XWiki

Category: XWiki (198 posts) [RSS]

Sep 16 2019

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.

XWiki-Knowledge-Base-benefits.svg

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

Sep 06 2019

XWiki Active Directory Application - connect XWiki to your organization directory

ActiveDirectoryAppXWiki.png

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.

XWikiActiveDirectory-administration.png

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.

XWikiActiveDirectory-mapping.png

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.

XWikiActiveDirectory-BuyApp.png

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

Sep 02 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

Aug 15 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

Jul 26 2019

Top 3 user experience integrations for your XWiki website

Thinking of a new website? Or have you ever felt that your existing website is a boring, monotonous one lost in the sea of thousands of unique, interactive websites? Here is how you can make things a little more interesting and turn the tide in your favor. Comes in: website user experience (UX). It refers to how your users use, see and remember the website.

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What is "user experience" on a website?

To understand user experience (UX), you will have to know what user interface (UI) is and what it does. User Interface (UI) is a medium through which users interact with your website. Conventionally, it means action buttons, text, visuals or any tool that triggers interaction.

Now, user experience (UX) in website design is about how the user feels, either when interacting with the UI elements of your website or simply when onboarding your website. User experience (UX) maintains the flow and engages the customer throughout their journey on your website. A well-designed user experience (UX) will have the power to influence the mood or behavior of the user interacting with your website.

In this article, we will talk about how some simple tweaks can enhance the user experience (UX) for your public website based on XWiki, and delight your users.

1. Privacy matters, and its user experience as well

As of 25 May 2018, the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has become an enforceable regulation in EU law. It covers data protection and privacy for all individual citizens of the European Union (EU) and the European Economic Area (EEA) as well as the transfer of personal data outside the member states.

If your public website is serving individuals from the EU and you - or embedded third-party services like Google and Facebook - are processing any kind of personal data, you need to obtain prior consent from the visitor/user.

To increase user experience (UX) for the public websites built with XWiki, you can use the free app GDPR Cookie Consent to achieve and maintain cookie compliance. The app describes the data processing needs in plain language to the visitor/user, before processing any personal data.

Different configuration options are available, including updating the look and feel to match your website colors or using text/labels in the language of your target users.

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The GDPR Cookie Consent app on a standard XWiki

For further details, you can take a look at the blog article on the GDPR compliance with XWiki's cookies consent application.

2. Reduce the communication gap

One of the most common features for a public website is the "Contact us" form. It’s where a new user goes when they have a question or needs precise information regarding your organization. Website user experience (UX) best practices suggest that nowadays' must is real-time communication. However, the old-fashioned “contact form” does not offer a feeling of direct communication and will downgrade your user's experience.

Integrating a Chat solution in addition to the "Contact us" form will not only improve communication with your users but also add a personal touch to the conversation.

For example, Zendesk offers a flexible Chat solution including a "Lite" free version which could be a good starting point for a small business/organization. The chat widget can be easily embedded within the XWiki platform by just adding the Javascript code on one of the Administration fields (e.g. the end of the “HTTP Meta Info” field from the wiki Administration section) with an Admin user.

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Embedding Zendesk on XWiki

The “Chat” widget will be available on the right bottom corner and the message window will pop up upon click.

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Zendesk Chat embedded on XWiki Cloud

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Zendesk Chat embedded on xwiki.com

3. A powerful search engine for great user experience

Search is one of the core functionalities for any public website and the now, standard, search icon.png icon stands proudly on the homepage of dozens of the world's best websites. When you have a lot of data to share, it’s important to help your users quickly find what they are looking for while still keeping an eye on their experience on the website.

As of 2013, XWiki has been using the powerful Solr search engine to index the wiki content which brought a superior search experience to the product:

  • More relevant results and extracts in search results,
  • Faceted search,
  • Better advanced searching,
  • Support for clustering,
  • Google-like searching (i.e. no need to use wildcards),
  • Better translation support,
  • Improved performances,
  • And generally speaking, all the niceties provided by Apache Solr.

To increase your website's user experience (UX), the search engine can be customized to better index the data and offer the most relevant results. Our team has recently delivered such a project for the Historical Dictionary of Switzerland (DHS).

