Blog Archive

Blog posts for September 2019

How to Create Diagrams in XWiki

Diagrams are great for easily conveying ideas in a visual manner. They’re useful for both communicating the big picture and breaking down complex concepts.

With the right tool, diagramming becomes easy. The XWiki Pro Diagram app provides a clean user interface, based on the jgraph/draw.io integration. Draw.io is a web-based open source diagramming software for creating wireframes, mockups, UML, charts, BPMN, mind maps, network diagrams and much more.

Using the app you can edit and view diagrams straight in your wiki. Each diagram is stored in a wiki page. The revisions of the diagrams are synced in XWiki. The app provides intuitive functionalities and is perfectly suited for both beginners and advanced users.

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By using this tool you will be able to:

  • add and edit new diagrams
  • import existing diagrams
  • include diagrams in other wiki pages

Starting with the 1.7 release of the Diagram Pro Application you get improved PDF exports of diagrams. Additionally, images inserted in a diagram are now stored as attachments on the diagram page.

To try the app you can install it directly from your instance using the Extension Manager. The best part is that you won’t have to spend hours learning how to use it. You only need a few minutes to master the basics.

If you're already an XWiki customer, starting with our Silver plan you have free access to the whole set of XWiki Pro apps, including the Diagram Application. Please get in touch with our support team and they will send you a free license.

Stay tuned for our next release which will bring support for XWiki links inside diagrams exported to PDF, as well as zoom buttons in view mode.

Finally, you can also get a taste of the app with this one minute video:


Silvia Macovei, Head of Cloud Business at XWiki

XWiki Active Directory Application - connect XWiki to your organization directory

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What is Active Directory (AD)?

Active Directory is a directory services implementation developed by Microsoft that provides a hierarchical structure for storing information. Additional functionalities include authentication, user and group management and a framework to deploy related services (Lightweight Directory Services, Certificate Services, Federation Services, and Rights Management). For example, the directory service Active Directory Domain Services (commonly known as AD DS or AD) stores information about user accounts from your organization (names, passwords, phone numbers, etc) and enables other authorized users on the same network to access this information.
The Active Directory service supports the LDAP1 and the Kerberos as protocols2 which act like guidelines to send and receive information.3

Key benefits for using Active Directory:

  • Hierarchical structure to store information regarding your organization.
  • Allows Single-SignOn (SSO) and works well on an intranet environment and over VPN
  • The ability to access and modify AD DS from multiple points of administration
  • A single point of access to network resources.
  • Ability to communicate with external networks running previous versions of Active Directory including Unix.

How can you connect XWiki to Active Directory?

The XWiki team has built an Active Directory application that allows to easily connect your Active Directory server to XWiki using a visual editor.

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User and group management is one of the most used features of the Active Directory application allowing XWiki to be integrated with users and groups from your existing AD organization directory. For example:

  • Active Directory users will be able to authenticate in the wiki and a dedicated XWiki user will be created automatically at the first login.
  • User synchronization: update different user properties (e.g. first name, last name, email, etc)  including the photo.
  • The Active Directory groups can be mapped to XWiki groups which will store as members the users belonging to an Active Directory group.
  • The groups will be synchronized on every authentication of a user.

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Key benefits of using the Active Directory application:

  • Reuse the information from an existing Active Directory server.
  • Provides a visual editor inside the wiki Administration section to ease configuration 
  • Allows you to make changes without restarting the application server
  • Instant access to new features and bug fixes upon update 
  • Support

How can you get the Active Directory application?

To try it out, search for Active Directory application in your wiki's Extension Manager, then install the app and get the trial.

