Running a private combination blog/wiki?
June 9, 2007 2:32 PM   Subscribe

I want to set up a multi-user blog / wiki resource for sharing information privately. What's the best way?

So - I work in a team of three. We read stuff and talk to people with the aim of informing a bunch of other people who live in a different country. Reports are currently emailed around as a Word attachment on a mailing list and then forgotten about. This feels very last century to me.

I'd like to change that by setting up a password-protected site that will let us post reports of what we've been reading, thinking and doing (like blogging) and updateable entries on particular issues (like a wiki). I'd really like them to run on the same domain name if possible. TWiki and WordPress both look pretty good - but I have no idea how to get started or how they could be combined.

Whatever the solution, it can't involve any funky web 2.0 Ajax as our work computers block it. Nor can we install any software so IE (bah!) and Outlook are our windows on the outside world. And bonus points for editing / posting from Blackberrys. Free is not necessary but cheap is.

posted by TrashyRambo to Computers & Internet (13 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Would something like Base Camp be helpful?
posted by jackofsaxons at 2:54 PM on June 9, 2007

Hostway provides sharepoint portal hosting services for $20 / month. This integrates pretty well with Outlook, MS Office, etc, but doesn't (IIRC) include a true wiki. .

Another alternative would be to start a private yahoo group and upload files / docs there. There may be some concern about privacy and security; how sensitive are the docs?

Atlassian makes a well-regarded issue tracking tool (Jira) and Wiki tool (confluence) that may be suitable; Hosting costs for Confluence look like they run $50 / month:

If everyone is on the same internal network, I'd just bribe a friendly admin to set up a linux box and throw mediawiki and maybe jroller on it- but that may be too elaborate or difficult for your audience to reach.

Good luck!
posted by jenkinsEar at 3:58 PM on June 9, 2007

Basecamp is exactly what you need. The messaging system works like an internal blog where you can post stuff (with files as attachments) and comment on it. Only one person needs to pay and you can add as many users as you want (so the other two team members use it for free; or the three of you share the cost). It is password protected, comes with SSL (so everything is private, secure and backed up). Depending on how many projects you need to work on, it could be as low as $12/month (although there is a free version with 1 project + other limtations).

The site is very basic (no unnecessary bells or whistles but still powerful) but I think it uses Ajax so that might be your deal breaker. Why not sign up for a free account and see if it works.
why would your company block ajax? seems counter productive. Can you talk to IT and see if they can unblock it for you guys (with an explanation of why you need it?)
posted by special-k at 4:39 PM on June 9, 2007

Forgot to say that it also fills your other criteria
Basecamp also features Writeboards (sort of like an internal wiki where everyone can edit the same document) AND requires no software installation (sign up and point your browser to it).
posted by special-k at 4:42 PM on June 9, 2007

A cheaper option would be google apps but it's new and relies quite heavily on Ajax.
posted by special-k at 4:44 PM on June 9, 2007

I recently installed 'a powerful minimalist weblog script' hl-- a php blogging script. Easy. All editing is done via ssh and a text editor. Self link.
posted by acro at 7:42 PM on June 9, 2007

(I had my answer, using google apps ready, but reread just before posting) ( ;)
posted by acro at 7:43 PM on June 9, 2007

mefidemo, mefidemo
posted by acro at 7:49 PM on June 9, 2007

PBwiki and Wikispaces might be worth checking out. If you can run Javascript, you might be able to just use the plain text editor.
posted by lunchbox at 9:01 PM on June 9, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks for the responses. Basecamp looks like the ideal but no way they're going to budge on Ajax. I've already fought the battle and lost.
posted by TrashyRambo at 9:51 PM on June 9, 2007

You don't need a website.
I have recently used Google Docs. It can host any kind of document, it's private, easy and free.

I have been part of several work-related wikis and the only ones that have been efficient are those used by a limited group of people for a specific task in a tight time frame. Otherwise, most of them dwindle fast into oblivion.

The combination of common space and email notification of Google Docs works surprisingly well and the learning curve is almost nil.
posted by bru at 8:45 AM on June 10, 2007

Why in the world would any IT department "block" AJAX? (I am a huge geek and off the top of my head I can't really think of how they could do that, by the way.) If your IT department is that stuck in the last century, it's not likely that your company is going to be around much longer ...

BaseCamp is indeed a very awesome solution, but so would be to configure an .htaccess-restricted WordPress install.

There are a few other ways you could make a WP install private if you don't trust .htaccess. That Keystone-Cops IT department of yours probably doesn't trust any type of non-Microsoft sanctioned security anyway, so ....
posted by GatorDavid at 9:08 AM on June 10, 2007

Response by poster: GatorDavid: Government department. Survival is not at stake.
posted by TrashyRambo at 6:02 PM on June 10, 2007

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