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RE: [agile-usability] Re: documenting the UI in an agile environment

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  • Jade Ohlhauser
    We use MediaWiki, the same software powering Wikipedia. http://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/MediaWiki http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page Pros * Fast setup *
    Message 1 of 15 , Dec 1, 2005
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      We use MediaWiki, the same software powering Wikipedia.
       
       
       
      Pros
      * Fast setup
      Mature, robust, and well tested
      Easy CSS customization
      Free as in beer and free as in speech
      Flexible markup for formatting
      * Style is handled centrally by CSS
      * Complete edit history & visual dif
       
      Cons
      Limited depth in access control
      Proprietary markup for formatting
      * No sophisticated "multiple users edit same page" handling. At least there's the history (undo) and the ability to limit edits to one section (lessen change of "collision")
       
      For us that first con isn't a big deal because we have a small company so 3 levels of access is fine. The second con isn't a problem for us either because our primary contributors are coders and other technical people so the markup, while possibly challenging to non-programmers, is not an issue. Also, we're somewhat comforted because both those issues are being addressed by ongoing MediaWiki development and that since it's open source if we had to grow quickly beyond its current capabilities we could maybe make improvements ourselves or by contract. In fact, I think version 1.5 out now has user account groups. The cons can also be improved today with extensions/code modification. The whole formatting issue is a pro and a con because once you learn the code you have a lot of control. As mentioned, it works out good for us because the programmers have naturally become interested in the details of it.
       
      We had never setup any wiki before, but our DBA had it on the server in minutes and it took me about 2 hours to blend it into our website design by modifying the existing CSS and PHP files. It took me another couple hours to setup the users including adding an extension to give me more user options.
       
      As for getting people to contribute, it was mostly a matter of getting them comfortable. At the beginning that meant some mandatory contributions both original and transfers of old docs. One of the nice things about the wiki is it removes the burden of styling and organizing content so people can concentrate on content. Also, the developers and testers soon saw the benefit of the new system and how the more they added, the more benefit they personally got. That really helps. We use some contractors and they've also commented on how great this new system is.
       
      Jade Ohlhauser
      Product Manager
      RPM Software                                 
      www.rpmsoftware.com 403-265-6727 x704
       


      From: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com [mailto:agile-usability@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of William Pietri
      Sent: Wednesday, November 30, 2005 4:14 PM
      To: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: Re: [agile-usability] Re: documenting the UI in an agile environment

      Jade Ohlhauser wrote:
      We've moved all documentation to a single wiki. [...] Having been using this "new way" for several months now, everyone involved agrees this is a total improvement in every way. [...]
       In the old system even if if we could have increased the volume some how, it would have been a waste. Those words would have sat trapped in a word file in some folder no one will ever read. In the wiki all this content is usable with a fast, wide search and easy linking. Updates and minor fixes are a breeze with anyone able to login and fix things. We also have easy control over access to hide certain content from certain people.
       
      To me this is like when I first experienced defect racking or source control, I can't imagine going back to not using it. Your mileage may vary.
       

      That's exciting to hear. Which wiki package did you use? And are there particular tricks you folks used to get everybody using the wiki?

      Thanks,

      William
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