create new tag
, view all tags
This is the presentation material for the Wiki Collaboration in the Corporate World conference talk in the Emerging Technologies Track at LinuxWorld in New York, 21 Jan 2003.

Start Presentation

Slide 1: Wiki Collaboration in the Corporate World

Writable webs empower employees to share knowledge effectively and to be more productive

  • Wiki, an emerging technology: Communities can organize and share content in an organic and free manner
  • If extended with the right set of functionality, it can be applied to corporate groups to schedule, manage, document, and support their daily activities
  • TWiki is both a leading open-source Wiki for the enterprise and a web based collaboration platform
  • This talk explains what TWiki is, its history, how it is used, and how to get started

Conference talk in the Emerging Technologies Track at LinuxWorld in New York, 21 Jan 2003

-- Peter@ThoenyPLEASENOSPAM.com

Slide 2: Agenda

  • What is a Wiki?
  • Challenges of Intranets, Distributed Teams, CMS
  • What is knowledge?
  • What is TWiki?
  • Highlights, Advanced Features
  • Web Applications
  • Initial Deployment
  • Collaboration Issues
  • Case Studies of SAP and Wind River
  • Summary
  • Questions & Answers

Slide 3: What is a Wiki?

  • WikiWikiWeb = Writable Web
    • As quick to contribute as e-mail
    • As easy to use as a website
  • Ward Cunningham implemented the original WikiWikiWeb in 1995 to collaborate on software patterns
  • Inspired by HyperCard; some call it a Blog for groups
  • Wiki design principles:
    • Open - Should a page be found to be incomplete or poorly organized, any reader can edit it as they see fit
    • Incremental - Pages can cite other pages, including pages that have not been written yet
    • Organic - The structure and text content of the site is open to editing and evolution
    • more...

Slide 4: What is a Wiki? (cont.)

  • The original WikiWikiWeb has these features:
    • Read-write web, every page can be edited using just a browser
    • HTML form based editing
    • Pages are served dynamically
    • Pages are linked automagically with WikiWords
    • Simple markup, no need to learn HTML
  • Try the WikiWikiSandbox

  • Over 100 Wiki engines based on the original Wiki idea, mostly open source
  • Wiki has geek appeal
  • Mainly used by Internet communities and academia

Slide 5: Wikipedia

  • Wikipedia: Wiki + Encyclopedia
  • A free encyclopedia that is being written collaboratively by its readers
  • Project started in January 2001
  • The most active public Wiki: There are over 170,000 articles in English; more in other languages
  • Anyone in the world can edit any page.
  • Doesn't that lead to chaos?
    • Domain experts contribute
    • Well defined policies for contributing and handling content
    • Graffiti gets removed quickly (rollback available)
  • Content can be freely distributed and reproduced under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License

Slide 6: Does Wiki fit into the Corporate World?

  • Issues with conventional Wiki systems in the enterprise:
    • Perceived as chaotic
    • No security
    • No audit trail
  • A Wiki system with the right extensions can be used in a corporate environment
  • It can address some internal challenges:
    • Maintenance of static Intranets
    • Knowledge sharing for distributed teams
    • Deployment of CMS (content management systems)

Slide 7: Challenges of Static Intranets

  • Some content is outdated
  • Incomplete content
  • Difficult to find content
  • Inconsistency across departments
  • Special tools, knowledge and permission required to maintain
  • Content is static, it has a "webmaster syndrome":
    If an employee discovers a page with incorrect or insufficient information, the employee will often ignore it because it takes too much time to find out who the webmaster is and to write an e-mail requesting an update

Slide 8: Challenges of Distributed Teams

  • Open questions:
    • How to get virtual teams working together efficiently?
    • How to get everyone in sync?
    • How to avoid duplication of efforts?
  • Typical answers:
    • E-mail
    • Scheduled conference calls
    • Occasional visits
    • Shared network disks
    • Instant Messaging (IRC, AIM, ICQ, etc)

Slide 9: Challenges of Distributed Teams (cont.)

  • E-mail and mailing lists are great, but:
    • Post and reply vs. post and refine
    • Great for discussion, but ... hard to find "final consensus" on a thread
    • E-mail is not hyper-linked and is not structured, content can't be grouped easily into related topics
    • E-mail and attachments are not version controlled and it is difficult to determine the history of a document

Slide 10: Challenges of CMS

  • Rigid structure (can be good and bad)
  • Control over content more important over free form knowledge sharing
  • Content is typically structured hierarchically or in table format, with limited cross-linking between pages
  • Limited support for unstructured content, or content that has "structure and exceptions"

Slide 11: What is Knowledge?