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The Active Directory application offers an easy way to connect your XWiki and you can purchase it directly from the Extension Manager, or with other XWiki services:

  • You can request a free license if you are a Silver+ Support customer (XWiki On Premise or XWiki Cloud)
  • It is included with the XWiki Pro package, a full set of supported apps that will extend the standard platform to improve productivity

1 LDAP is an open computer network authentication protocol supported by many different directory services and access management solutions.
2 Kerberos is a computer network authentication protocol for websites and Single-Sign-On implementations across platforms. It uses strong cryptography and third-party ticket authorization.
3 Source: https://www.varonis.com/blog/the-difference-between-active-directory-and-ldap

Oana Florea - Customer Support Manager @XWiki

The 5 golden rules for a successful Knowledge Base

Information is power, and that power relies on quick and easy access to quality information. Today’s connected users don’t want to wait for a letter, a mail or even a phone call to get in the possession of their desired information, they want it now and they want it at a click away. That’s why you need a strong, structured knowledge base.

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Why should you choose a Knowledge Base? 

According to definitions, a Knowledge Base (KB) is a technology used to store complex structured and unstructured information used by a computer system. The initial use of the term was in connection with expert systems which were the first knowledge-based systems. In today's terms, it’s a self-serve online library that contains everything one might want to know about your product or business. Unlike a real library, a knowledge base is at a click away, every day.

Depending on your business’s specific, your knowledge base will take various structures, for it will include information from every employee, department, stakeholder or interested person. It can include everything from thorough details of what your business does, study cases on how to use your features, internal procedures, troubleshooting tips or frequently asked questions. And here’s the catch, it's stored online, easily accessible via search or a link, therefore: goodbye long threads of emails.

These solutions really work for the modern companies and those keeping up with market changes, and using XWiki Knowledge Bases you get a solution that allows you to access critical business information in a fast and efficient way. You don't need to worry about email overload or loss of critical information when someone leaves the company. XWiki helps you increase productivity and reduce operational costs, while regular backups prevent information loss.

So, what are the rules for a successful Knowledge Base?

1. Establish what you need and how you plan to use it

This means that you must assess how much time you might save if you and your employees would start using it. If the volume is consistent and the questions or tasks are repetitive, a knowledge base could work wonders for your business. Once you decide you need one, establish if you plan to use it internal or open to customers. Finding the right information at the right time can be a challenge for both your employees and your customers, especially when business-related information is scattered within your workforce's minds and computers across your organization.

2. Give a structure to the content

Go beyond simple text and add structure to pages, so you and other users can always know where to find a particular answer or the procedure in place. Design forms and templates for your pages and use tables to filter and sort pages so you will never worry about a cluttered virtual workspace again. Last, but highly important, enable anyone to edit pages using standard web forms. XWiki’s knowledge base comes with some great features to enhance adding new content: use the WYSIWYG editor to make changes; attach any kind of files to pages; import and preview office documents; export pages in different formats; define different layers of security by setting rights for users.

3. Keep your Knowledge Base user-friendly

Once it’s up and running, remember that your knowledge base is a self-serve operation. You’ll need to make sure your knowledge base is easy to navigate. And easy to use. Allow contributors to use quick templates to upload data. Use labels/search terms to categorize information so articles are easy to find. At the same time, with XWiki, your company's knowledge is organized and searchable. XWiki allows you to describe wiki pages by adding additional information (metadata) on top of the documents. You can create a structure that matches your exact needs.

4. Keep information relevant

For example, with XWiki, you can easily have a catalog that displays all contracts with the ability to instantly sort them by date, contract parties or type of documents. Use annotations to write contextual notes on pages, share pages by email with any user, allow users to leave comments and feedback on content and keep track of every change over the content with watch feature. In XWiki, you can compare any two-page versions, so you can always track amends to the content.

5. Let the Knowledge Base work for you

Benefit from the XWiki metadata management and native flexibility, our key differentiators from other wiki solutions, in order to organize your knowledge in a centralized and easy to use way!

TRY XWIKI FOR FREE

Top 10 XWiki Apps questions and their solutions

As we shared with you tips about building a powerful knowledge base with XWiki Pro, and an article including a Top 10 XWiki questions and their solutions, we are now sharing with you a number of tips related to XWiki applications. XWiki users are more and more interested in apps that enhance the wiki's potential to foster collaboration or to display and organize information in a modern and efficient manner. They are also searching for platforms that can integrate with other tools in order to maximize their work processes.

