Blog Archive

Blog posts for August 2019

Top 10 XWiki questions and their solutions

Whether you’re just starting your XWiki journey or you're already an advanced user, you probably wondered about any existing documentation or didn't have the time to look for the right information. Throughout the years you sent through our contact form, by email, on the Community Forum or support tickets numerous queries that showed your interest in having XWiki tips & tricks available at hand. We heard you. We built a Help Center for our services and we’re constantly working on improving our documentation.

Even more, we are now bringing a list of the most common XWiki support tickets and their solutions to help users further in their collaboration journey.

1. How do I contact the XWiki Support team?

If you have acquired professional support services from our XWiki SAS team, you should create a ticket on XWiki Network or write an email to support@xwiki.com. Here are some best practices when you are reporting an issue. Did you know you can also report a bug or request a feature on our XWiki open source project's Jira tracking software?

2. How do I to set rights in my wiki?

With XWiki, thanks to the different permission types, it's easy to manage the access to actions like: read, edit, comment, delete etc. We added a number of basic rules that help both simple and advanced users understand why they cannot access certain pages or do certain actions in the wiki. If you want to make your wiki public or private, this is the access setup documentation you'd need to check. Moreover, read here how to set rights on a specific page and/or its child pages.

An example would be that when you decide to explicitly allow the view right for "Group A" on a given page, users that are not members of "Group A" must have the view right explicitly set on the given page to be able to view it as well. Plus, the wiki owner and the superadmin account always have full admin privileges regardless of the configured rights.

3. What are the Features for Simple versus Advanced Users?

To note that the table below refers only to basic differences between the types of XWiki users. The access to these features could be customized through rights assignment or switch from simple to advanced user. Check this page for more details regarding simple and advanced page editing modes. Bonus tip: Admins would need to switch to the Advanced mode in their profile preferences to enable the extra options on the top main menu.

XWiki Features for Simple versus Advanced users

4. How do I enable features deactivated by default?

There are a number of features deactivated by default in XWiki in order to leave the possibility to the user to personalize their experience within the platform. Here are some examples: hidden pages (technical content such as application classes, configuration pages, macros, styles, scripts, etc), extra accessibility features (visual enhancements like bigger fonts, underlined links, etc), extension conflict setup, multilingual mode.

As a standard user, you could enable the display of hidden pages, extra accessibility features or choose the user type from your profile page, in the Preferences tab.

User Preferences View

There are also editing features disabled by default in the CKEditor (the default WYSIWYG editor starting with XWiki 8.2): plugins (bidi, colorbutton, font, justify, save, specialchar), toolbar features (Anchor, Find, Paste, PasteFromWord, PasteText). These are available in the Administration of your wiki, and they could be modified by an Administrator.

ckeditor-administration

5. How do I change the appearance of my wiki?

During the journey of adapting XWiki to their needs, the users are looking into ways to personalize the wiki according to their company branding, business goals or personal preferences. See here how to change the logo, background color or the panels. For those interested into more advanced customization levels visit the skin page and discover the complete skins-related guide on XWiki.org.

6. Are there page templates?

If you already have some predefined content and you are looking for ready-to-use templates, here are some examples of available templates inside XWiki.

Article
article.png
Encyclopedia
encyclopedia.png
Meeting Report
meeting.png
Simple Page
simple.png

Learn more on how you can also create your own page templates

7. How do I turn on/off the Comments & Page History?

In the Administration of your wiki, go to the Look & Feel tab, in the Presentation section and select the page tabs you would like to be visible at the bottom of your wiki pages. Bonus tip: in the same location you can also configure the header and footer content.

Comments and Page History

8. How do I compare two versions of a page?

In order to compare 2 versions, you need to select one of the radio buttons corresponding to the version from which you want to start the comparison. These are the buttons located in the "From" column. You will then need to select the button corresponding to the version you want to compare the previously selected version against. These buttons are located in the "To" column. You may choose to include minor edits in the comparison. After selecting the 2 versions you wish to compare you will need to click on "Compare selected versions". Moreover, clicking on either one of the 2 compared version numbers (shown in the header) will display that version of the page.

