes can be done in the content of wiki articles and in article titles. Fast and easy, because the modifications will automatically be made in all relevant articles.
Special page to search and replace single words or text passages in articles
Search and replace in article titles
Usage of placeholders and regular expressions
“Replace text” has been tested to be operational for MediaWiki and BlueSpice by the BlueSpice developer Hallo Welt!
We released BlueSpice 2.23.2 – a minor and maintenance release. This is the first release of BlueSpice with the new “BlueSpice pro” subscription. Of course the free version “BlueSpice free” is still available on sourceforge.
BlueSpice free is the free wiki version of BlueSpice that can be downloaded at sourceforge.
Notable new features in BlueSpice free 2.23.2:
Update of notification system
Improved logging of actions, e.g. assign responsibility or changes in rights setup
Added ImageMapEdit: create image maps very easy by using the dialogue provided at the meta page of an image
BlueSpice is now compatible with MediaWiki’s VisualEditor
BlueSpice pro 2.23.2
BlueSpice pro is a subscription that contains patches and updates of provided functions, continious expanding of the functions (for Standard and Premium subscriptions) and professional product support.
Notable new features in BlueSpice pro 2.23.2:
All features and changes like in BlueSpice free
Integration of Semantic MediaWiki and BlueSpice e.g. enable Semantic in the namespace manager
Integration of ServiceCenter: add search portals to the wiki; enable/disable category check functionality in the namespace manager
Bookmaker new feature: create “own books” (personal books are stored as a subpage of the user page)
Rating: Implemented grid filters to special page “rating”
Creating your own Wikipedia is not at all difficult. It does not matter if you want it to concentrate on a specific theme, or if you want to create a wiki for your town or company; the basic considerations are very similar at the start. Here are some tips on what to take into account when you create a wiki. As it needs “green fingers” and a suitable environment. Although one only has a limited impact on group processes as an individual fan of wikis, there are a few elementary basic rules which will help.
Wikis need “missions”
Consider in advance what you want to achieve with your wiki. Is there a large enough target audience who are sufficiently interested? This is important, as you will need to find engaged authors who will fill the wiki with content and keep it alive. The “wiki effect” can only occur when the system is integrated into a larger overall context. This means that the wiki needs to help to solve pressing problems in a group or be a medium for constructive processes of change.
Wikis demand a great deal from those involved: They need to formulate their thoughts, independently develop organisational systems, create rules and keep to them. For this reason, wikis are only used when they cover a need and one can detect a practical use for the user. This can be a reduction in the daily routine work, particularly in businesses and other organisations. Alternatively it can be the simplification and acceleration of working procedures. It may also, however, be recognition from your colleagues or the creation of a collaborative working atmosphere. Wikis help, for example, to reduce the volume of circular mails. This leaves more time to concentrate on the more involved questions. The prime example, Wikipedia, owes its success not least to the circumstances surrounding it: Before Wikipedia, search engines did not really give a truly central starting point for internet research.
In public wikis, the relevance is often due to the importance of a theme of a (large) number of interested parties. Thus, for example, the Frankenwiki is a wiki which primarily appeals to residents of the Franconia. If there are enough authors within this group to create good content, then the wiki can aim for a wide impact and, for example, be valuable for tourists.
Do not aim straight away to be Wikipedia
Make realistic estimates of the probable scale of the wiki project. There is a difference if the wiki is a medium for a team or a small group, or whether it is for a larger group with somewhere over about 30 members. For the latter, it is no longer possible for everyone to communicate with everyone else directly. Small groups form, just like in other public spaces – like a Vienna coffee house, where you sit privately but can also be seen. This means, for the wiki, that an individual can no longer take care of the whole project. This also means, however, that for small groups, for example, because of the small number of participants, spelling mistakes may not be corrected and perhaps moderators will be needed.
An empty wiki stays an empty wiki
Even where a system ensures full freedom, a wiki should display a structure in advance for the contents. This can be done by creating templates, for example. You make things much easier for the future wiki authors, if you organise the site roughly in advance. Also, create some example articles. Seeding a wiki means creating a picture of how the texts can be written and setting up an initial organisational structure which can then be developed. Introductory workshops can accelerate the important explanatory processes, at least for a core group in the wiki.
In public wikis, which tend to be set up more anonymously, it is a good idea to provide, for example, introductory videos or webinars (e.g. GoogleHangouts), in order to answer questions and explain procedures.
