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danerh
Aug 10, 2008, 10:02 PM
Hi, I am becoming a little disenchanted with the service we are getting from our outsourced IT, and the time has come to purchase a new Server.

I have used macs for a long time now and am very comfortable with them and am confident I would be able to successfully manage a Server for my small business, as we only have 15 people who regularly tap into our server on a day to day basis.

As such I am considering purchasing an xserve and osx 10.5 server, or alternatively a mac pro, I am yet to investigate just what I will need on that front.

We have a job tracking system that is very central to our business activity, which is also due to be upgraded. My question lies here... Apples Wiki Server seems to provide much of the functionality we desire. The ability to add documents and for groups to contribute to the page, the calendar server is also very exciting for labour management.
Without using it myself there are a few questions that I would like answered by someone who has had some hands on experience before I go out and make the purchase...

We complete approx 500 jobs per year, and as such would like 500 pages year over year... would you need to create 500 individual wiki sites? or use seperate pages within the single wiki site? how does it work in that regard. Would it work at all?

Are you able to make your own templates that are able to be saved and easily repeated?

Are you able to do a system wide search of say a job number or an address to bring up the correct page? and if so, are you able to do it remotely from outside the local intranet?

It is an exciting time, and I really hope that it will fulfill our requirements and I can say my last goodbyes to Microsoft and outside dependence for simple tasks.

Regards,
And thanks in advance.

Dane.



sailon
Aug 11, 2008, 12:24 PM
I offer you some thoughts, based on my own exploration of Wiki software to solve a similar problem as yours. I evaluated MediaWiki (the Wiki software on which Wikipedia is based) when I was looking to augment my web site with community features. My web site uses the Joomla! CMS as its basis.

Ultimately what I found with MediaWiki:

Simple to use, easy to train
Democratizes knowledge among the community using it
Free-form, lacks structure and security
Easy to setup and maintain
A Wiki lacks a front-end navigation system. Like a book with no TOC.
Not a content or document management system - content organization is not enforced, it is at the whim of the community
Not good as a discussion forum, or for housing structured data


A Wiki did not work for my purposes because I wanted a structured discussion mechanism. Ultimately I chose a discussion/commenting system (JomComment) instead.

Looking at your stated needs, I see the primary desire being a structured mechanism for storing documents and other materials related to a job - key word is "structured". I think you could run into the issue I faced - that a Wiki is so unstructured by design that you will find yourself struggling with "herding cats" ;) rather than using the tool effectively.

For your purposes as stated, I would recommend that you use (brace yourself) - Sharepoint. I see you would like to shake free from the Microsoft grip. But, the fact is that Sharepoint has excellent capabilities for the things you say you need. It has good document handling (e.g. for PDF copies of project materials), good search capabilities and excellent handling of structured group collaboration (meeting minutes, accumulation of documents, scheduling/calendaring, etc...). Further, Sharepoint has a security model that might be useful if some of your jobs are non-public jobs. Lastly, Sharepoint 2007 has a Wiki tool built-in, so you could get the best both of both words and ease into the democracy of a Wiki. And, if you REALLY want the :apple: server, you can run Sharepoint in a VMWare Fusion (or Parallels) VM.

Just my two cents...

danerh
Aug 11, 2008, 05:51 PM
Thankyou very much for your response, I'm looking into it now.

Just a thought in regard to creating a TOC using a wiki.
Would it be possible to create a list on the opening page, a list that included unique job numbers as well as other information that could be searched for within the web page even just by pressing "apple-f", that could then be linked to that relevant job information? It is a little bit crude but I am just thinking out loud...

Thanks again though, it seems a wiki site may not be ideal.