Comparing two page versions

9. How do I restore deleted pages?

Did you delete a page that you now noticed had an important role in your wiki? There is a way to restore it. Access the Page Index, available in the drawer menu on the top right of the wiki. You will discover there all pages, attachments, deleted pages, deleted attachments in your wiki. Go to the deleted pages tab and search for the desired page. In the Actions column, you will now notice the possibility to restore or to delete forever a page from the trash. Find out more about restoring and deleting pages in XWiki.

indexalldocsdeleted

10. How do I set a Custom Server Name for my XWiki Cloud instance?

Our Silver+ XWiki Cloud users benefit from Custom Server Names. When setting up a custom server, the first thing to consider is purchasing a security certificate. It's important to note that you own this custom domain, thus we request from you a security certificate that would be used to provide a secure connection. After you send it to the support team, there is one setting you'd need to add to your instance, such as your wiki's CNAME to point to "cloud.xwiki.com." (the final dot is important emoticon_smile ). And then, contact the support team to ask for the final adjustments.

learning

I hope you enjoyed the article and that you find the answers useful.

Andreea Chirica, Communications and Support Specialist at XWiki

15 Ways Remote Companies Can Build Strong Teams

Build_strong_remote_teams_blog.png

Working remotely is great for many reasons: a bigger talent pool, better work / life balance, more focus and productivity. But it also has its challenges, with a need to implement more tools, processes, documentation and also put more effort into building a culture of transparency. Over the past 15 years we've been embracing flexible work, with people having the liberty to work either fully or partly remotely. In this article we explore some of the things we've learned and tips companies can follow to build stronger remote teams.

1. Communicate your story and the company vision

Telling your story and having a clear vision for your company are not only good for business, but they're also essential to your team's cohesion. The company story reminds people how you got there, while the vision statement sets the direction for the future. Defining the impact that the company wants to make on the world will also help the team better understand why their work matters and how their objectives align with the bigger picture. The goals for the vision are to inspire and engage the team.

2. Define your values

Values are the unique principles that inform how the vision will be achieved. Values should be clearly articulated and written down in a handbook, so everyone can read them as they on-board the team. Decisions should then be through the lens of the values. Since every new employee will have an impact on your culture, it’s important that you also recruit having those values in mind. Leaders should set the example by defining and then living by these principles. Values are not set in stone though, so as your team grows, you may want to reexamine them.

3. Organize work

Building the infrastructure that allows people to collaborate efficiently is essential. Teams should have access to different collaboration tools such as Slack, Mattermost or Riot for chat, XWiki for collaboration and knowledge management, Trello, OpenProject or GitLab for project and task management. At XWiki we use Riot to keep in touch with the team and we love it. It's very easy to use and it's open source. Not surprisingly, most of our work is organized in XWiki, customized with apps to make it fit our exact needs.

online chat gif from canity

4. Build a culture of transparency and knowledge sharing

Knowledge sharing and solid processes should be at the heart of all distributed companies. They make onboarding easier and help drive transparency. Knowledge sharing also increases efficiency and minimizes friction as information becomes readily available for employees across different time zones.

At XWiki we try to document knowledge as much as possible, through product and project documentation, knowledge bases, FAQs, onboarding guides etc. A good rule of thumb is that whenever someone asks a questions on a chat the answers should point as much as possible to documents. Of course it's easier to post a direct answer on the chat, but it's more useful on the long run to store that answer in a document for later reference.

5. Recruit for soft skills, not just technical skills

When evaluating a potential employee it’s important to assess technical skills, but you should also look at soft skills and culture fit. Excellent communication and writing abilities are essential to thrive in a remote role.

Many distributed teams also find it useful to have the candidate do a small paid assignment before making a job offer. This will help the candidate get a better understanding of the job and it will help the team in better assessing the fit.

