It is crucial for organizations that the documentation in their wiki is stored in a comprehensible and revision-proof manner. BlueSpice MediaWiki now supports you in the balancing act between traceability and data protection. Against the background of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), we have revised our enterprise wiki software with regard to the protection of personal data.
The GDPR defines a number of basic rights that are also relevant for BlueSpice MediaWiki users:
Information: Users have the right to know what data about them is stored in the system.
Data portability: Users must be able to extract the data stored on a platform and transfer it to another system.
Correction, erasure or blocking: Users may request or arrange for their data to be corrected. They may also request the deletion or blocking of access to their data.
Forgetting: It must be possible to cancel the linking / assignment of data to individual users.
Consent: Users must be able to give their differentiated consent to the storage and use of their data.
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:
The installation of wikis and quality control of the wiki software is still generally done by hand. Obviously, this increases the costs for the customers. And the software producers do not find this repetitive work much fun either. Continue Reading
With BlueSpice 3, we replace the previous VisualEditor with the MediaWiki VisualEditor, which some people will already know from Wikipedia. This leads to questions, for example: Why are we changing now? What potential does the editor have? And what is the situation with real-time editing? Continue Reading
Everything used to be simple: database queries for structured data and full-text search functions were conceived separately. But that is now history. In new search engines, metadata can be searched for much more selectively. These new possibilities blur the distinction between a database query and a search function. What does this mean for the technological development of wikis? Continue Reading
We are currently fitting out the new Version 3 of BlueSpice with a new search engine. So this is a good opportunity to explain what actually happens in a search engine and why we have decided to make this change. Continue Reading
This blog post is worth reading: G. Brett Miller attended our webinar and summarizes perfectly, how WebDAV provides a much user friendly experience for uploading and working with files on MediaWiki: WebDAV and MediaWiki.
Communication and notification – the end of the classical discussion pages
Another MediaWiki construction site is delivering good news: The MediaWiki Communication System. This concerns the discussion pages. These will soon disappear, in the form we know them now. More precisely: The discussions pages will fundamentally change and merge with the notification system.
The reconstruction of the MediaWiki communications system will take place through two new extensions:
Echo allows the individual following of changes, gives an overview of the whole system and is a framework for a variety of communication services. Echo is already in Wikipedia as a new notification system.
Flow makes discussion easier. One can more easily follow discussion processes; answers are shown via Echo. And much more. The aim of these developments is to build up a modern discussion and collaboration system for all Wikimedia projects. An interactive prototype is already online.
Anyone who has written or improved Wikipedia articles in the last few years, already knows about the Visual Editor, which has now reached a certain maturity. (See the post by Nathalie Köpff on this subject). Creating such an editor is a big project. Unlike other web applications, an editor for Wikipedia must not only work with different languages (for example right to left languages), but also be able to process the multitude of wiki functions, the template system, the magic words and many more things besides. So for this, the wiki text parser Parsoid needed to get a totally new technological basis. As Wikipedia develops further through web standards (browsers, protocols, languages), the task will remain a complex one for a long time. However, it is also a rewarding project which has significance for the whole web community – as, for example, no commercial provider would develop an editor for over 100 languages and make it available for free.
Nevertheless, the project is still controversial in the Wikimedia community to this day. This is partly because the introduction of the editor has lead to significant complications. The editor was simply not ready to use when it was implemented for the first time.
The scepticism in the community towards the editor, however, also has to do with the fact that its increasing use allows for a wide reaching dropping of Wikitext. What, for some, is a good opportunity is, for others, a loss of design potential. As up to now, it was possible to build many small tools with the standard resources (for example templates or overview lists). Even simple formatting is significantly more efficient for experienced wiki text users.
However, over time, Wiki code, which should make editing easier, has almost had the opposite effect. Editing a wiki article needs a certain amount of experience and skill. This is, however, not sensible, as many hand-made functions can be done more elegantly with corresponding extensions.
A great deal of identity and a bit of wiki philosophy is attached to the transition to the visual editor. For some wiki authors, it may be a restriction, but for the wiki world outside Wikipedia, it is a great leap forward. The standard ways of using wikis have changed; most wikis work in much less complex ways than Wikipedia, which has always been a special case with its own particular demands. For this reason, a native visual editor is a long overdue step for many MediaWiki users. It is necessary so that wikis can be used to build up new free knowledge hubs on the web.
Simultaneous editing of texts
A further, very ambitious project was introduced at Wikimania 2014. The aim is to enable the simultaneous editing of texts, that one already knows from Google Docs. This has been considered for a long time. However, the necessary resources for the project were not there. Now, the Deputy Director of the Wikimedia Foundation, Erik Möller, has announced that the first prototype should already be available in a year. This is very exciting news.
Two points are not being discussed at the moment, but could become important in the future.
Speech2Text: Texts in wikis should be increasingly possible to dictate. “Speech2Text” is developing into a standard as the speech recognition software has made great strides in the last few years. We will see that speech-control can be performed in Google search.
Draft function: On top of this, a real draft function is needed for MediaWiki. Every trust and NGO with local groups needs to be able to develop texts for projects, for example. Up to now, they have been diverted to Google Docs or Etherpad. But these two applications are totally inappropriate for the public collection of knowledge for a number of reasons.
For this reason there should finally be the chance in MediaWikis to edit a first drafts with just a small circle of authors before the text is released generally.
Overall, we at Hallo Welt! see this development as very positive as MediaWiki will become more user friendly. Using it will be more intuitive and working with the editor more stable. Our enterprise distribution will take these developments on, customise them and make sure they are continually developed.