The DHS is an encyclopedia on the history of Switzerland which aims to take into account the results of modern historical research in a manner accessible to a broader audience. The new public website built on top of XWiki has been online since May 2019. 

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The Solr search engine on the homepage of The Historical Dictionary of Switzerland

Understanding the importance of user experience (UX) on your website is imperative when it comes to managing it. In the end, it is what can either make it or break it. Users seek more than a simple, lifeless interface, which is why well-thought-out user experience (UX) will point you in the right direction and help users feel at home on your website.

What other integrations do you find worth mentioning when it comes to enhancing user experience (UX) on a website? Feel free to share it with us and we will add it on the list! 

Oana Florea - Customer Support Manager @XWiki

Jul 19 2019

Words from the CEO for the #15yearsofXWiki party

On the 8th of July, we celebrated 15 years of XWiki. In this celebration, we were joined by XWiki Alumni, friends of the company and the Open Source project, and some lovely clients. 

Below, you can find a written version of the speech Ludovic Dubost, the CEO and creator of XWiki, held that evening. Note that the following text is not the exact transcription of Ludovic's speech, but the written version before the actual speech.

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This party celebrates 15 years of efforts from all the XWikiers to grow a sustainable company building Free and Open Source software that matters. It means a lot to me and the XWikiers to have you all here tonight.

It is very hard to summarize 15 years in a simple and short speech, and I'm not very famous for being able to keep it short. I'll do my best.

A good approach would be to summarize it by the objective. When I created XWiki, I did not fully know what I was doing. I'm not saying I do know now, but at the time I came out of an experience in the Internet Bubble, working for a company that was successful in the bubble. That success means that today it doesn't exist anymore. The company raised money, built great proprietary technology, went in 15 countries, made little revenue, went on the stock market, and eventually was sold for 10 times less than it was valued before. The technology that we had to build went, in part, to the trash bin.

Free and Libre Open Source Software

 Open Source has been my main answer, knowing that by building our software as Open Source it would still be there whatever happens.

Later, as I built XWiki, I discovered more about FLOSS Software, and participating in this movement has become something very important. Free Software is about control. The movement was created with the objective of users regaining control on software. Today, although we have more Open Source software, the lack of control is still a big concern, as from Proprietary Software companies giving you software that you don't control but that you install in your home or company, we have moved to Cloud companies providing services mainly built on Open Source code, but which you still do not control. While the FLOSS movement has progressed we are still lacking the FLOSS based end services and software that allow us to keep control. What XWiki does today, providing both software and services fully as Free Software is even more relevant and important.

I'm very proud that XWiki is part of an important and vibrant movement in France and Europe, alongside many other companies and organizations. These organizations are important as they show how important Free and Open Source is. Some of them have joined us today: April, or OW2, but it's also worth mentioning CNLL, AFUL, Framasoft, La Quadrature du Net and internationally FSF, OSI or free software events like FOSDEM.

Software that matters

Knowledge: Another objective was to build software that matters. In my previous job in 2001, thanks to Erwan, I discovered wikis and we set it up to share knowledge in our team. I had found software that matters. Wikis matter, because they help share knowledge. Sharing knowledge matters for many reasons. First, it is very important for companies to make them more successful, but it also helps people grow when accessing more knowledge through companies or public wikis. "Knowledge is Power" said Francis Bacon.

 Knowledge empowers individuals and allows them to become team members instead of tasks executors. For us, at XWiki "Knowledge is Power ... so it should be shared"

Going a step forward, we should be proud that XWiki is being used to make knowledge accessible to probably millions of people, inside 7000 organizations that have XWiki installed, and through public websites with tens of thousands of visitors.

Clients and Users: Not only do we build the software, but we also help companies make better use of it and set up knowledge sharing systems. Throughout the years we have been able to work on many great subjects, including Education Knowledge Sharing, Information Sharing for the Public Service (CNFPT), Knowledge Sharing for train repair or answering calls from people having had an accident, lately the Historical Lexicon of Switzerland, MonAvis system for allowing citizens to vote on dematerialized public services. We have also worked on medical wikis such as the CDLS World, community helping parents with sick children or the Children Knowledge Network in Canada. We are also happy to bring knowledge sharing to medium-sized companies with XWiki Cloud and even to individuals with CryptPad. Since we launched these two products we have had subscribers from 20 different countries.