  • Knowledge: (def. Webster)
    • The fact or condition of knowing something with familiarity gained through experience or association;
    • The body of truth, information, and principles acquired by mankind
  • Knowledge: (def. Von Krogh, ISBN:0195126165 )
    • Justified true belief, individual & social, tacit & explicit
  • Knowledge management:
    • Control over content (conventional CMS)
    • Processes for the creation, dissemination, testing and utilization of knowledge (def. Wikipedia)

Slide 12: How can Knowledge be Fostered?

  • Can knowledge be managed? Von Krogh, Nonaka and Ichijo in Enabling Knowledge Creation, ISBN:0195126165, believe that knowledge can only be enabled
    • Management in the sense that you cannot force someone to innovate. We can only create an environment where knowledge can be created
  • Five key knowledge enablers:
    1. Instill a knowledge vision
    2. Manage conversations
    3. Mobilize knowledge activists
    4. Create the right context for knowledge creation
    5. Globalize local knowledge
  • How can this be achieved? With processes and tools

Slide 13: Wikis in the Corporate World

  • A Wiki with the right extensions can be used as a tool to enable knowledge creation
    • Did I mention processes?
  • Some Wikis used in corporations:
    • PHPWiki: A feature-rich implementation with support for various databases (PHP)
    • Tiki: A CMS with Wiki, Slashdot-style forums, blogs, image galleries, chat, etc. (PHP)
    • TWiki: Heavily featured Wiki variant and application platform tailored for corporate use (Perl)
    • ZWiki: A Wiki implementation that runs on the Zope application platform (Python)

Slide 14: What is TWiki?

  • TWiki started as a Wiki engine, but has outgrown its roots and is now a platform for web applications
  • Mission:
    TWiki is a leading-edge, web-based collaboration platform targeting the corporate intranet world. TWiki
    • fosters information flow within an organization
    • lets distributed teams work together seamlessly and productively
    • eliminates the webmaster syndrome of outdated intranet content
  • Open Source software (GPL), hosted at http://TWiki.org/

Slide 15: What is TWiki? (cont.)

  • A Wiki in the original sense, but also:

  • A shared notebook for projects: Repository, scheduling, meetings
  • A departmental collaboration tool: Processes, project reviews, QA tracking
  • An Intranet publishing tool: IT, HR, ISO standards
  • A CMS with focus on free-form collaboration: Requirements capture
  • A knowledge base: Problem/solution pairs with attached patches
  • A platform to create web based applications like news portals, inventory systems, issues tracking systems

Slide 16: Who is using TWiki?

Slide 17: Who is developing TWiki?

Slide 18: Highlights: Web Environment

Slide 19: Highlights: Interactive Environment

  • Add and refactor content - "Share Knowledge"
    • Vs. posting e-mail
  • Notification of changes:
    • Get notified of page changes by e-mail or RSS feed
    • A way to keep everybody in synch
    • Also a way to check content by senior engineers
  • Peer review for up to date content:
    • Fix a posting that is inaccurate or insufficient

Slide 20: Highlights: WikiWords for Linking

  • Easy to create hyperlinks within TWiki pages, just use a WikiWord
  • WikiWords are capitalized words, run together, e.g., WebCollaboration, IntranetTools
  • To create a link to an existing page, edit a page and type:
    • For more info, see IntranetTools
  • If the 'IntranetTools' page exists, it is turned automatically into a link:

Slide 21: Highlights: Creating New Pages

  • First, edit the page where you want to spin off a new page, and type in some text including a WikiWord for the new page:
    • For more info, see IntranetServices
  • After you save the page you will get:
    • For more info, see IntranetServices?.
  • The '?' is a link (to a page that doesn't exist, yet)
  • Now, to create the IntranetServices page, click on this link, type in some text and preview / save it
  • If you return to original page and hit Refresh, the link now covers the whole WikiWord:

Slide 22: Highlights: Context of Content - Tree

  • Tree hierarchy by default (parent relationship via ? links)
    Tree hierarchy

Slide 23: Highlights: Context of Content - Hyperlinks

  • Add WikiWord links to get "what's related" context
    With hyperlinks

Slide 24: Highlights: Context of Content - Breadcrumb

  • Breadcrumb to indicate where you are; path to home
    Breadcrumb navigation
  • Breadcrumb: Home > PluginPackage > PluginDevelopment

Slide 25: Highlights: TWiki Shorthand for Content

  • TWiki Shorthand
    • Simple formatting
    • Easy to learn
    • Content is more important than nice formatting
      • "Think e-mail"
  • What about HTML?
    • TWiki renders HTML
    • Better practice to use TWiki shorthand, easier to maintain by other users
  • Limitation: HTML form based editing, not WYSIWYG

