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Features / Usability

Features / Usability


Twiki Intranet and feature questions

posts: 3

Hello,

I am working with a large and spread out non-profit client looking for a tool for a company intranet and came across Twiki, which was exciting. Then the cost of $4K-$8K threw it out of the mix. I found TikiWiki and this may be it.

I see most of the features they need except:
• The ability to create a staff and site directory. They need to be able to have a searchable directory of their 1000+ staff. The directory will include location, phone, email, etc. Plus they need this to also be a location directory.
• An easily categorized file directory. I see their is a file gallery, but don't know how easily this is categorized by an end user.

I think that's it.

Please let me know your thoughts on using this for a large intranet in general.

Thanks.
Spencer

posts: 257 United States

I'll give yuo some general ideas. I am playing with some of this right now so I don't have it down, but I think you can do what you want. Luckily the users and developers do frequent the forums and I bet anything you'll see a better brainiac than I come through with the exact answers.

For the Staff Directory you ought to be able to use trackers which from what I gather is basically a spreadsheet on a wiki page. Trackers also can be forms so staff could update their own info or an admin, say, could add or delete people -all without the form being visible to the public (you'd do this through permissions).

For file galleries, I've had good success. You can set up multiple galleries (they show up a folders) and it can be hierarchical. See mine at:

http://myaurora.org/aurorawiki/tiki-list_file_gallery.php

You should register (registered users see more files) and use the passcode Max. I'll probably need to approve the registrationbut I'll try to do that as quickly as I can.

posts: 3

Thanks for your help.

A spreadsheet of 1000 people will not work. It needs to be a searchable, linkable directory. (ie. someone searches for a department and it links to a list of staff in that department, or a site and it links to a list of staff at that site, or a staff and hi/her listing includes links to others in their program or site. Maybe this is too sophisticated for a Wiki and we need to plug something else in.

As for your file directory are there different display options? Like could you just have a clean list?

Thanks,
Spencer

posts: 257 United States

From the checking I've done I think trackers are more than just a spreadsheet and I'm pretty sure you can do what you want. I think it's set up to pull data from the MySQL database and display it in tabular form and you can custom design searches. But this is the area I'm just exploring myself. I really ought to let another wiser Tiki-naught answer.

On the file gallery you can choose not to nest folders and it comes up nice and clean as a single list of files. Also there's a little icon just above the folder area that toggles the folder/hierarchical view on and off for users and that icon can be shown or hidden with the "Explorer" setting in file gallery admin.

By the way, you should set the file galleries to store files in a directory rather than in the database so you can avoid file size limits. Do this when you first set up the galleries front as you'd have to move files out of the database later if you want to change to Directory storage. change later.


posts: 257 United States
Sorry, I also attached a pic of the expanded hierarchical gallery as a jpeg in that last post. You can see what's going on without going to the site if you like.

posts: 289 United States

Trackers are not spreadsheets, they are simple, custom, one table (thus typically denormalized) databases. Having said that you can get creative and link Trackers together but this then increases the administrative complexity.

Trackers are very powerful for what they do, although they are no full-on database. You would be able to filter trackers based on field criteria (for example a department field), and Trackers are searcheable too. I think as a large address book/staff directory Trackers would work just fine.

In addition, you can tie a particular Tracker to registration so that some/all tracker fields are requested at registration time, placing the burden of data entry on the user, rather than the administrator.

As for file galleries, they can be organized as mentioned hierarchically, and viewed with an explorer, tree-like interface or as a flat list. In addition, file galleries can be categorized with Tiki's notion of categories, which applies to many Tiki objects such as Wiki pages, articles, forums etc.

I think in general, an honest assessment of Tiki as an Intranet would be that it's a great fit because there are so many features built-in (no additional plugins/modules/widgets required), which is uncommon which you compare with applications like Drupal and Joomla. Having said that, it also means Tiki can be very complex. Naturally, you do get high levels of customization though, so it's a trade-off. I have found that setting Tiki up to the exact specifications you require can be very time consuming and sometimes infuriating, but in the end the effort is worth it because you end up with something that works for you.


posts: 3

Thanks for this helpful info about a staff directory. I also thought maybe I could find an open source staff directory program to get it to do exactly what they would want. My thought is to build the non-collaboritive shiny part of the intranet with Wordpress - this includes messages from the CEO, a staff newsletter, calendar of events, etc, managed by the Admin office communications person. Then use something like Twiki for the more collaborative and department updatable parts - policies, forms, etc. And have a staff directory somewhere in there.

What do you think of XWiki?

Thanks!
Spencer

posts: 31

Hi Spenser, all

I worked with Twiki ten years ago (the free version) in my previous work, and here I want to use Tiki for doing exactly the same as you want. So I'll share here my experience so far. Maybe we could exchange some more tips.

I did not eliminate Twiki because of the cost (you can actually get it for free), but because it was quite limited and presumably quite slow (PERL).

I managed easily to install tiki and integrate it with our Active Directory, so each new user can use its Windows user ID and password. Now I'm a bit more annoyed, as the documentation on how to use trackers, galleries etc are quite cryptic. So I'd suggest that you point your browser to Rick Sapir's excellent Tiki for dummies (I mean smarties) online book.

Regarding the staff book, indeed I'm pretty sure that tracker is the right tool for that, but I got no clue how to create one correctly. I also want to transfer (part of) a mediawiki powered site of about 1000 pages, and there as well I'm hesitating on the best way to do that (how to get the images, what to do with categories, etc.)

For your "newsletter" and CEO stuff, I think that you should better use the tiki features to do that. It is easy to limit rights to one group, so no one will mess with that.

Before choosing Tiki, I looked extensively at many wikies, including pmwiki, mediawiki and xwiki (on wikimatrix, a fabulous tool). I think tiki is the most feature rich and has a very good community to support it. My site also has to be multilingual, and tiki is probably unique there. I also tried bitweaver (a tiki fork, more modular), but I dropped it as the modularity ended up with concurrent modules for the same functionality ...

The downside is that the documentation is much too dense and cryptic, made by and for the developpers. So I'm a bit disappointed by the steep learning curve as an admin.


posts: 1817 Catalan Countries

Hi Spencer, and welcome to Tiki community! smile

Tiki will allow you to do all those things you say, in an integrated manner.
Please have a look at the Documentation on:

  • Trackers and the tracker-related plugins (bundled within tiki code base), for that customized directory, searchable, query-able, etc. There is some learning curve, but I can tell you for sure that you'll love them when you start using them. You can have your own simple tracker for testing with the profile "Simple bug tracker", for instance, or the "Company directory"... Search in http://profiles.tiki.org
  • Most (if not all) what you can do with wordpress can be achieved with Tiki. See:

...

Ask again if still in doubt.

Welcome to Tiki ;-)


posts: 1817 Catalan Countries

mmm, reading again tochinet's message in more details, see also:


and tochinet: if you find doc.t.o documentation too criptic, I can tell you that it's being improved in the last years, and even if there are areas too cryptic, you can start by using the marvelous site for begginers made by Ricks and others:

Tiki for Smarties: A beginner's guide
http://twbasics.keycontent.org


and welcome tochinet to improve the Documentation pages (it's a collaborative effort done by volunteers ;-) )


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