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Three questions to ask before you choose an engine...

 

 

How tech savvy are the people who will add to the pages of your wiki? Experienced wiki users may not mind "markup language" formats, which require learning a bit of code editing. However, others may prefer the WYSIWYG format ("what you see is what you get"), since the interface resembles common text editing programs such as MS Word.
  
Do you want to download wiki engine software to place on your own hardware, or do you want to subscribe online to a service hosted for you? Downloaded software gives you more control (ie., firewall, extensibility), but hosted services require less setup time and technical knowledge.
  
Do you want to retain past versions of your pages so you can view changes or revert back? Without page history, information can be inadvertently lost when pages are updated by the next user.

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Enterprise wiki users may also wish to check the following:

  - Will your wiki outgrow your engine? Some hosted services are geared towards personal use or small enterprises and may have storage and bandwidth limits.
  - Do you want to put your wiki under your own domain name and brand it to match your website? If you opt for a hosted service, make sure you can do so.
  - Virtually every engine will allow you to lock chosen pages so they aren't freely editable, but some will also offer options that help prevent spam and block vandals.
  - Virtually every engine allows you to attach files and images, but searching those attached files may be limited to keywords instead of content.
  - If you choose software, make sure everything is compatible, including webserver, operating system, and data storage.
  - If you choose software, do you want to try "free and open source"? Its usually cost-free and you can modify the sourcecode, but there's a learning curve for beginners.
  - What tech support is available? Even some open source software is served by commercial tech support suppliers, and if its a popular engine, tech pointers can be hunted down in communites online. Hosted services are often chosen by those who want good tech support ready at hand, but you will want to verify that it is offered, and whether its via their website or by phone, and if there are fees for it.
  - What's the wiki engine's programming language? If you don't have a language preference or know what's compatible with your webserver, you'll need to learn more or opt for a hosted service.
  - What does the license (for software) or subscription (for hosted) cost? Some hosted services are free for small groups so you can try the engine, but check the scaled pricing if you intend to grow.
  - If you've built skills on someone else's wiki site, you may want to check linking (ie. camelcase), syntax (ie. html tags), etc. for features you liked or loathed.
  - Thinking software? Visit their site and look for "sandboxes" where visitors can try out the engine. Thinking hosted service? Some will host small wikis for free, which gives you a chance to explore features.
   
  Ready to start a wiki? * free wiki
   
  Uhh, what exactly is a wiki, and what can it do for me? what is a wiki...
 
*Free version includes 2 workspaces with up to 5 team members each, 25MB storage, WYSIWYG, hosted, with page history.
Wiki is fully scalable for business, but fees may apply for more users or storage.
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