6. Make video calls

With non-verbal cues missing from written communication, using video as much as possible can be a good idea. While it doesn’t replace in person interactions, it does help eliminate some of the loneliness and isolation that some remote workers eventually face. Tools such as Zoom and Google Hangouts are great options for organizing video calls. In the future we might even work in a VR office altogether.

7. Have regular meetings

All hands are great for introducing new team members, making announcements, recognizing accomplishments, providing company statuses, answering questions. Many remote companies also have regular team meetings, project kick-offs and retrospectives, as well as daily “stand-ups”.

team meetings

8. Organize company retreats

Chat is great, but nothing beats real face to face interactions. Regular company retreats are great opportunities for people to consolidate relationships that are mainly built virtually. You can find out more about how we organize our annual retreat by reading this article.

9. Strive for balance between synchronous and asynchronous communication

The balance between synchronous and asynchronous communication is hard to achieve. For long discussions, important feedback and brainstorming, face time can be better. Async however is equally important when you’re trying to get into a state of flow and do the deep work. Many remote workers will say async is how they manage to get their work done. There are many ways of doing async, from email to chats, forums and comments. You just have to pick the tools and the ratio that work best for you and your team.

10. Encourage company traditions

It’s easy to celebrate events and set up traditions when people see each other every day in the office, but there are things you can also do as a remote team. Some ideas include celebrating birthdays, organizing hackathons and other challenges, going on company and team offsite retreats.

11. Have a virtual water cooler

When you’re working in a virtual environment, you may end up talking only about work. It’s also easy to forget taking breaks. However, informal chats that go beyond work are essential for building rapport, keeping healthy, energized and productive. Don’t be afraid to use emoticons and gifs to convey emotion.

Donut is a great Slack extension that randomly pairs people from different teams. They’re then encouraged to chat about their lives and get to know each other better.

12. Provide and collect regular feedback

Critical feedback should be delivered face to face as much as possible. This way you can also see all the non-verbal cues, which are not visible via chat or email. A good rule of thumb is that if a chat escalates or is taking too long, it might be worth doing a video call instead. Trusting the team and assuming miscommunication (not bad intentions) are good principles to live by.

Collecting anonymous feedback is a great way to measure team happiness and also to see what may be improved across the board.

13. Do one on ones

Leading your team in a remote culture requires a lot of pro-activity. Since impromptu conversations are less likely to happen, it’s important to schedule regular one on ones with the team. You should try not to turn one on ones into status updates though. Having a shared online agenda can help with keeping the conversations on track. Creating a list of actionable items at the end can help follow through with the points discussed.

14. Measure employee performance

In a remote setting, employees may spend much of their time wondering whether they’re actually doing a good job, particularly if they worked in a traditional setting before. Productivity can’t be measured in the number of hours spent in the office, so it’s important to focus on setting objectives and measuring output. Metrics, coupled with the team’s feedback and one on ones should provide the context for measuring and improving performance.

15. Invest in the mental well-being of your team

Without an office to go to every day, people may end up feeling disconnected. On top of that, Impostor Syndrome might start creeping in. It's the feeling that we don’t deserve what we’ve earned and that others will expose us as frauds. It’s particularly an issue with remote work, were people don’t get to see you at your desk everyday.

Keeping a record of accomplishments and providing/receiving timely feedback can help. Coworking spaces or professional networks can be great places to meet like minded people and have more face to face interactions. Many companies offer a coworking stipend.

Most remote employees have the liberty to organize their time according to their needs, which is one of the main perks. But that can also easily backfire if the team stay connected 24/7. Companies should encourage breaks and discourage overtime.

fish tank gif from canity

If you’re interested in learning more about remote work, we also recommend:

As technology evolves, the way we think about work is being transformed and we’re bound to have more companies challenging the status quo and adopting a remote-first culture. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Silvia Macovei, Head of Cloud Business at XWiki