One of our developers has downloaded and installed xWiki, an open source wiki page creator. I wanted to create a space for Testing to document all of our technical setups and the not so obvious methods for testing our products along with useful how to’s.
As xWiki was already installed, the hard bit had already been done. It was simply down to me to add my Testing “space”, which was easy enough. I am presented with two templates, a blank page or the “Space Dashboard”. The latter sounded exciting, so I went for that!
The dashboard is essentially columns where you can add further widgets. I checked, there are over 600 extensions and numerous widgets to choose from.
So, now I have created my “space”, time to get writing those posts. The first thing I noticed, which is a bit of a pain; you cannot paste images into the posts. You can only upload them, or use an external url.
The other downside are the very basic editing tools.
However, you can extend these by adding Macros. Simply click the Macro button in the toolbar and a popup box will appear with various pre-written Macros.
There are a lot of different options for setting the look and feel of each page, as well as adding xWiki applications.
As with any new software, there is always a learning curve. For software to get the thumbs up from me, it is how easy the developers have made that learning curve, after all, we want to get busy producing nice wiki pages, not spend hours and hours learning how to actually achieve this.
So in conclusion, xWiki is easy to get started once it is setup, however, if you want to do anything more clever than simply putting text and images on a page, with basic formatting, then you will need to learn how to do this. There is a head start in the 600+ extensions on offer, plus the built in macros.
If you want something that is free and effective, I would recommend xWiki. Just be warned, you may spend time on the learning curve.