BlueSpice Review (v1)

Assumptions

  • Wikis are indispensable tools.
  • The success of a wiki is largely a function of adoption.
  • MediaWiki is my choice of wiki, it’s not going away anytime soon and there are a lot of ad-ons.

MediaWiki Issues

There are problems with MediaWiki which always stand in the way of high adoption rat

  • Lack of WYSIWYG editor (requiring knowledge of the wiki markup to edit/add content)
  • Difficult workflow for adding images
  • Terse default skin

Overcoming MediaWiki Issues

I’ve spent some time over the last month trying to overcome these issues and I think that I have found a magic bullet. Instead of installing packages which address these issues individually, complicating the management of the wiki, I installed BlueSpice.

The WYSIWYG editor is great – intuitive and doesn’t require knowledge of wiki syntax.

There are these assistants that make uploading images a breeze! (right from your desktop)

The default skin is easy on the eyes.

Conclusion

My first impressions of BlueSpice are very good, there are a lot of other features that I haven’t even begun to touch however the basic needs of fixing the shortcomings MediaWiki are very positive. There are other ways to address the issues but it requires managing individual extensions which aren’t maintained in a consistent manner and don’t always play well together. BlueSpice deals with these problems in a one stop shop fashion simplifying management of the wiki and it appears that it is well supported.

This assessment is very high level, however there aren’t many resources discussing BlueSpice so I believe that this is an important review to publish. I would love to see more [english] articles and encourage links to other resources.

Past Experience With Wiki’s

Other Wiki’s

I’ve run a few other wiki’s and they haven’t stood the test of time. As time passes there is a lack of extensions available to address needs that arise as well as a general lack of updates from the main wiki projects. I’m sure there are exceptions to this, but the wiki landscape is vast and it seems difficult to avoid these problems.

Drupal as a Wiki

On a side note – Over the past year I have been using Drupal with a myriad of ad-ons to run our current dev blog and I’ve been extremely unsatisfied with the results. There are some benefits to running a content manager as a wiki, but some of the basic functionality that I’ve come to rely on in a wiki isn’t well supported. The change tracking has a lot to be desired, the auto generated navigation doesn’t exist, the upgrade path is nightmare with many ad-ons, etc. The developer that setup drupal as a wiki for me has since moved on and went to Aquia – one of the first conversations I had with him after he started was about the fact that Aquia doesn’t even run their internal blog on Drupal.

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