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A big thank you to our clients and supporters who participate in building our Open Source Software.

Privacy: More recently, the subject of privacy has emerged. The Snowden revelations have shown that we don't know who has access to our data and for what. The business model of cloud services has fuelled a surveillance economy that we cannot control anymore, as it has been used to influence elections. The progress of cloud as a more convenient system for users both in terms of usage and price, combined with the greed of businesses fighting for the "winner takes it all" spot, is driving us into a wall.

At XWiki we had the opportunity to do something about it, so we took it: working on our realtime editors, Caleb (Alumnus) found a way to make realtime editing work without needing the server to read the content.
It's worth telling how I almost killed this project. 

 One day I come in the research office and Caleb tells me how he just recoded the realtime synchronisation in Javascript instead of Java. My first question was whether this was really needed. The NIH syndrome is very popular amongst developers.
- Why exactly did you recode it? 
- So I used the blockchain to allow to manage the order of patches and then reimplemented Operational Transform in Javascript, and now the server is only transmitting the data, so we can encrypt. 
Obviously, he knew he was talking to a CEO, and that he would get me with the word "blockchain".

But he got something there. This technology is a breakthrough, allowing new types of applications which are "privacy by default" and "Zero-Knowledge". This gave birth to the Open Source software CryptPad and CryptPad.fr which has more and more users and supporters. 10000 users per week are accessing CryptPad from around the world, 300+ instances are running, protecting users content. Not only are we breaking new technological ground with this project, but we are also trying a new business model, through low-cost subscriptions and crowdfunding. 

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I would like to thank our subscribers for the CryptPad service. Also, to our supporters who have donated, along with BPI France that funded our research project for many years. Of course, I wouldn't want to forget NLNet that is currently funding CryptPad's roadmap, allowing us to actively continue the development of the software and service.

More generally, I would like to thank the public bodies that have funded our research throughout the years: Ville de Paris, Ile de France Region, Agence Nationale de la Recherche and the European Community have been great supporters of this work. I would also like to thank the partners that have invited us on their projects: Mandriva, Nexedi, INRIA, Linagora, University of Catalona and many more. We would not be as far without their funding. 

Giving people more than a job: Another thought that crossed my mind when I created XWiki, was how would I build a company that did not repeat what I didn't like in the companies I worked for as an employee. The answer to this hasn't been to build a campus with beanbags, slides and bikes, but to try to make a transparent and open company, based on general trust. A company where employees have a project they can believe in and focus their work towards the same goal: better product, better services, better us.

In the case of our small business, we aimed to:

  • get people paid for the work they do;
  • keep reasonable amounts of pressure or constraint;
  • make it a successful business that is competitive in our industry;
  • keep the company independent, without raising money, and not end up being sold to the highest bidder;
  • all of the above, without forgetting to provide the code of our products as Open Source, usable for everyone.

We do have a baby foot table though.

Obviously, if you can get the paycheck coming in without any pressure or constraint, it might be easier to have a happy team. But XWiki has not been about trying to solve easy problems. I believe it is important to not stop at easy, especially in the IT industry. I believe that we, working in IT, are privileged today, as we are in a market where the demand is high.

I find that this privilege particularly applies to me, having had the chance to be born and raised in a country and by parents that gave me a lot of security and allowed me to benefit from high-level education. I have learned this is not as obvious as it may seem. I use this occasion to thank my family for this. So, this privilege gives us a responsibility to try to do more. 

Europe & Romania

Another reason we chose to go for Open Source software is that at XWiki, we believe in the European software industry. Even though our industry has become more and more prevalent, it is massively dominated by US companies, today the same as 15 years ago. The French and European software and internet industries are still weak, but working hard to catch up. I've always believed, thanks also to my "European" education, having lived in Germany as a kid, that Europe is highly important for our future and that we need to collaborate more across Europe.

15yearsofXWiki-q3.png
While I'm proud that we have initially built this company out of France, I've always thought of XWiki as an international company being able to span frontiers.

