BlueSpice Featurelist 2016 online

Yesterday we published a new feature list. It was necessary to record the latest extensions. But we used the opportunity to mention a lot of important features that BlueSpice with MediaWiki as basis technology automatically includes: for example security features, many reporting functions and mobile device support.

These features have been neglected in the past, despite the fact that they show that MediaWiki is the leading system for collaborative knowledge systems for good reasons. Hallo Welt! assumed that these features are well known. Now we wanted to show that BlueSpice already includes in its standard what others advertise as an extra.

There are now 152 features grouped in 17 topics. We could have extended the list considerably, but we focused on the most important features in order to make decision-makers’ work easier.

This year Hallo Welt! will continue to expand  the extension pool of distributions and take important steps towards the integration of extensions. Of this steps our pro customers will benefit in the first place.

Moreover BlueSpice offers unique opportunities in order to develop its own products and customized solutions. These opportunities we will explain in more detail elsewhere, when it comes, for example, to the subject of technology partnerships.

Maybe another note: The feature list is not the same as the official extension list (software catalogue). The extension list shows which extensions are included in the distributions and are supported by us. The official extension list can still be found here.

Now I hope you enjoy studying BlueSpice features 2016. Comments and questions are of course always welcome.

BlueSpice in 2016

The last few months BlueSpice MediaWiki has had a great time. We see an increasing number of downloads. BlueSpice becomes more and more visible. And as a result of that, we win many new customers and are involved in incredibly interesting projects.

This makes it possible, and necessary, to push the BlueSpice project forward this year again. We have many ideas and tasks. I cannot share all the details yet, but for a start, here are some general announcements.

Firstly, we will publish two releases this year:

  • A maintenance and security release end of April and
  • A feature release end of this summer.

For BlueSpice free and pro the maintenance release 2.23.3 will support MediaWiki 1.27.0 (the next MediaWiki LTS version). For this release we have reviewed the interface security and we perfected some features (Bookmaker, PermissionManager e.a.). And we‘re going to add some more MediaWiki extensions to the distribution. Be surprised.

Some key improvements of the later feature release are already known. BlueSpice pro will support WebDAV in the third quarter of this year, which means one can edit attached files without the need to upload them separately. They will be stored directly in the wiki file system.

Furthermore we’re going to improve the usability: users will be able to find important special pages like the review page much easier. And we will smoothen the user interface and features, so that BlueSpice will become the perfect tool for all quality assurance processes.

Handling extensions will become more comfortable with an extension store. This is a large project, but we will take the first steps towards realization.

Overdue are some important tasks to nurture the BlueSpice community. A community hub is on the way. In addition, the helpdesk and documentation will be getting more attention.

Finally the partner program is to be enhanced.

A lot to do. But with your feedback and help BlueSpice MediaWiki will make a huge step forward in 2016.

MediaWiki extension ReplaceText compatible with BlueSpice

This little helper from MediaWiki enables administrators to search and replace words or text passages. The changes can be done in the content of wiki articles and in article titles. Fast and easy, because the modifications will automatically be made in all relevant articles.

  • Special page to search and replace single words or text passages in articles
  • Search and replace in article titles
  • Usage of placeholders and regular expressions
Choose a text that should be replaced
Choose a text that should be replaced

 

Form to replace text
Form to replace text

“Replace text” has been tested to be operational for MediaWiki and BlueSpice by the BlueSpice developer Hallo Welt!

Compatible with:

  • BlueSpice 2.23.x
  • MediaWiki 1.18.+

Where do you get this extension? You can download the extension “Replace Text” in the BlueSpice shop.

 

 

MediaWiki extension BreadCrumbs compatible with BlueSpice

With the MediaWiki BreadCrumbs extension it is possible to keep an overview of where you are in the wiki. The extension shows the path to the called up article and therefore provides orientation.

MediaWiki BreadCrumb: Article with navigation path
MediaWiki BreadCrumb: Article with navigation path

 

 

MediaWiki BreadCrumbs: Preferences
MediaWiki BreadCrumbs: Preferences

BreadCrumbs has been tested to be operational for MediaWiki and BlueSpice by the BlueSpice developer Hallo Welt!
Compatible with:

  • BlueSpice 2.23.x
  • MediaWiki 1.19+

Where do you get this extension? You can download the extension “BreadCrumbs” in the BlueSpice shop.

 

 

BlueSpice Release 2.23.2 – ImageMapEdit, WikiCategoryTag, EmbedVideo, MediaWiki Visual Editor, Semantic MediaWiki and even more

We released BlueSpice 2.23.2 – a minor and maintenance release. This is the first release of BlueSpice with the new “BlueSpice pro” subscription. Of course the free version “BlueSpice free” is still available on sourceforge.

BlueSpice free 2.23.2

BlueSpice free is the free wiki version of BlueSpice that can be downloaded at sourceforge.
Notable new features in BlueSpice free 2.23.2:

  • Update of notification system
  • Improved logging of actions, e.g. assign responsibility or changes in rights setup
  • Added ImageMapEdit: create image maps very easy by using the dialogue provided at the meta page of an image
  • BlueSpice is now compatible with MediaWiki’s VisualEditor
  • Bugfixes

BlueSpice pro 2.23.2

BlueSpice pro is a subscription that contains patches and updates of provided functions, continious expanding of the functions (for Standard and Premium subscriptions) and professional product support.
Notable new features in BlueSpice pro 2.23.2:

  • All features and changes like in BlueSpice free
  • Integration of Semantic MediaWiki and BlueSpice e.g. enable Semantic in the namespace manager
  • Integration of ServiceCenter: add search portals to the wiki; enable/disable category check functionality in the namespace manager
  • Bookmaker new feature: create “own books” (personal books are stored as a subpage of the user page)
  • Rating: Implemented grid filters to special page “rating”
  • Bugfixes

Please read detailed release notes for BlueSpice free and BlueSpice pro in our helpdesk.

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/