Browse Author by RichardHeigl

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

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

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

Coming soon with BlueSpice 3 – a look at the road map

640px-Traffic_seen_from_top_of_Arc_de_Triomphe
BrokenSphere, Street traffic in the Place de l’Étoile as seen from the top of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France, GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC BY-SA 2.5-2.0-1.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

I can hardly believe it: the current version of BlueSpice, BlueSpice 2, will be four years old this year. It feels like just a few months ago that we announced Version 2. Anyway, it is now time to start thinking about a new version and to continue writing the road map.

At Hallo Welt! we have spent the last months collecting ideas, and checking and weighting requirements.

At our yearly strategy meeting, Markus Glaser presented his technical plan. So now it is official that we will publish a new BlueSpice Version 3 in the first quarter of 2018. The road map for our new MediaWiki distribution contains essential innovations and improvements we have wanted for a long time. BlueSpice 3 will achieve a new level of stability and flexibility. Continue Reading

MediaWiki Governance Revisited

At the Wikimania 2016 in Esino Lario I saw two interesting talks about MediaWiki community and governance issues. They are worth listening!

Quim Gil, Engineering Community Manager at the Wikimedia Foundation, was Analyzing conflict and possible solutions around WMF software development. He gave some helpful hints for community members and developers.

Quims slides can be found here.

Markus Glaser, Managing Engineer for BlueSpice and Member of the MediaWiki Stakeholders’ Group, discussed approaches for a future MediaWiki governance and suggested to establish a focussed organisation, which integrates the requirements of third-party users into the MediaWiki development:
Moving out of Home – MediaWiki Governance Revisited.

Markus’ slides can be found here:

Waiting for your comments 🙂

BlueSpice free 2.23.3 – stable released

Finally: on Tuesday, 31st May 2016, we released the stable version of BlueSpice 2.23.3. We managed to keep our deadline 🙂

Download it here at Sourceforge.

Although it is only a “minor and maintenance” release, we include some pretty helpful features, both in BlueSpice free and BlueSpice pro.

Here are some notable new features of BlueSpice free 2.23.3:

  • Compatibility: BlueSpice can now be used with MediaWiki 1.27.
  • BlueSpice API: There is now a standardized API for many BlueSpice actions.
  • ContextMenu: The extension is now enabled by default.
  • Dashboards: There is a wiki page portlet, which allows you to use any wiki page as a dashboard item. Create your own portlets!
  • ExtendedSearch: Introduces facet operators, which indicate whether multiple selections in a facet should be combined using AND or OR logic. It is now also possible to open articles in the autocomplete list in new windows or tabs.
  • Flexiskin: It is now possible to disable the background image.
  • GroupManager: Raised group name character limit from 16 to 255.
  • InsertMagic: Tag descriptions are now much more descriptive.
  • PermissionManager: Add hint flyout for every right.
  • Upload: XML and SVG files can now be uploaded by default.
  • UserMerge: Added extension to Distribution. Allows you to merge various users into one.
  • UserSidebar: There is now a “global actions” navigation tab for every user.
  • VisualEditor: Set default style for table to contenttable. This makes much nicer tables…

We also added some great new MediaWiki extensions to BlueSpice pro, e.g.

  • TagCloud: Use TagClouds to display e.g. categories
  • ExportTables: Export your wiki tables to Excel
  • Drawio: Include diagrams in BlueSpice
  • Duplicator: Duplicate articles easily
  • Math: Use mathematical forms

… and many more!

You can read the detailed release notes in our BlueSpice Helpdesk.

BlueSpice free 2.23.3 – Beta released

On Tuesday, 10th May 2016, we released BlueSpice free 2.23.3-beta, a minor and maintenance version.

Download it here at Sourceforge.

As it’s still a beta version – the final release is scheduled for the end of May – we need YOU to put it to the acid test. Please report bugs, patches and other feedback to our Sourceforge Forums. Any feedback is appreciated 🙂

Here are some notable new features of BlueSpice free 2.23.3:

  • Compatibility: BlueSpice can now be used with MediaWiki 1.27.
  • BlueSpice API: There is now a standardized API for many BlueSpice actions.
  • ContextMenu: The extension is now enabled by default.
  • Dashboards: There is a wiki page portlet, which allows you to use any wiki page as a dashboard item. Create your own portlets!
  • ExtendedSearch: Introduces facet operators, which indicate whether multiple selections in a facet should be combined using AND or OR logic. It is now also possible to open articles in the autocomplete list in new windows or tabs.
  • Flexiskin: It is now possible to disable the background image.
  • GroupManager: Raised group name character limit from 16 to 255.
  • InsertMagic: Tag descriptions are now much more descriptive.
  • PermissionManager: Add hint flyout for every right.
  • Upload: XML and SVG files can now be uploaded by default.
  • UserMerge: Added extension to Distribution. Allows you to merge various users into one.
  • UserSidebar: There is now a “global actions” navigation tab for every user.
  • VisualEditor: Set default style for table to contenttable. This makes much nicer tables…

You can read the detailed release notes in our BlueSpice Helpdesk.