Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Enterprise Wiki Layouts in SharePoint 2010

Additionally there’s a new Site Collection feature called “Enterprise Wiki Layouts” for creating a large-scale wiki with categories and page layouts.
iLove SharePoint: Preview - Wikis in SharePoint 2010

I think there can only be three views on Wikis in SharePoint 2007. People either hate all wikis, they don't hate wikis but they hate SharePoint 2007wikis, or they have never used SharePoint wikis in 2007.



I think SharePoint 2007 is essentially an alternative to Wiki Media, and it has all the problems of Wiki Media. Its very hard to use correctly, you need to have programming skills to format things, and you need to know what you are linking to before hand, which limits its "organic growth issues."

Beyond that you have a terrible "copy and paste" problem. Allowing you to copy and paste in word documents I guess is suppose to make SharePoint 2007 wikis easier to use, but I have found that it causes more trouble than it is worth. I have seen that most wikis that are not centrally controlled and extensively planned out inevitably become mess or formats and layouts that have been pasted in to the document and now are embedded HTML. Fixing a wiki of this kind can be a real nasty problem.

Personally I wanted to see SharePoint 2010 wikis more like the wikispace.com tool.

Wikispaces I have found is much easier to grow organically because pasting works better and editing is cleaner and has a better UI. Linking provides a button and a tool and I could work for hours without really "breaking" the wiki. SharePoint 2007 wikis could be broken. Formatting got to be a mess and links were hard to find. I kept finding I would make a link and SharePoint would create a new wiki page. All the time I would forget there was one page for the singular and one page for the plural. I could create a rule that definitions should be in the singular but this felt unnatural and I found myself lapsing. In the end I gave up on SharePoint wiki at home and moved all the wiki work I had done on SharePoint to my wikispaces page in the Cloud and have never looked back.

So SharePoint 2010 had a lot of nuts and bolts issues to resolve which so far it has not. There is still not a easy to use button to link a wiki and though their is a keyboard shortcut to help wiki linking its nothing like the Wikispaces tool.

Rather than repair the core WIkip Microsoft has seemed to have just created an Enterprise Wiki that uses SharePoint's Web Content Management Publishing to control the look and publishing of a wiki. Permission to speak freely on this one. It seems that Microsoft has taken the two of the worst functions and made one new function out of it. SharePoint has also allowed used to ad web parts to a body of a Wiki but again this seems to be combining two bad things to create an even more evil new thing.

Okay I have not had a chance yet to work on a SharePoint 2010 Wiki like I have worked on SharePoint 2007 wikis, but so far I have not seen my wish list satisfied. I realy didn't want to make a publishing wiki because frankly the publishing feature in SharePoint is kind of weak and not really what people like about the tool. SharePoint is about light weight easy collaboration, and the wiki has been a very weak part of it.

42 comments:

  1. Microsoft shows it still doesn't understand the very concept of a Wiki.
    Their Wiki is fully layout oriented and stores content as convoluted HTML code.
    A properly configured Wiki (e.g. WikiPedia) has lots of content oriented tools, helping people to achieve a consistent template-based layout. Plus all the tools that are available to analyze the content. Try doing that with an MS Wiki.
    Yes with SP you can make a system of linked pages, but that's about the only resemblance it has with a true Wiki.
    Having said that, this doesn't mean all Wiki systems are easy to use. But judging from your article, neither is SP.
    My companies experience with Sharepoint2007 Wiki so far is that after some time the people involved come begging for a "real" Wiki. I'm disappointed to hear that SP2010 won't be much better.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Anonymous, can you expand a bit on the content oriented tools? Are you talking about math editors? What else?

    ReplyDelete
  3. I've been trying to move all our knowledge docs into wiki, and the cut& paste functions are annoying on the best days, and on days like today, tragic. The formatting gets so convoluted, when I click in a specific area, which can really be any area, that has linked documents as well as numbered text (steps), it will just blow out 10-20+ rows, pics, everything - and the undo feature is even more dysfunctional than the formatting, and does little to back out these disasters. Saving the document also causes data loss. There seems to be no win. I've been working on a document all day and the only conclusion is that tomorrow, I need to delete it and start all over, hand typing it and manually linking images since the UI tools are so unpredictable.

    ..sigh.

    ReplyDelete
  4. To move docs into the wiki and eliminate the formatting issues, you need to first strip out the mounds of code in the doc. Copy the doc into Notepad first, then into the wiki page.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Or you could copy and when pasting in choose to "Paste as plain text"

      Delete
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