Create a wiki – tips for starting your own wiki

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.

 

Lobbypedia platform in Germany - mission "lobbying criticism"
Lobbypedia platform in Germany – mission “lobbying criticism”

 

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. Continue Reading

Lightbox extension now in the BlueSpice shop

View images with the Lightbox
View images with the Lightbox

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.

This extension is available in our BlueSpice shop.

Collecting and distributing an organisation’s knowledge: Knowledge management and QM at ASIS GmbH – a use case

A part of the exchange station for abrasive materials from ASIS GmbH
A part of the exchange station for abrasive materials from ASIS GmbH

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. Continue Reading

Security release 2.23.1.1, and how to report vulnerabilities

Yesterday, we published the security release BlueSpice 2.23.1.1. Community user Frederic Mohr had reported a severe cross-site-scripting vulnerability with the Shoutbox, where arbitrary JavaScript code could be inserted in the box and would be executed on each page load. The fix he provided contains a minor change in the input handling. The new release fixes this vulnerability. There’s also a patch available for BlueSpice 2.23.1. The monthly release also contains the patch. Downloads and patches can be found at Sourceforge.

We highly recommend to update or patch your existing BlueSpice installations.

I want to thank Frederic for his support! And I’d like to take this chance to sketch out how we handle vulnerability reports. Usually, bugs are reported in our public forum. However, reporting a security related issue also means publishing the vulnerability right away, without giving us the chance to patch the software. Because of this, I ask you to report security issues directly to me by email: glaser@hallowelt.com. If possible, please encrypt the actual description of the vulnerability with GPG. My public key can be found on the MIT keyserver. We will then contact you, verify the vulnerability and provide a patch. After the patch is released, we will request a CVE number to have this properly documented. Of course, credits for finding the vulnerability go to the person that reported it.

Relaunch of the BlueSpice Website

BlueSpice Website
BlueSpice Website

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?
  • I really like this MediaWiki distribution how can I join the BlueSpice community?
  • Which companies are already using BlueSpice – do you have some references?
  • I want to cooperate with BlueSpice as a partner – is it possible?

Have fun discovering the BlueSpice website: https://bluespice.com/

A Wiki for the Amazon Web Services – Launch BlueSpice in the Amazon Cloud now

AWS-Cloud-mit-BlueSpice200pxAmazon 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

1. Call up the BlueSpice page in the Marketplace and – if you don´t have one already – create an account

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

3AWS-OneClickLaunch

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.

If you need support for booking please contact the Amazon Web Services or Orbitera.

Background information about the Amazon Web Services

Popular packages for BlueSpice 2.23.x in the shop for self-installation

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!

Knowledge platform for service and support processes – cooperation with marillabax

Since the beginning of 2015 we welcome service specialist marillabax as a partner at Hallo Welt!
With marillabax we develop a wiki that is not only functionally, but also matches perfectly to the content-related needs of service and support employees. The result of this partnership is called „b-know“, and it is introduced on CeBIT 2015.

Radovan Kubani and Marilla Bax raising mugs to the cooperation at CeBIT 15
Radovan Kubani and Marilla Bax raising mugs to the cooperation at CeBIT

Ms. Bax explains:

When companies talk about service and support, they often mean their telephone or e-mail hotline or when the service technician is solving problems right away.
This is why service is still considered as a necessary but unpopular cost center. Successful companies are demonstrating how service can be more than a cost driver – namely a customer oriented department which supports competitive differentiation and adds value to the company.

To achieve this, a lot of companies buy elaborative consulting processes or expensive training initiatives.
b-know is an internal, wiki-based knowledge platform for all service and support processes and the necessary expertise knowledge. With the help of b-know, companies can reorganize their service and position themselves as customer oriented. All concerned parties have quick access to the expert knowledge, handbooks or FAQ’s they need – this is knowledge management at its best.

Knowledge management in service and support

b-know is available for three industries: IT companies, IT organisations and mechanical engineering. For those industries you will get predefined templates and best practices as a basis, which you can adapt according your needs. New processes can be easily implemented. With the help of b-know companies can profile their service organization much more efficiently, structured and with a higher quality. As a result they save costs and gain additional sales in service and support.

b-know is based on the wiki platform BlueSpice developed by Hallo Welt! and enriched with special service handbooks and contents from marillabax.
More information on the BlueSpice website.

BlueSpice 2.23.1 – Patch Release for the Free Enterprise MediaWiki

Today we released BlueSpice 2.23.1 on sourceforge. This is a patch release which you can download on sourceforge.net.

However we focused on bugfixing there are also some notable new features:

  • Database: added experimental SQLite compatibility
  • ExtensionInfo: Added link to Mediawiki version page
  • Shoutbox: mentions of users with @ now possible and with ajax autocomplete
  • SmartList: Added mode “whatlinkshere”

In the BlueSpice helpdesk you will find detailed release notes as well as the installation manual and update manual.