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.
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.
The 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.
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.