Future Website for VEMS
Point in case is that I need everyone's thoughts and opinions as to how we want to implement everything. I am going to give a quick synopsis on how I want to implement the site. Below that will be a discussion area on key arguements & rebutals.
Current Plan w/ TikiWiki
Everypage of this new style of website is a wiki. As you can see, the front page also gives approved users the ability to post news/articles. What you see is the description of the article. This is great for people posting news about upcoming or current events like meetings, gatherings, tuning sessions, release dates, etc. There is even a calandar to plan everything... including scheduled developer chat.
On the home page, it will pretty much be like our current one, just cleaned up a little. We will differ in a few points. We are going to use catagories and FAQ quite heavily. If you view http://TikiWiki.org, you can see how this is implemented.
As an example of the FAQ, you can have Q/A's under a theme. Lets say I have 10 commonly asked questions about Ignition and 5 questions about Fuel. I would then have 2 groups with 10 and 5 questions under them respectively. Quite nice and a big boost for information.
The other big plus is catagories. We have found that using the / command can be both cumbersome to write and makes pages sometimes harder to find. Catagories are different. Catagories allow us to group pages under a predefined catagory. How will this be implemented and still have great, short page names? Well look below. Categories can have spaces in the names and subcategories.
Category: Genboard V4 - GenV4Home - GenV4Proc - GenV4Firm - GenV4Hard - GenV4Dev - GenV4..... Category: Genboard V3 - GenV3Home - GenV3Proc - GenV3Firm - GenV3Hard - GenV3Dev - GenV3..... . . . Category: Tuning Software - TsHome - JTune - MegaTunix - .... Category: Documentation - GenBoard Manual - Hardware - Arm - Atmel - Others.... - Compilers . . .
You should get the idea. So how does this really help us? Well TikiWiki provides a tree view of the catagories! Now this will have to be implemented closely with the wiki site to keep the natural flow of reading pages there. However once you become familiar and buy into the whole VEMS thing, bam you have all the information faster then anything I have seen yet in terms of wiki software. What makes it even better is that allows all wiki pages a brief description/subject to assist in browsing.
When browsing through the catagories list, you will notice that there is a Community Catagory. These are pages that are automatically made for each user as his own site! This allows new users to quickly understand the wiki faster. You will also notice that wiki pages arent the only item that can have a catagory assigned to it. A directory of uploadable files can be assigned to that catagory. The same goes for pictures and FAQs. Each FAQ group can have a catagory and will show up where it belongs. Another huge plus.
You also have access to calandar, surveys, polls, newsletters, and articles. Not a big deal. A huge plus however is user messaging. Each user has the ability to use private internal messageing. Users can also have meaningfull and non meaningfull discussions in a few different chat channels that are built into TikiWiki. Another cool tool is graphical site maps that are automatically generated. Oh did I mention you can do quick drawings and insert them into the pages?
How is actual wiki'ing different? Well it uses a nice graphical interface. Well not only can you assign mutliple catagories to a page, but you can assign files, pictures, descriptions to them. Another quick note is that you no longer have to remember the tags. They are all there. Just click on a button and it appears in the text area. Others advantages, include special characters, better implementation of code, rss feeds, info boxes, and centering text/titles.
One of the other features, which causes heart burn amoung some, is the ability to host forums. With this software, they come in two forms. One is the standard forum that we are all used too. I think this could be great for uses to do the following: general for shooting the breeze, a automotive tech section for general car stuff, and a general technology section for general tech chat. This keeps users from cluttering up the wiki with stuff not directly related to VEMS. As for stuff directly related to VEMS (will be stricly enforced), users can first check both the FAQ and the wiki itself for information. Now there is currently an option built into the wiki software to allow the user to use the comments/forum section that is part of each wiki page. It is laid out in a nice thread section. That in of itself could be very useful, for discussing preliminary ideas and quick help.
There are many admin features which would make my life so much easier.
Please discuss any thoughts you may have below. This includes what you think about the forums and comments section. I am all for it, however some dont feel the same.
- I think the APIs and XML engine in Xwiki would be very useful. We'll want some integration with ofbiz where Xwiki would be very nice.
- tikiwiki has some nice features out of the box. I like the drawing board a lot (although it or similar app can be used for any other wiki).
Migration needs to be planned (in this wiki!). We need to do it better than with the old wiki transfer. We need to distribute it more.
- find out anything that is needed for the transfer but not in current wiki (Categories)
There are options for moving the stuff:
- all at once:
- try to make (automated if possible) procedures to transfer the old content to the new wiki. With this method, the 2 site shouldn't coexist (ReadWrite?) for more than 20 hours.
- organize, move around stuff in the new wiki
- the above steps should be tested first. That means transferring some of the pages, try if they can be categorized, organized in the new, and possibly throw away and restart: just to make sure we are confortable before moving authenticity to the new.
- Maybe we can move some topics first, and warn on the TOP of relevant old pages that everything related should be edited in the new site. This makes it possible for the sites to coexist, some topics maintained here, some there; I'd say for max 20 days.
In any case, we'd want deadlines and responsible person for each current page. That doesn't mean that everything is cleared 100%, but at least no useful information should be lost and structure must be improved somewhat.