Slide 26: Highlights: Version Control

  • Pages are under revision control:
    • See previous page revisions
      • Click on the r1.4 type links at bottom of page
    • See differences between revisions
      • Click on the Diffs link at bottom of page
    • See who changed what and when
  • 'Soft Security' - anyone can change anything, but changes are logged
  • Complete audit trail, even for meta data like access control

Slide 27: Highlights: Access Control

  • Default - use Soft Security
    • Avoid roadblocks to knowledge sharing
  • Special applications - use Access Control
    • Avoid write access restrictions - "If you can see you can play"
  • Access Control:
    • Define groups in Main.TWikiGroups
    • Set read/write/rename access restrictions to webs and pages based on these groups
  • Complete audit trail of access control settings

Slide 28: Advanced: TWiki Skins

  • TWikiSkins change the look of a TWiki topic, for example the style of the text and the layout of the header and footer
  • Separation of program logic, look and content
  • Corporations typically create their own skin to match the corporate branding standard
  • Many SkinPackages available for download at TWiki.org

Slide 29: Advanced: TWiki Variables

  • TWiki Variables are what environment variables are to an OS, or macros are to a programming language
  • TWiki Variables are text strings - like %SCRIPTURL%, %URLPARAM{"city"}%, %INCLUDE{"OtherPage"}% - that get rendered at page view time
  • Types of variables: Predefined variables; preferences variables; user defined variables
  • Useful to create web applications

Slide 30: Advanced: TWiki Forms

  • Use TWikiForms to add form-based input to free-form content, e.g., you can structure topics with unlimited, easily searchable categories
  • A form is defined in a topic - (DB table definition)
  • Forms can be attached to topics - (DB table row)
  • The form appears in edit mode, and its content gets rendered as a table when viewing the page

Slide 31: Advanced: Formatted Search

  • Use FormattedSearch to generate customized reports in list format or table format
  • Typically used to list topics with form data
  • Report is embedded in a page with a %SEARCH{...}% variable
  • Example applications:
  • Example report:
    Example Plugins report

Slide 32: Advanced: TWiki Plugins

  • TWikiPlugins enhance the functionality of TWiki
  • Growing Plugins repository at TWiki.org - over 110 Plugins available for download
  • A great resource for administrators and web developers to tailor TWiki to their needs, like for example with:

Slide 33: Advanced: TWiki Plugins - Spreadsheet

  • SpreadSheetPlugin: Add spreadsheet formulae to TWiki tables
  • Over 40 formulae available like $AVERAGE(), $IF(), $REPLACE(), $TIME(), $SET(), $GET()
  • You type:
    | *Region:* | *Sales:* |
    | East    |  320 |
    | Central |  580 |
    | West    |  240 |
    | Total: |  %CALC{"$SUM($ABOVE())"}% |
  • You get:
    Region: Sales:
    East 320
    Central 580
    West 240
    Total: 1140

Slide 34: Advanced: TWiki Plugins - XP Tracker

  • The XpTrackerPlugin allows teams to track Extreme Programming (XP) projects
  • Create a page for each Project, Team, Iteration, Story
    • Content in some pages is generated automatically
  • Task details are tracked in a Story page
  • Example: %XPSHOWITERATIONTERSE% shows the summary of iterations in a project:
    Summary of story
      3 1.5 2.5
    37%+33%In progress
    Finish remaining tasks
      4 3 1
    75%+0%In progress
    Team totals   7 4.5 3.5

Slide 35: Advanced: Plugin API and Plugin Internals

  • A TWikiPlugin is composed of a Perl module that gets installed on the server and a topic with help and Plugin configuration
  • A Plugin implements callbacks that extend the functionality of TWiki: Init, render, save, session
  • An API for TWikiPlugins provides the specifications for hooking into the core TWiki code from your external Perl Plugin module: CGI environment, preferences, access control, content handling, I/O
  • Diagram of TWiki core and Plugins:
    TWiki core and Plugins

Slide 36: Web Applications

  • The basic feature set of TWiki can be used to implement web applications
  • We look at two examples:
    • TWiki Installation Directory
    • Workflow system to track features and bugs of TWiki
  • Use/create Plugins for more advanced applications

Slide 37: Web App: TWiki Installation Directory

Slide 38: Web Application: Feature Tracking

Slide 39: Resources for Learning TWiki

  • It takes 20 minutes to learn TWiki essentials and start sharing knowledge!

