View Post

Relaunch of the 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/

View Post

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!

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

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.

A new model for BlueSpice

BlueSpice Website

We set ourselves a couple of goals for 2015 and 2016 at our strategy meeting at the start of January. The most important ones relate to the MediaWiki distribution BlueSpice. We are making this successful product truly open source, offering new prospects for customers and partners.

100% subscription, one product, no more modules.

We have been developing the BlueSpice service model further and further over the last five years. In the future, BlueSpice will be made available in an integrated distribution. This means that the additional modules that require payment will be collected together in a single edition. Customers will thus be able to use all the modules from the outset. And, above all, you will gain tremendously from new developments as all our latest innovations will be contained in this distribution. This means that those new developments will always be available for subscribing customers whenever they want. This will save you the trouble of having to purchase them separately. Furthermore, as there will no longer be costs for each module, getting started with a professional solution will be significantly better value.

In parallel, there will still be the popular distribution BlueSpice free, which is downloaded 20,000 times a year, and used in over 130 countries and more than 20 languages. The free distribution contains the same scope of services as before, and remains the ideal first step in collaborative knowledge management.

Supporting growth and propagation

Why are we doing this? Firstly, because now we can. The major Linux distributions Red Hat and Suse have always been the examples we have followed: The best open source models for customers and developers are made in the Linux environment. However, moving away from project business and without outside capital, we are only now able to take this step.
Another reason is that we want to build the best open source wiki with new partners. This is only possible with extensive openness, technically and economically. The module system has been good for us and our customers. However, it is now blocking us from developing MediaWiki further into the most popular Wiki software for businesses. A module system will become too complex and opaque for customers and developers as we grow further. Also, we do not want to lose our way in administration, but rather to concentrate on development, integration and quality assurance.

Radically open source

For this reason too, we are radically opening the development to external developers. They can, from this year, contribute to all BlueSpice extensions, including those which had been previously unavailable. In this way, we open up the project for other developers, accelerate the programming and improve quality assurance.
Last but not least, BlueSpice should become more compatible with SemanticMediaWiki (SMW) so that customers and partners need no longer decide whether to choose SMW or BlueSpice. Using both is already a possibility. But, by the end of the year both worlds should interlock better.

It will be a busy and interesting year. The new version will already be ready for examination and ordering at Cebit. We have already set out the stages which will follow this. We will be moving towards an ecosystem, which is a familiar concept from other open source projects.

We look forward to all your support and cooperation.

Meta page of an image
View Post

MediaWiki Images – What you need to know about uploading and inserting images

Images and screenshots are an essential part of the content. The visualization of content supports the understanding and the motivation to spend time on the text. But how can I upload pictures in MediaWiki and how do I insert it in an article? I will show you three ways how to display the pictures in your article – one in an original MediaWiki and two in BlueSpice. Also I will give you some background information on images in MediaWiki.

1. Uploading and inserting pictures in MediaWiki

If you are using a “normal” MediaWiki, you need to do two steps on two different places in the wiki. First, you have to upload the image with a tool on a special page and then it must be inserted in the article(s).

Upload:

There is a so-called special page, which enables you to upload an image. This special page can be found at “Special:Upload”. There is also a link in the listed tools, which are mostly located in the navigation. Open this page and you will see the uploading tool from MediaWiki.

Special page to upload files
Special page to upload files

Browse your files and choose the image you want to upload. Click “Upload file” to save the picture in your wiki. Keep the file name in mind – you will need it to find the right file when inserting it in an article. A good advice is, to name the file with a descriptive file name, which means that the file names describes what is seen on the picture. A file with the title “DIC2009.jpg” can hardly be found later and other users won´t know what kind of picture this is.

Inserting images articles:

This is the tricky part. Call up the article you want to insert the picture in. Switch to the edit mode and place your cursor at the position where the picture should be shown. Insert the following code there:

[[File:Name_of_the_image.jpg]]

This is the first step – the image has been inserted in the article and is displayed there. Now you can choose between several parameters to configure the image, e.g. the size of the picture, alignment, if it should be shown as a thumb and so on. Decide what parameters you want and add it in the code, separated with straight lines (a so-called “Pipes”) after the name of the image. This is, for example, the code for a thumb with the size 200px, which is placed on the left side of the text:

Alignment left, right, center, none Defines, where in the text the image is placed (text flow)
Decoration thumb, frame Thumb and frame
Size 200px Set the size of the image in pixel (the picture will be scaled automatically)
Linking link=https://www.target_page.de Set a link (if no link is set, a click on the image automatically opens the meta page of the image)
Caption text Insert a description The caption will only be displayed, when the image is configured as a thumb, otherwise the description will be shown by mouseover

 

Example of MediaWiki syntax for images
Example of MediaWiki syntax for images

For further details about how to represent images in other ways take a look at the Wikipedia picture tutorial.