It's not an easy fight. I wish I could be positive, but unfortunately, we are struggling to get a united Europe. The software industry is not an exception. Europe invests in R&D and we are very grateful for the help, but we do not see an industrial strategy at the European level trying to bring our companies closer together. Investment in startups is national. In France, Startup Nation and FrenchTech are everywhere in the press reinforcing a nationalistic point of view. XWiki SAS is a proud Open Source EuroTech. ​​​​

I'm particularly proud that we have built XWiki as a Franco-Romanian company. I did not know Romania before Sergiu (Alumnus). After being a Summer of Code student, he helped create XWiki in Romania, in 2007. Twelve years later, I discovered a beautiful country with many talents and lots of new friends. I'm very proud of our team in Iasi that has joined us today, and everything they have achieved at XWiki. Also, XWiki has changed the personal lives of quite a few people, including my own. I'm glad that I had something to do with it. If we will have failed everything else, at least this cannot be taken away.

This project is yours

I want to make one thing clear: this is your company and your achievements. It was achieved by the highly talented XWikiers:

  • it is the XWiki Product Squad spending endless hours releasing 12 XWiki versions per year, our QA team running the same tests over and over again, trying to catch bugs;
  • it is the Client Squads, lead by our account managers, spending long meetings with clients to sell projects, and get them delivered;
  • it is the Client Team's architect's and developer's talent building the projects and taking responsibility to make them work;
  • it is our Support Squad, keeping our clients happy, whatever happens;
  • it is the Cryptpad Squad, previously our research team, working hard to get research projects, deliver them and break new grounds;
  • it is our Marketing Squad getting us at conferences and ensuring we have great brochures, flyers, stickers, and tee-shirt for these events, catching our leads, with only a fraction of the budget of the big players;
  • it is our HR Squad getting young engineers to see beyond the size of your logo on the building and keep us happy while making our two offices work smoothly and seamlessly;
  • it is our Community which uses XWiki, makes it known, contributes to our forums and extensions. There are no small contributions to Free and Open Source software;
  • it is the research funding agencies, along with our research partners who allow us to get the necessary funding to fuel our research and innovation process, while building new capabilities and releasing them as Open Source;
  • it is our clients who buy our services, our cloud, our support and are funding the development of these projects and allow this company model to exists.

Thank you for making this possible. I suppose, if we are still there after those 15 years, earning more than we spend year after year, we have succeeded.

You should be all proud of this achievement! This INCREDIBLE achievement!

D--dBySXsAAiDiN.jpeg

Drawing of the evening, courtesy of Bénédicte Roullier

What does the future hold for XWiki

Technology continues to evolve, and XWiki needs to embrace the changes. Virtualisation is an incredible trend, and the browser is the key tool everybody is using now.

With new technologies like WebAssembly, we can expect that we should soon be able to run the Java JVM and MySQL in the browser and, therefore, XWiki itself. If we can run XWiki in the browser, then we should be able to run XWiki inside CryptPad, allowing the combining of our two products and bringing encryption to XWiki.

Well, who knows what can happen in 15 years, maybe it will be possible!

More seriously, in the next 15 years, XWiki SAS will be what you decide it should be. We have created the Squad structure to create team autonomy and make each team focus on its sustainability and its key goals. What XWiki SAS does will evolve with you!

On my side I hope 15 years from now, XWiki SAS will have grown XWiki and made many more knowledge projects, all the while being more integrated with other popular Open Source solutions so that, together, these products can help our companies and countries regain technological independence. XWiki SAS wants to help, but we cannot do this alone. 

On the CryptPad side, I'm confident we will reach sustainability thanks to our users and supporters helping CryptPad spread. CryptPad has enormous potential to change the way software is being built and used, focusing on privacy first. I wish new squads will exist. XWiki SAS should be your home for building great, sustainable free software products. 

To finish I'd like to raise my glass to all those who have helped us, who share our goals and to all our team.

After bragging for an hour about the work we do, I would like to close by raising my glass to the many, inside and outside XWiki, that do even harder and more important work, silently tackle the non-easy tasks, without being in the spotlight. It's not always those of whom we speak the most that do the most important work.

