Tag Archive for: wiki

Wiki Musing

04 Sep 2007
September 4, 2007

A month ago I settled on new Wiki software for the office. I’ve been pretty happy with Perspective as my choice, but I have to confess I’m about the only one using it. I think the rest of the office is a bit gun-shy after the disastrous loss of the old wiki… hard to regain momentum after a set-back like that!

I was planning on pestering folks to start using the new system this week. Then I started seeing all the articles about the rumors of the Google wiki (formerly known as JotSpot).

Tell you what, that’s been on my mind all day. You see, I’ve been planning to convert our office to Google Apps for several months (it keeps getting bumped for priority) and if a hosted wiki is part of the package, that’s going to be hard to ignore…

However, I’ve been watching the notes on the next version of Perspective and I am hesitant to migrate away any without some more thought. Granted, that’s assuming there’s a migration path from the current version, of course (I should check on that soon!). Would hate to see my stuff orphaned in the old version.

Hmmph…. do I pester folks to use the new wiki or do I stall them off until I see what (if anything) Google will have to offer?

Wiki Wrap-up (maybe?)

30 Jul 2007
July 30, 2007

This may be the final post in the “I need a wiki” series.

Part 1 – Software Hunt!
Part 2 – Wiki Shopping Part Deux

I think I found a wiki that folks at the office might actually like! After making a quite a few different runs through the WikiMatrix Choice Wizard, I saw one wiki’s name bubble up several times. Perspective.

At first, I wasn’t too sure I was all that interested in this one. The “look and feel” didn’t really grab me. But after installing and playing with it for a few hours this afternoon, I believe it may actually work out well for us.

The Good

Perspective logo In particular, I really like the fact that the user authentication can be integrated with our Windows Active Directory. That keeps it very simple for folks — and if they’re using Internet Explorer, logging in is completely transparent (and most do…). That also allows me to expose the URL to the outside and still keep things private.

The editor is nice. I won’t call it the slickest WYSIWYG I’ve ever used on a web page; but it works, it’s intuitive and it doesn’t overwhelm. It is definitely heads and shoulders above the toolbars that just add the wiki markup for you.

Perspective EditorThe only thing folks have to remember is to wrap brackets around internal page links (ex. [[my_page]] ) and you’ll see hints for that in the left column when editing.

If you look at the formatting bar, you’ll see a paperclip icon off to the right end. Using that, uploading attachments or images is a breeze. For images, you then set the pull-down menu next to the paperclip, select the uploaded image name and click the image button to insert. SO much easier than how we were doing it with our old wiki.

I haven’t tried it yet, but there appear to be RSS feeds associated with pages! What a great way to track changes on a useful page.

The Not So Good

Figuring out this notion of collections has taxed my tired brain a bit, but I think I’m getting my head around it. Took me over an hour to figure out how to add a Navigation menu to the sidebar (turned out to be rather simple). I still haven’t figure out how to set my Home page as the default that everyone should see when logging in.

Look and feel appear to be somewhat static. I need to poke around a bit and see how simple it would be to at least customize colors and the “perspective” logo that is at the top corner of every page. I searched the doc for “theme” and “skin” and didn’t hit anything.

Speaking of logo image, clicking it appears to take me to my user page. I’d like that to go to the Home page as well.

It seems that a lot of stuff is updated upon logging in. For instance, I created a category and associated a couple pages with it. But clicking the category didn’t show my pages — until I closed the browser and then logged back in. Same for Navigation changes and some other stuff. Not a show stopper, but I need to see if I can trigger those updates in a more direct fashion.

Wrapping Up

Data isn’t stored in a database, instead everything is in folders and .xml files. Actually, that’s not all bad, it just wasn’t what I originally was looking for. I’ve already got those directories added to the backup sets. Not going to lose this wiki!

There appear to be some major features in store for V3 of this (what happened to 1 and 2?). I like that he’s considering xml-rpc integration to allow the use of clients like Windows Live Writer. Man, that would be huge!

It also appears v3 will be stored in a database. I’m hoping there’ll be a conversion plan…

For now, I think we’ll give it a shot and see how it goes. It’s sure friendlier than what we had and hopefully that will help with getting the “non-techie” folks willing to contribute this time around.

Wiki Shopping Part Deux

29 Jul 2007
July 29, 2007

I mentioned early this morning that I’m looking for a wiki that’s just right for the folks at the office. I received an excellent tip from David in the comments: Check out WikiMatrix.

That site is going to save me tons of time.

At first I was a bit overwhelmed, then I found the Choice Wizard that helps narrow the choices dramatically via simple interview. I might have to give up on the dream of having a WYSIWYG enabled .NET based wiki…

While bopping around the WikiMatrix, I happened to notice that Socialtext has gone Open Source. Cool news, but Windows is not supported… nor is MySQL (yet).

While looking into that, I found the Wikiwyg project to add WYSIWYG editing to wiki engines:

Wikiwyg has been successfully integrated with the following wiki engines: Socialtext, Kwiki, MediaWiki, Trac and TWiki.

That opens things up a bit! I could even fall back to XAMPP and MediaWiki which is what we were using before the big crash. This time around it could offer the WYSIWYG action… We’ll see, I still have quite a list to look at.

Keep the suggestions coming, I’m all ears!

[Update] I checked out the MediaWiki / Wikiwyg install guide.  I had to chuckle at the warning at the top of the page.  ROFL.  OK, scratch that idea, I don’t feel like being a guinea pig this week.

Task Management – Part III

30 Aug 2006
August 30, 2006

[continuing from "More Task Management" of earlier this week]

Zoho Planner logo After my testing and experimenting earlier this week, I thought that Zoho Planner was going to be just the ticket for my task management needs. Flexible, easy to use and it allowed me to lay out tasks in an outline form — my way of indicating task dependencies or sub-tasks. I eagerly spent an hour the other morning moving everything over from my wiki and started off on the project’s tasks.

When I completed the first task I realized I may have made a mistake. By the time I checked off the third task, I knew this was going to be a disaster.

You see, each time you check off a task in Zoho Planner, the task moves out of the main list down to a bottom area. Thus, I quickly had a pile of oddly indented and unrelated tasks down there just mucking up the joint. No real way to relate them back to the “section” from whence they came. Nuts.

The wiki was the closest to what I wanted, but faking the checkboxes (“[ ]“) is tedious and editing through the wiki markup is tedious on a big list. The other task management programs just didn’t really do what I want for the outline format and some also automatically shuffle closed tasks to the bottom of the list.

I should take a moment and point out that normally I’d be all about that sort of behavior. In fact, the fact that Netvibe’s task list doesn’t send completed tasks to the bottom is a bit of an annoyance! Marvel at the irony of this paragraph in the context of the rest of this article for a moment…

OneNote Extreme example Where was I? Oh yeah — the latest solution. Back to Microsoft OneNote! It easily does outlines. It easily can convert lines in the outline to proper “checkable” checkboxes. The checkboxes don’t go anywhere when checked.

See the picture to the right. See the indentation. See how not everything has to be a checkbox? I love that. Plus easy “wysiwyg” formatting and simple to use. For the moment, I’ve solved my multiple machine concerns via the wonders of the VPN between home and office. We’ll see how it works out.

Feels a bit odd to go back to a desktop based solution, but so far I just can’t seem to find what I’m after in the online world.  And to be fair, this is commercial software that I’m comparing to free online stuff…