Recommendations for good private wiki platform?
November 12, 2009 4:23 AM   Subscribe

Please help me pick a wiki that isn’t icky.

I need help finding a good private wiki platform for my organization (of ~500 people), to be used as a combination intranet / internal collaboration / knowledge management tool.

My 6-person team has been using ClearWiki and we love it. Unfortunately, (for legal reasons I won’t go into) before we can expand wiki use to our entire organization we need a wiki that can be hosted on our own server, on our own intranet, behind our firewall, but ClearWiki is only available as Software-as-a-Service. (I already asked ClearWiki if there was any way for us to buy a copy to host ourselves and they said no.)

So I need help finding something similar to ClearWiki that we can install on our own server.

Must-have features:
- Our webmaster says that it must run on PHP and PostgreSQL (first choice) or mySQL (second choice)
- WYSIWYG editor (instead of any sort of markup language/coding)
- Access control to individual pages can be set by user or groups of users
- Pages can accept file attachments
- Users can subscribe to individual pages to be notified of changes to those pages (preferably by email)
- Standard wiki revision history capability (records of who changed what when, ability to revert changes)
- Very very very user-friendly with a simple, clean interface (most of my coworkers are not very tech-savvy)

Nice-to-have features:
- Can organize pages with both folders and tags/labels
- Task management / to do lists
- Calendars (or ability to embed Google Calendars)
- Spreadsheets that are sortable and filterable (or ability to embed Google Spreadsheets)
- Wiki account is integrated with network account (so if someone is already logged into our network, they are also already logged in to their wiki account)

We have already considered/tested and rejected TikiWiki, BusinessWiki, and MediaWiki for being too complex/difficult for most people in our organization. There have been some discussions of getting SharePoint someday, but it won’t happen any time soon (if ever).

My own personal wiki knowledge/experience is only as a user – I’ve never installed a wiki platform before – so please forgive me if I’ve left out any important technical details. I’ll keep an eye on this thread throughout the day and answer any follow-up questions you may have.

posted by Jacqueline to Computers & Internet (12 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Moinmoin has all your features, but doesn't use a database (flat file storage). User-friendly is a very stretchy word, go find out yourself.
posted by themel at 4:53 AM on November 12, 2009

Wikipedia has a very helpful feature comparison chart of wiki software here. Confluence is a great wiki but alas it's out because it runs on Java - so based on the webmaster's PHP & Postgres/MySQL requirement, your shortlist needs to be:

Central Desktop
MindTouch Deki
MidGuard Wiki
Portili TeamWiki

You can probably discount most of the above very quickly by checking out their demo wikis, and then pay attention to any specific recommendations in this thread to help you decide between the rest...
posted by runkelfinker at 4:56 AM on November 12, 2009

Eh, sorry, I missed the PHP requirement (though I think it's pointless).
posted by themel at 5:38 AM on November 12, 2009

We use Pmwiki in our work group. It was easy to setup and has been easy to maintain.
posted by tman99 at 5:54 AM on November 12, 2009

We've used both PmWiki and DokuWiki internally. Both are pretty good, but in the end we moved everything to DokuWiki. The best thing to do would be to pick a few likely candidates from one of the numerous wiki comparison charts, then install and test them. A feature list is one thing, but I've found that some wikis with very similar feature sets have very different feels in practice.
posted by paulg at 7:36 AM on November 12, 2009

I recently installed and tried almost all the wikis mentioned upthread and ended up choosing pmwiki, but for different requirements that you mention. If haven't gone through the wiki matrix wizard yet, I suggest you start there. You answer a bunch of questions surrounding your requirements, and then it will present all the options that match in a table where you can compare their individual feature sets.
posted by cgg at 8:59 AM on November 12, 2009

I know you have rejected TikiWiki but I don't get the reasons. I am self taught and not a "nerd" but I am so far making it work fine.
The admin stuff; yes that is sort of tricky I think that will be so for any non technical person, but it will be in any wiki you choose. the user part flies. Maybe you could get your tech dept. to help a bit here and let the rest of you get on with content.
posted by adamvasco at 9:04 AM on November 12, 2009

Response by poster: @adamvasco: I'm the most wiki-enthused person in our entire organization and even I found TikiWiki's interface to be such a turn-off that every time I started to play with it, I got immediately frustrated and didn't want to use it anymore. This was in user mode, not admin mode. If that's *my* reaction (and I like learning new things, playing with new tools, and already grasp the potential uses for a wiki), there is no way in hell my coworkers will ever bother to learn to use it.

Our organizational culture is such that we can't *make* anyone use a particular tool, so if our wiki platform is not easy and intuitive it won't be adopted by enough people to make it very useful.
posted by Jacqueline at 9:52 AM on November 12, 2009

I've set up a few wikis for various places, and from all the ones I've seen, WYSIWYG sounds difficult to find. I mean, I've never used, seen, or heard talk of any wiki with that feature in any reasonable way. The closest I know of is "rich text" entry or editing. That means you get a menubar that you can click to insert links, instead of typing "[ | Google ]", but that just inserts the text for you. To see the page as it would be rendered to a reader, you have to click preview. Is that good enough for you? Because pickings might be slim in the wiki world if it isn't, and you consider WYSIWYG a deal-breaker. You might want to try CMS, or even designating a technical writer. Wikis require a certain (albeit very low) level of technical literacy.
posted by d. z. wang at 10:43 AM on November 12, 2009

Response by poster: ClearWiki is WYSIWYG and it works beautifully -- the interface is like a dumbed-down version of Word, or similar to Google Docs, but with just the buttons bar.
posted by Jacqueline at 3:55 PM on November 12, 2009

It's cash money for a private entity and requires Java, but man-oh-man is Confluence the Cadillac of enterprise wiki. If there is any way to budge the webhead from the (silly, frankly) PHP-only rule and your corporation isn't afraid to pony up for good software then I personally guarantee you'll be happy with this wiki application. I've brought it in to the past two places I've worked after seeing it myself 3 jobs ago and only the most obstinate anti-change drones have complained about it. On the surface it is dead simple and yet it is completely extensible underneath.

Full disclosure: Atlassian has referred several IT departments to talk with me about what it can and cannot do and have, in the past, run a local user group. I receive no financial benefit from any of these activities (unless you count the t-shirt I got once) and do this only because of my unfettered enthusiasm for their product.
posted by Fezboy! at 4:08 PM on November 12, 2009

My private non-profit uses Confluence Wiki.

Primary uses include:
  • IT Docs, How-tos
  • Contracts database
  • 'Portal' Pages for our various depts
That being said, we use 3.0.X which has shitty WYSIWYG a-la editing pages in MS Word which works great for our not-so-tech admin assistants but also lets one edit the source code. We don't have SharePoint yet but we are implementing SP 2010 when it is released and Confluence has a SharePoint connector.
posted by wcfields at 3:25 PM on March 9, 2010

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