Happy 15 years!

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Jun 28 2019

Improving Customer Experience with our enhanced Cloud Customer Portal

Over the years XWiki Network has been the place where we spend most of our time communicating with our support clients.

We have recently started to work on the revamping of our support platform for our cloud users. You can access the newer version of our customer portal directly from the cloud wiki using “Report an issue”.

The latest XWiki Network includes

  • improvements for the management of support tickets with a better editor for reporting a support ticket
  • the possibility to purchase apps (including XWiki Pro, the full set of productivity and business-oriented applications) directly from the Shop*

At XWiki, we have always been focused on improving customer satisfaction by gathering as much feedback as possible which we then take into account as we discuss work on new features and improving our services.

For several years we have been sending out a yearly survey encouraging our clients to offer their opinion on both the services we provide but also on the product.

While the number of clients that have filled in the survey has remained steady, the question on our mind was how we could get more regular feedback. We wanted to keep it simple, with just a few clicks. Consequently, we have added just one rating option and a feedback box (in case our services rate lower than “Excellent” emoticon_wink ).

Gathering more feedback will help us know when we do well and where we can improve our services, so we encourage all our cloud users to click the rating they feel is closer to their customer experience.

Also, stay tuned for more improvements over the next period.

Oana Florea, Customer Support Manager

*Starting with level Silver, our Support clients will receive upon request a free voucher for XWiki Pro.

Jun 11 2019

Join us for the OW2'19 XWiki Meetup

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We’re hosting an XWiki Meetup at OW2 conference, in Paris, with talks from our clients at France Mobilités.

What is the XWiki Meetup?

The XWiki Meetup is a great opportunity to interact with the people developing XWiki and the ones that have chosen it for their information intelligence needs. Even more, we want to learn what future features you would like to see in XWiki, so we will launch a debate in which you can decide the future of XWiki. Exciting, isn't it?

Also, as the meetup it’s part of a larger event, you can meet lots of other interesting people and talks at the conference. See the full schedule here. OW2con'19 is the annual open source event bringing together the OW2 community, technology experts, software architects, IT project managers and decision-makers from around the world.

This Break-out Session, XWiki will:

- present the latest features in XWiki and enhancements brought by the newest versions;
- organize a Q&A/brainstorming session on new features for the XWiki ecosystem - let us know what you want to implement next;
- share testimonials from XWiki users regarding their daily experience with the product.

Who will be there?

Vincent Massol - CTO of XWiki SAS and an active committer of the XWiki open source project

Clément Aubin - Account Manager at XWiki SAS and an active committer of the XWiki open source project

Where and when will it be?

The Meetup will take place on Thursday, the 13th of June 2019 at Orange Gardens Hello Lab, between 9:15 AM - 10:45 AM.

See you there?

Jun 10 2019

How to Organize a Company Retreat

At XWiki, we are strong believers in flexibility, so we trust our team to choose when and where they can do their best work. Consequently, our team is distributed across multiple countries, with people working both from our offices and remotely.

A downside is that we need to make a conscious effort if we want to get everybody together in the same place. We regularly have colleagues traveling to our two offices, but the way we get everyone in the same spot is by organizing a team retreat once a year.

As we’re working on our 11th global get-together we thought it would be nice to share how we go about planning it and how we use tools to stay organized and on track.

The prep

Our retreat usually lasts about a week, with two days dedicated to travel. Starting January we create a detailed plan and budget for our retreat. We also like to build our own app to make sure it fits our specific needs. Once the groundwork is done, we start looking for the perfect time and setting.

Finding the perfect location

We begin every new year by scouting for the perfect location, get in touch with hotels and resorts that we think might be a good fit. In parallel, we run a poll on our intranet checking our team’s availability. Once we save the date and come up with the locations shortlist, we create a new poll and ask our team to vote for their favorite place.

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Transportation arrangements

As soon as we sign the contract with the location we start making the transportation arrangements. We try to have the team travel together as much as possible, but we also accommodate colleagues who travel from other locations or who wish to stay longer or less. Everyone receives their ticket by email and we have a page on our intranet where we put all the travel information. We always try to pick locations that are reasonably easy to get to.