2. Upload and insert images with a dialogue

BlueSpice is a free Open Source MediaWiki distribution. It is installed on top of a MediaWiki. The content stays the same, but BlueSpice is well-designed, user-friendly and brings along some useful additional features. In the gratis version BlueSpice free, inter alia the InsertImage dialogue. With this little helper, you don´t need to cope with the wiki syntax anymore. You can insert a picture very comfortable and it also enables you to upload an image directly in the article you are editing and without changing to the upload page of MediaWiki.

Dialogue for inserting, uploading and scaling images in BlueSpice
Dialogue for inserting, uploading and scaling images in BlueSpice

This is how it works:

Switch to the editing mode of the article you want to insert the image at. Click on the symbol for the InsertImage dialogue. An extra window opens up and provides an upload button. Click on it to browse your files and to choose an image file for uploading. You can also add a description or a category for the image. Confirm your choice with “OK” and the file will be automatically uploaded to your wiki. After this, you can also do further adjustment of the wiki in this dialogue, e.g. set size, alignment and linkings. Confirm with “OK” again and the image is integrated in your article.

3. Upload and insert images with drag & drop or copy & paste

This functionality also requires BlueSpice and in addition to this, the fee required package BlueSpice [paste image]. You can get it in the BlueSpice Shop or in the subscription BlueSpice pro.

Drag and drop images into a wiki page
Drag and drop images into a wiki page

Open the article you want to insert the image at in the editing mode. If you want to include a picture from the clipboard, place the cursor at the position where it should be shown and press Ctrl+v. Or choose an image file in your explorer, hold it with pressed left mouse button and move it to the appropriate position in your article. The InsertImage dialogue opens, like described in chapter 2. Define your settings for the picture and confirm with “OK”. The image will be uploaded and inserted in the article.

 

Meta page and administration of images in MediaWiki and BlueSpice

Images are usually uploaded and stored in the “file” namespace. Users often detect an uploaded image as a normal content article in this namespace. Click on an image in any article and (if there is no other linking) you will be redirected to this meta page of the image.

Meta page of an image
Meta page of an image

Here you will find information on resolution and size, as well as links to the articles the image is used at. By the way, images and files are also versioned, so on the meta page you will find the versioning for this image. If you click on “Upload a new version of this file” you can upload a new file with the same file name and overwrite the old image with the new one. The image will be updated automatically in every article it is used at. Of course you can also do a roll-back.

In MediaWiki there are also special pages that create special lists related to images. Just call up one of the following special pages by inserting them in the URL behind the slash e.g. “mywiki.com/index.php/Special:Upload”

  • Spezial:Upload – Call up the upload tool
  • Special:MostLinkedFiles – List of files that are used very often
  • Special:ListFiles – This special page shows all uploaded files of the wiki. Search for certain files here.
  • Special:NewFiles – This special page shows the last uploaded files
  • Special:UncategorizedFiles – Shows files without an assigned category

To find out more on the technical administration please have a look at mediawiki.org.

View Post

Advent calendar 24: Create a category cloud

24-Advent-Calendar-Category-Cloud

The CategoryTree is a nice feature to list all categories and to give your users an overview of the topics in your wiki.  But if you are using BlueSpice, it also provides a tag cloud for categories, which looks more fancy and can be configured and designed like the minimum font size, the increase factor, background or you can exclude categories from the tag cloud. To include the standard tag cloud in an article, just insert

<tagcloud></tagcloud>

at the position where it should be displayed.

The style definition is placed in the opening tag, e.g. <tagcloud style=”background:black;”> and the definition of the output can be written between the two tags, for example:
<tagcloud>
exclude=products, templates
min_size=55

</tagcloud>

Read about the capabilities how to configure the tag cloud in our helpdesk article.

View Post

Advent calendar 23: Provide a dynamic view of the wiki’s category structure as a category tree

23-Advent-Calendar-Category-Tree

 

In BlueSpice and MediaWiki you can display the category system as a category tree. With the category tree, the user gets an insight into the structure and the yet available categories and articles. To insert a category tree into any wiki page please use the categorytree-tag and one of the existing categories from which the category tree shall start. In this example it is top level

<categorytree>Top_Level</categorytree>

There is also a special page for displaying the category tree – just call up “Special:CategoryTree”.  This page provides a form where you can type in the category you want to be shown. You also have the choice whether all pages of the category, only the category (with subcategories if available) or all pages except the files should be shown.

For more detailed information and attributs for the categorytree-tag please have a look at mediawiki.org.