…keep it simple
This point concerns both instructions on procedures and also the necessity to agree on certain basic rules. This is very sensible. Too many technical features, regulations and categorisations can choke off the creativity which should unfold in a wiki. Also user friendliness is important here, and simple usability of the wiki software is essential. User friendliness functions are the prerequisite for animating the users, giving them the enthusiasm to write. This involves, amongst other things, a visual editor (WYSIWYG) so that the users can write without using wiki code, NS good search function so that contents can be found again easily.
Enable engaging and lively contents
It does not matter if it is a company wiki or a public one, the more the wiki engages the users, the more motivation will be generated. This applies for the design, which should be clear and uncongested and support the usability. However, it also applied to the contents. You need to make sure that pictures can be uploaded and inserted into articles as easily as possible. The wiki should also be able to be readily integrated with online services such as Google Maps, GPSies, (Youtube) videos and audio files.
Such functions make the contents more useful, particularly for town and region wikis. In general, you can also consider integrating your wiki into Facebook, the blog software WordPress, or many other options.
Let it grow
Trust is important in the “social web”. Nothing will work in a wiki without confidence and trust. If someone wants to keep complete control over the process, they are more likely to suffocate it. The responsibility for the process lies with the participants. Wikis open up a certain level of freedom to organise work processes in a sensible way yourself, away from rigid regulations. If a group process requires a majority of workers because they are to take on the conceptual work, then they will only do this if they have a clear prospect of implementation. And: If they are really involved and have control over the process.
This is similar for public wikis: the committed users sacrifice a large part of their free time. This should be appreciated, among other ways by allowing them to have a say. Other possible ways of showing the value you place on their contributions should be considered, in order to keep the levels of motivation high.
Technology – choosing the right system
Once you are clear about your basic structures, then you should scrutinise your technology. The various wiki systems differ significantly in their capabilities and extendibility. Do you have the right environment, a site host or will you place your wiki in the cloud? Furthermore, features and connections play an important role. The wiki should be pleasant to work with and clearly designed, and users should ideally find their feet in the system by themselves quickly and easily. When you chose your wiki software, take note of whether there is a comprehensive, publicly available help desk. Find out about how suitable it is for your users, but also for your administrators.
It is best to get a group together to think out your objectives and how they are to be realised. Involving more people will give you more points of view and so you will be able to avoid the pitfalls more easily. Look around for wikis which fit your requirements.
We recommend the Wikipedia software “MediaWiki” due to its worldwide acceptance and to it having the largest community of developers. If you want to “spruce up” the system, should certainly take a look at the free wiki “BlueSpice free“.
How to create a wiki easily and cast-effective? Try BlueSpice in the Amazon Cloud (Amazon Web Services), and you can start it up in just a few steps. When it comes to the conception and introduction of wikis, it is often not as trivial as is might first seem. So talk to experts like us at (Hallo Welt! – Medienwerkstatt GmbH), who have years of experience with wiki projects, for example about our conception workshops and training courses.
With the Lightbox extension it is possible to display thumbnail or image galleries as full-size images in a pop-up while the background is darkened. So with a click on an image you won’t be redirected to the image’s meta page. If you want to call-up the meta page of the image, please click on the window symbols in the thumbnail.
ASIS GmbH from Landshut works in the area of automation technology. This medium-sized company is focused on surface engineering for the car industry. ASIS develops and produces, amongst other things, painting and grinding finishing systems. They currently have about 120 employees.
I spoke with Jana Timinger, Technical Editor at ASIS GmbH, about how knowledge and quality management have changed as the firm has grown.
Ms Timinger, ASIS has experienced many changes in the last few years. What challenges have these changes brought with them?
We have grown from 70 employees to 120 in just a few years. As well as this, we have two locations, and many members of staff who work a great deal out and about, or at customers’ premises. This means that we always have to consider the question: How we can organise teamwork over these distances properly, for example for projects in which planners from several locations collaborate. Put most generally: How can we keep all members of staff informed of important information on a regular basis, and how can documents be centrally accessible and findable? Our previous data storage structure was not ideal for meeting these challenges.
What made you want to find a system to meet these challenges? And what were your requirements for such a system?
The first thing that set us off was quality management. For this, we had documents in a type of intranet. This was not particularly convenient, and we were not happy with it because things were often filed twice and our members of staff could not access the documents easily. In addition, our technical departments wanted to be able to keep their knowledge centrally so that it was available for everyone in that department, but also for everyone across the company. Word documents disappear too easily and too quickly somewhere on the server – they are not really able to be found again.