Here are the top 10 XWiki apps questions and solutions addressed by XWiki users.

1. What can I do with the Diagram application?

Using the app you can edit and view diagrams straight in your wiki. Each diagram is stored in a wiki page. The revisions of the diagrams are synced in XWiki. The app provides intuitive functionalities and is perfectly suited for both beginners and advanced users. You can also import existing diagrams, include them in other wiki pages, or export them as PDFs from the Export option on the wiki diagram page.

Check here more details or watch the video below for a glimpse into the Diagram Pro application.


2. Is LDAP the same as Active Directory?

From time to time, we hear from our users that they don't have Active Directory, but they have LDAP. However, a clarification of this aspect is usually required because the meaning of this would probably be that they have another product, such as OpenLDAP (which is an LDAP server)1. While LDAP is a protocol compatible with many different directory services and access management solutions, Active Directory is a directory server that uses the LDAP protocol. XWiki supports several different authentication mechanisms for authenticating users. 

Learn here how to connect XWiki to Active Directory.

3. How to modify or add a new Tour in my wiki?

It's great to use a tour to help users understand the most important features inside a page. You can create a tour for any page you want in the wiki. You can also easily modify existing tours by adding or removing steps or even make it international.

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4. How to create a new Poll in my wiki?

XWiki users have looked for ways to vote for various ideas using a simple Polls Application. To create a poll, you would need to access the home page of the application. Look for the Polls entry in the Applications panel located by default in the left panels section of the wiki, then click Create button from the top of the page. The next step will display a list of available templates where you can find the one corresponding to polls. Add the voting options in the proposals tab, and don't forget to set the poll status to Active in order to allow voting on a poll. Moreover, you can show on a wiki page a list with the most recent created polls using the Recent Polls macro.

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5. How to build my own app in XWiki?

With App Within Minutes you can create a collaborative web application with as little steps as possible and with no technical knowledge necessary. You would simply need to follow the Application Wizard stages witch involve setting a location for the app, adding a structure, set where to add the created application entries, customize the look of the app home page.

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6. How can I use the Google Apps Integration?

With the Google Apps Integration application you can:

  • log in to XWiki using your Google account
  • easily import a Google Apps document as an attachment in XWiki (in multiple formats)
  • launch editing of an XWiki attachment in Google Apps. Once the editing session is finished you can reimport it in XWiki.

Follow the steps here to configure the app and start integrating XWiki with Google's editing apps (Google Docs, Spreadsheet, Presentations and Drawing).

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7. Can I create and edit attached documents directly in the wiki?

Compared with editing docs outside of XWiki and then importing them on the wiki, you can also create and edit doc/docx, xls/xlsx, pps/ppsx attached to a wiki page using the OnlyOffice Connector Application. If you want to have multiple users editing the same attached document, don't forget to enable realtime editing in OnlyOffice on the UI administration page of the application. 

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8. How can I receive notifications about wiki changes?

With the Notification Application you can keep up with updates brought by other users on the wiki or by receiving emails with the selected types of notifications. By default, users don't get any notification. You need to select which "types" of notifications you want to receive: when a page is created, when a blog article is published. To watch a location, all you need is to go to that place, and then click on the "alert" menu (represented by a bell). To follow a user's activity, go to the profile page of the user and click on the Follow button. Gain a better control of the notifications by adding specific filters with the settings available from the "alert" menu.

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9. Is there an app for sharing ideas and project proposals?

Yes. Use the Ideas Application to gather ideas, proposals, solutions or suggestions that need to be voted in order to be implemented. You can then include a list with your ideas on a wiki page using the Recent Ideas macro.

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10. How can I manage rights on a Forum?

