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.

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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 switches over to Elasticsearch

Diego Delso, Biblioteca Vasconcelos, Ciudad de México, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

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

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

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:

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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!