Now, our quality management is completely documented in the wiki and we have set up subportals for our individual departments, in which the technical departments can place and stress relevant information and news.
We also had, previously, an organisational handbook in word with company-internal rules, pictures of employees and suchlike. This has been brought completely into the wiki too.
The main requirement we had for the new solution was that it was easily accessible for anyone who needed to read it. Being able to find documents and information again needed to be much better (for example via a full text search) and it was also particularly important to prevent data being saved redundantly. We also wanted that everyone who wanted to contribute could do so without barriers being in their way.
ASIS has used the wiki software BlueSpice since Summer 2014. Which departments are involved and who is responsible for the wiki and its contents?
We have a person responsible for the general care and organisation of the wiki, who is also the point of contact for other members of staff. That is me.
Our IT department deal with the technical part, of course, but the system needs very little effort to maintain after the implementation. The technical departments, like, for example, electrical and mechanical design engineering, however, create content independently, content which they want to document and simply make known more widely within the company.
Of course, any member of staff can also suggest content which he or she would like to have in the system – and naturally, every member of staff can also place material there themselves. We have consciously decided on a very flat rights system so that theoretically every member of staff in every area can contribute to every area except for quality management. Writing is also allowed from one department to another because it is often the case that, for example, a member of the software department has knowledge which is also interesting for design engineering.
And the last area, for the present, is administration, which looks after the contents of the organisational handbook.
Am I right in saying that you have taken quality management under your wings?
That’s right. We are certified under ISO 9001, and I look after the documentation for quality management. We have moved this area to the wiki completely. We use Semantic here and almost completely avoid Word documents as in the wiki we can read metadata like ‘creator’ and ‘inspector’ easily and in an organised way, and evaluate it. This is a significant improvement. One can get an overview with just one click. This is also excellent for auditing. And maintenance will be significantly easier in the future.
Many companies do not make good estimations about the effort and planning involved in the introduction of such a system. Could you describe the phases to me please, from the planning right up to the current situation today?
Well, from the determination of the criteria and requirements up to the first workshop with Mr Heigl from Hallo Welt! and the final decision to use the wiki software BlueSpice was about three months. After this there were about two months in which the solution was realised technically and the first user training sessions took place. Alongside this training for the key users, we also carried out internal training in order to involve lots of members of staff as soon as possible so that they could get to know the system. After this, we transferred existing content into the wiki. This took about 3-4 months as we had to transfer some areas completely into the wiki, for example the whole of the quality management and administration areas. We tried to make the existing documents and procedures unnecessary as quickly as possible so that everything really can be found in the wiki and Word and Excel documents are superfluous.
Currently, we have 1,337 articles in the wiki and we are very happy with this “first version”. However, we still have a lot we want to do – there is still a lot of content which sooner or later should be relocated to the wiki. We have some clean up operations lined up for this, and working out what is best to be put in the wiki. By the way, it’s quite funny but one of the most popular pages in the wiki is the cafeteria plan and the telephone list.
What has changes with the wiki over the year it has been running?
It is very helpful that the material is kept in one place, as for most questions that people have, you can refer them to the wiki. There are, for example, IT tips in the wiki already, so that the standard questions do not have to be constantly answered individually. This saves time and avoids annoying people. A lot of information and things which seem like details, such as pictures of our members of staff, are now much more easily available via this location. The contents of the organisational handbook are also enhanced by the wiki and are looked at more often.
It is also very good that employees who are travelling also find out what has happened when they return, what the news is – a lot of information is now visible when before it often disappeared. Also, previously emails were often sent which, of course, would not reach colleagues who joined later. So the wiki is a point of reference for many questions which new colleagues have.
What lessons have you learned during the introduction and implementation of such a knowledge and quality project?
It was good that we transferred content very quickly and discontinued the other systems at the same time – this allowed us to avoid doubling. It also forced the people to look in the wiki. Unfortunately it is now still the case for some people that while they write in the wiki, they still save a “safety document” on the server – we need to prevent this more effectively.
The acceptance of the wiki is generally good. Almost all read the wiki, but writing is something else. Many still have inhibitions about writing in the wiki, because they are worried that the article might be too long or too short, or they are worried about making things worse or something similar. But when they have learned it once, the staff do use the wiki too. For this reason, I carried out targeted individual training for members of staff in key positions. And we continue to train our people to make them more familiar with the system. In particular, the departmental managers play an important role as they should set an example. And employees should not have to justify themselves when they document important knowledge in the wiki.