There are four categories to take into consideration when we are talking about managing rights in the Forum application: forum, topic, answer and comment.
By default, any regular user is allowed to perform the same actions on all the above mentioned entities, just as they are on any other wiki page: create a new form, edit any forms (even created by others), delete only those that they created. The XWiki Access Rights Guide comes to your assistance when it comes to understanding basic rules or permission types. Enjoy afterwards the cool Forum features: voting, Wysiwyg editing for all fields, Admin or Topic Manager, moderating the content with the ability to flag inappropriate content.


How to install XWiki applications?

In order to install the application, follow the next steps inside your XWiki instance (on Cloud or on premise). In the Applications Panel click on "More Applications..." and then "Install new applications...". Alternatively navigate directly to the Administration and select the "Extensions" section. Search for the extension you wish to install and use the Install button to install it.

If it's an XWiki Pro application, you would need to activate a license in order to use it on your wiki or sub-wiki. Navigate to the "Licenses" section of the Administration, fill your details, look for the extension you just installed in the live table and click the buttons to get a trial license or to buy a license. If you are a Silver+ support client, please request a license for XWiki Pro applications and follow the instructions provided by the support team to add the license on your wiki.

How to keep up to date with XWiki Pro applications improvements?

Subscribe to our XWiki communications to receive updates about XWiki applications and other improvements brought to the XWiki platform.

Andreea Chirica, Communications & Support Specialist at XWiki

1 More details regarding the differences between LDAP and Active Directory

Extra protection for your wiki with the new XWiki Antivirus Application

Most of us have an antivirus software installed on our PC to protect our data. Antivirus software plays a key role in protecting our system by detecting threats and ensuring our data remains safe. We’re also aware that we should not open attachments in unsolicited email coming from unknown email addresses. But have you considered viruses might also reside in your wiki’s attachments? Unless your wiki is completely isolated, you’re always going to face the risk of viruses, particularly when you upload external files to the wiki. It’s what you do to prepare yourself against the potential damage that matters, particularly to avoid infecting any of your users who might download infected attachments.

The new XWiki Antivirus Application provides extra protection for your wiki, by scanning uploaded attachments via an external antivirus engine. The antivirus performs various checks and verifications through different algorithms and its extensive virus database.

The checks are performed in two steps:

  • Directly at upload time, canceling the upload operation in case an infected file is detected, thus not allowing the infected file to reach your wiki.
  • Periodically, by scanning all attachments on your wiki (including subwikis), in order to cover the case where a periodically updated virus database would now be able to detect a threat that was previously unknown. The period is configurable through a scheduler.

For your convenience, the Antivirus Application comes with ClamAV integrated by default. ClamAV is the leading Open Source antivirus solution. However, other antivirus engines can also easily be implemented and configured to be used by the Antivirus Application.

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Once you have installed the app, the Antivirus section will become available in your XWiki Administration, together with options for configuring the connection to the ClamAV antivirus server. After the configuration, the antivirus application will start working to prevent users from attaching infected files to your wiki's pages.

Whenever an infected attachment is detected during the periodical scan, it is immediately deleted, in order to neutralize the threat. You might be curious why it doesn't disinfect the file. ClamAV's FAQ explains the reason for not attempting this. The short answer is that most of the time, infected files are compromised beyond recovery and whatever is left after disinfection is either corrupted or dangerous.

At the end of each periodic scan, an email report is generated and sent to all main wiki admins. The report contains information about the following:

  • Infected attachments that were detected and automatically deleted
  • Infected attachments that failed to be deleted (i.e. might still be a threat), if any
  • Errors that occurred during the scan of some attachments

Each incident, (detected during upload) or during a scheduled scan, is recorded in the Antivirus Log which is displayed in the same Administration section.

You can try out the Antivirus App by installing it from your wiki’s Extension Manager.

The application is included in XWiki Pro, so our Silver+ customers already enjoy free access to it. You can install the app directly from the Extension Manager or contact our support team for help.

Silvia Macovei - Head of Cloud Business