BlueSpice MediaWiki vs. Confluence: The wiki alternatives – part 2

18. May 2017

In the second part of our comparison, we focus on the features in the background, which are more important for power users and administrators. Click here to read part 1 of our comparison …

Richard Heigl

CEO of Hallo Welt! GmbH, historian, Wiki expert, book author and speaker. Born in 1971 in Ettal (Bavaria), he now lives in Regensburg and regularly blogs and tweets on the topics of wiki, social web and information technologies.

Data analysis

When it comes to handling metadata, BlueSpice and Confluence are quite different.

Metadata is what we understand here:

  • On the one hand, evaluable data that is assigned to an article. For example the author, the last change of the article or the release status.
  • On the other hand, evaluable data that occur in an article, as you know it from Wikipedia in the info boxes; for example, you want to read out information about the manufacturer, the respective warranty period and partner discounts from articles about products and find them in an overview list.

Both systems offer solutions for metadata. However, with Semantic MediaWiki, BlueSpice already provides an unrivaled technology framework in the standard, which gives companies astonishing freedom of design. In a very practical way, complex solutions for very individual tasks can already be modeled with on-board tools.

To be emphasized is the editing of content using forms, as well as the rich display options of metadata, for example in a map, a timeline, in a calendar, a table, a tree structure or TagCloud, in charts, Excel, or in freely designable form.

Furthermore, the result can also be further processed by machine. On this basis, for example, intelligent templates for quality management processes can be created and maintained.

Reporting

BlueSpice MediaWiki also delivers much more features than Confluence for reporting. In addition to the classic tools for monitoring changes such as watch lists, dashboards and notification system, BlueSpice also features many maintenance pages: Lists with broken redirects, “links to this page”, changes to linked pages, pages without categories, pages with duplicates, and more. These maintenance pages are already included in the standard MediaWiki. They become more important especially in wikis with a longer runtime.

Communication

The communication tools of the two systems are – at least as far as their standard scope of performance is concerned – limited to the most necessary. Simple blog functions can be integrated and discussions can be held in both wikis. Confluence and BlueSpice offer a simple comment function for each article.

Confluence can connect to the in-house ticket system Jira, which coordinates communication and tasks. In addition, HipChat is a dedicated instant messaging and chat system. Both are single products with costs.

BlueSpice offers the concept of a discussion page, which is included with every article, as known from MediaWiki. The idea behind the very simple discussion page is not to hide the preparation and discussion of articles in forums or tickets, but to collect them centrally on the page. This is often clearer. However, many users miss the possibility of central discussion locations, discussions in groups, a better comment function and the ability to track discussions.

Hallo Welt! will introduce the Timeline function with BlueSpice 3, which meets these wishes and completely reorganizes discussions on articles.

Quality assurance

A look at the feature comparison list shows another focus of BlueSpice. BlueSpice pro delivers a workflow function (review) for the evaluation of articles. This function can be combined with a design and release mechanism. Users or user groups can be assigned to articles as observers. You can put articles on a resubmission list yourself and mark articles as obsolete.

Confluence offers a small task management for quality assurance. In addition there are many features like a workflow function available as paid plugins in the marketplace.

Administration, skinning und mobile

The administration tools are about setting up and managing the Wiki. Confluence and BlueSpice again offer the standards here: User, group, namespace and rights management.

BlueSpice provides a number of functions that come from the web world. Merge pages with their version history or duplicate pages, for example. Replace Text is an interesting and powerful function, with which categories can be renamed.

BlueSpice and Confluence allow to adapt the design of the wiki to the respective corporate identity with wizards. Spaces and namespaces can also be designed in different colors. It is also important to design the PDF templates in the respective design and layout required.

Infrastructure and security

The classic security features are available in both systems: Logon and registration functions, captcha functions and other spam defense mechanisms. And of course, individual pages can also be blocked for user groups. The latter is a frequently requested feature, but one that is rarely used in everyday Wiki life.

Among the infrastructure enhancements of BlueSpice, Scribunto is especially important for the decision maker. With Scribunto, BlueSpice has its own script language (Lua) with which simple programming can be realized. This opens the application possibilities of BlueSpice MediaWiki far beyond the standard scenarios.

Personalization

User pages and user areas are standard features of a company wiki. Confluence seals off this area more tightly. With BlueSpice, users place their information and designs on sub-pages.

Users can set up an individual navigation (UserSidebar or Favorites) and integrate pages they have visited last into this navigation.

Summary

Both Confluence and BlueSpice MediaWiki show which requirements modern enterprise wikis have to meet.

But the systems follow different concepts. While Confluence primarily focuses on encapsulating content for teams, BlueSpice MediaWiki focuses on bringing together knowledge and organizational units.

Both systems try to make working as easy as possible for normal users as well as for administrators, but they also have to integrate a variety of functions.

Confluence relies on the modular expansion of the system by connecting Jira and HipChat, as well as on the modules from the Marketplace. BlueSpice, on the other hand, already comes with a lot in the standard version and offers the power user more possibilities for modeling the knowledge system in order to adapt the wiki for specific usage scenarios.

Download

The feature comparison lists can be downloaded here:

Share This Story, Choose Your Platform!

Except where otherwise noted, news on this site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license.

This might be interesting