The year that has just passed, the first with the wiki, was very intensive. What is lined up in the future? A break?
Oh no, certainly not. Now we have the QM audit lined up, and then, above all, we will focus on the conversion to the new ISO standard. In parallel, we should bundle further content in the wiki so that more areas on the server can be decommissioned. And I will consider further how I can bring more people into the wiki, for example there is the newsletter from the general management in which, amongst other things, new employees are introduced. We could replace this with the blog which comes with the wiki. The wiki should be lively and this means it must continue to be regularly cared for.
We wish you continued success, and thank you for the interview.
Have you already seen our new website? No?! We hope you will like it as much as we do 😉
We have not only updated the content, but also redesigned the page and – last but not least – changed the domain to bluespice.com.
We tried to focus on frequent asked questions about BlueSpice to represent them in the website structure, e.g.:
What is BlueSpice pro and why should I subscribe? What costs and features do I have to expect?
What is the difference between BlueSpice free and BlueSpice pro?
What are common use cases and what features are important?
I want to start a company wiki and it seems like I need some help with installation, migration, structuring – does BlueSpice offer those services?
BlueSpice pro is awesome, but I need a special functionality and a few changes for the skin. Is it possible to customize BlueSpice?
Today we published our first “monthly” release. This means you can download a BlueSpice free version that reflects the recent stage of development. Please, be aware that the monthly release is for testing only! For productive use, please use releases that you will find directly in bluespice/files on sourceforge.
Amazon Web Services also offers the wiki engine BlueSpice now. Our American partner Orbitera provides BlueSpice in the free version in the Amazon Cloud. This means that you start your wiki with just a few clicks in the AWS Marketplace.
BlueSpice in the Marketplace of the Amazon Web Services
2. Enter your contact information (please also read the customer agreement, which is linked there)
3. Choose between “OneClick-Launch” and “Manual Launch” and the appropriate entries (instance, server area etc.). Then accept the terms and conditions and start the system with the Launch button
4. You will receive a confirmation in the system and and a confirmation mail with further information. To login to the wiki, use „WikiSysop“ as user and your „Instance ID“ as password
5. There you go (user and admin manuel for BlueSpice can be found in our BlueSpice Helpdesk)
BlueSpice is – as usual – not restricted in the number of users and you get the full range of functionality of the free version.
The advantage of the Amazon Cloud
The costs are low, because it will be charged per hour, e.g. the full usage with the smallest instance and the server location in Frankfurt/Germany costs only 18,25 Dollar per month. All about the instances and which one fits best for your demands can be read here. With AWS you are free to choose the server location – nine are currently available worldwide, two of them in the EU and one of those in Frankfurt / Germany. The pricing for the AWS usage depends inter alia on the server location.
If you don´t know BlueSpice, you can also test it in a 30 days free trial. You don´t have to pay for BlueSpice in this period of time, but the costs for the AWS usage will be charged anyway (from 9,36 $ for 30 days). Furthermore, AWS offers a free tier. Please pay attention to the offer terms.
By the way, we recommend BlueSpice in the Amazon Cloud especially for start-ups and small businesses. Those will not be bothered with administrational tasks and the system is scalable for the possibly growing requirements. Moreover, the Amazon Web Services offer a special start-up program you can take a look at.
Next to some packages for the older version BlueSpice 2.22.x, you can now purchase our most popular packages for BlueSpice 2.23.x in the BlueSpice shop e.g.
Teamwork: modul for reviews, approvals and workflows in a BlueSpice Wiki. Very important for quality assurance and in combination with the Reminder package you will keep articles up-to-date.
Bookmaker: combine single articles to an online handbook with an automatically generated chapter navigation. Convert complete books, single chapters or pages into the PDF format and export it including all attached files from the articles, a cover and a clickable table of contents!
WikiExplorer: browse, sort and filter content according to specific criteria. This is how you identify necessary tasks to administer content in the wiki.
VisualDiff: compare article versions with colored highlighting in three different views. This is how you detect even smallest changes at first glance.
Reminder: keep articles up-to-date, because the package reminds you after a certain time period to check the content and to revise it.
PasteImage: insert and upload images by using Drag & Drop and Copy & Paste
Choose those functionalities you need and combine them to your business wiki.
Just purchase, dowload, install and get started – all by yourself!