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Migrating data to BlueSpice MediaWiki

In short interviews with our employees we illuminate aspects and questions of our daily work with BlueSpice and our customers. This article deals with the topic of data migration. An Interview with Robert Vogel, Team Lead Product and Software Development at Hallo Welt! GmbH. Continue Reading

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A powerful online resource for digital marketing

The Munich software company Ryte has been using a BlueSpice 3 wiki from Hallo Welt! GmbH for its reference work on digital marketing. The resources maintained in this way are regularly cited in academic theses and make up a large part of the sessions logged on the Ryte website.

“At the start, our developers simply built and maintained a wiki just for us. We had nothing like we have now,” explains Pauline Mitifiot. She is a marketing expert at Ryte GmbH in Munich, a SaaS (Software as a Service) company founded in 2012. Now, Ryte’s wiki has become an important treasury, a leading online resource of its type. In February 2018, the encyclopaedia was transferred to a BlueSpice MediaWiki wiki from Hallo Welt! GmbH. The reason: “the wiki had started to consume too much of our developers’ time and energy. And we needed them to concentrate fully on our product,” said Mitifiot.

 

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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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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.

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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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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 🙂