Slide 40: Initial Deployment

  • Install TWiki on web server
  • Plan rollout and content
    • Pain killer vs. vitamins
  • Build initial structure
  • Populate initial content with help from early adopters
  • Initial rollout with smaller group
  • Train and coach users
  • Do not underestimate inertia and time

Slide 41: Collaboration Issues

  • E-mail Habit - "I prefer e-mail"
    • DONE E-mail doesn't scale - new people, new technology, new customers, new partners...
  • Shared knowledge vs. 'Owners' - "I don't want to edit someone else's page"
    • DONE Wiki culture: nobody 'owns' pages, and any change can be built upon
    • DONE First person to create page is not the owner!
  • 'No control' syndrome - "This leads to chaos"
    • Can be perceived as disruptive by upper management
    • DONE Soft security, audit trail, peer review
  • TWiki syntax - "yet another language"
    • DONE TWiki is e-mail, e.g., just *do it*
    • DONE Use the help pages, doesn't take long to learn

Slide 42: Case Study SAP: Requirements

  • SAP had a need for a knowledge base for a new huge software project involving many teams in many locations. Requirements:
    • Accessibility from everywhere without software installation
    • Creation and maintenance of content by any user - no webmaster
    • Collaboration Support - discussion forums, bug reports, feature discussion
    • Convince the Hackers - how to convince software developers to write anything else besides code...
    • Home pages - easily create and maintain home pages of developers and teams
    • Revision history

Slide 43: Case Study SAP: Deployment

  • Decided to use TWiki since it offered all they needed
  • Quick deployment - 400 users after 3 month
  • Later, TWiki got integrated into an existing knowledge database that uses Perforce for document storage and versioning
  • TWiki is now used in almost all of SAP's development departments
(from SAP success story)

Slide 44: Case Study Wind River: Initial deployment

  • Wind River provides market-specific embedded platforms that integrate real-time operating systems, development tools and technologies
  • Wind River started a large software project in spring 2000, involving around 100 engineers located in 7 offices on two continents
  • Evaluated two web based products to keep track of teams, schedules, milestones, meeting minutes, code reviews, and to store all project related documents:
    • eRoom: Was in use by merged company ISI
    • TWiki: Was in use by acquired company TakeFive
  • Decided for TWiki because it was more flexible and configurable than eRoom, even though eRoom had a more polished UI and more out-of-box applications

Slide 45: Case Study Wind River: Build and Coach

  • Initial time was spent to compile the requirements with key stakeholders, and to build the content structure
  • Gave virtual trainings for each office on collaboration, with focus more on "pros and cons of e-mail, webmaster maintained Intranets, and TWiki based collaboration", and "why it pays off using online collaboration"
  • Coached employees by monitoring content and sending "collaboration hints"

Slide 46: Case Study Wind River: Growing Up

TWiki stats at Wind River
  • Other groups within the company started using TWiki after seeing how projects can be managed in TWiki
  • Big push after a cross-functional council started using TWiki to document its initiatives, metrics and processes
  • Several skins have been created in the familiar Wind River Intranet look
  • The Intranet home is now a TWiki driven news portal
  • Large deployment:
    • 1400 registered users
    • 100 webs, 35K pages
    • 180K actions / month
    • 14K updates / month

Slide 47: Summary

  • TWiki is a powerful platform for web collaboration
  • Free form content and content with structure where needed
  • Easy to share knowledge online
  • Careful coaching is needed
  • Viral growth after people "get it"
  • TWiki is a platform to build web-based applications efficiently

Slide 48: Questions & Answers

Slide 49: References

Slide 50: About Peter

  • Peter Thoeny - Peter@ThoenyPLEASENOSPAM.com
  • Software developer with over 15 years experience, with interests in corporate collaboration, web technology and UI design
  • Author of the open source collaboration software TWiki, managed the project over the last four years
  • Graduate of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich
  • Lived in Japan for 8 years working as an engineering manager for Denso Create, developing case tools
  • Now in the Silicon Valley for 6 years, managing the Engineering Operations group at Wind River


-- PeterThoeny - 18 Jan 2004

Edit | Attach | Watch | Print version | History: r15 < r14 < r13 < r12 < r11 | Backlinks | Raw View | Raw edit | More topic actions
Topic revision: r15 - 2005-06-01 - PeterThoeny
  • Learn about TWiki  
  • Download TWiki
This site is powered by the TWiki collaboration platform Powered by Perl Hosted by OICcam.com Ideas, requests, problems regarding TWiki? Send feedback. Ask community in the support forum.
Copyright © 1999-2018 by the contributing authors. All material on this collaboration platform is the property of the contributing authors.