Preparing the sessions

With most of the logistics taken care of, two months prior to the event, we start prepping the sessions and other on-site activities. Anyone at XWiki can use the dedicated Seminar app to propose talks they’d like to organize or participate in.
By now you’ve guessed we are big fans of polls at XWiki. We love using them to make decisions as a team. Whenever we have too many proposals, we launch a vote to pick the most interesting sessions.
Once we have the final schedule, we feature it on our intranet calendar and sync it with Google Calendar. We also export the schedule as a PDF, so people may use it offline should they wish.

Food, trip, and other fun activities

A large extent of our efforts goes towards planning the day trip, party, and team building activities. Much of the time on site though is spent hanging out, playing games and getting to know each other better.
One of the highlights of the retreat is the hackathon. It provides the perfect opportunity for all of us to work together in person. Anyone can suggest topics and the remaining colleagues will join one of the proposed ideas. Hackathon teams work on their projects throughout the day and get to present the results in the afternoon.
In terms of catering, we try to select a buffet menu that is diverse and satisfies varied tastes and dietary restrictions. Once we have collected team feedback and agreed on the final menu with the location, we share it with everyone.

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Goodies

No company retreat is complete without geeky T-Shirts and goodies. We come up with a custom logo for each retreat. Everyone can send a proposal. The most voted logo is then proudly worn on our t-shirts.

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Less fun, but equally important: keeping track of finances

All through the event prep, we make sure to regularly update our budget and expenses. To stay organized we upload all contracts, invoices, and tickets to our wiki and use livetables to filter and sort documents.

Feedback

At XWiki, we love giving and receiving feedback. As we aim to make retreats better every year, after each event we run an internal survey to see what went well and what could be improved.

That’s about it! Organizing a team retreat is no easy feat for our HR team, but it’s always worth it. As we’re writing this post, we’re in the last stages of planning our next seminar, which takes place in exactly one month from now. We’ll be starting out in Paris, then traveling to the Loire Valley. Looking forward to another good one and we’ll make sure to come back with updates!

Silvia Macovei, Head of Cloud Business

May 21 2019

Five things successful remote teams share

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This article was first published on LinkedIn

More and more companies are starting to work in distributed teams, as they’re looking to reach a global pool of talent and service clients in multiple time zones. Working across geographical boundaries and time zones can become a competitive advantage when you’re trying to reach a global audience, but it also comes with challenges. In this piece, we explore five things successful distributed teams share.

1. Tools for the digital workplace

In a remote setting, communication is key. Relying solely on email is not efficient. With team members and clients spread across different timezones, your inbox will quickly fill up with messages, making it hard to stay eloquent, organized and productive. Your team will likely rely on different tools to get work done and for day to day interactions. Both synchronous and asynchronous communication are important.

Tools like Slack, Matrix, XWiki, GitHub, GitLab, Jira offer a convenient way to store knowledge, work on projects and keep in touch with your team.

Non-verbal cues give us context. Without them, it’s easy to misinterpret the text. So you’ll likely also be using solutions like Zoom or Hangouts for video and voice meetings.

An eSignature tool will often help you avoid the hassle of scanning or sending physical documents back and forth.

2. Trust & transparency

When hiring for a distributed team you’ll want to work with people who have a track record of getting things done. Trust is essential, when you’re not sharing the same office with your colleagues and results are not measured by the number of hours spent in the office. With trust, comes the responsibility of getting things done.

Accountability is built on trust and trust is built on transparency. In an open and transparent culture, people can communicate freely and enjoy quick access to the information they need to get their best work done.

Many teams favor an agile approach, where each team member posts what they’ve accomplished that week, what they’ll be working on next week, as well as any issues they’ve come across.

3. Processes

Good processes are important for providing structure and not reinventing the wheel. However, processes should not be rigid or set in stone, blocking innovation (aka “we’ve always done it this way”).

4. Core hours

When you’re working across multiple time zones, most work hours will not overlap. Some core hours might be useful though to easily organize meetings and resolve urgent matters.

5. Face time

Successful distributed teams regularly have all hands and team meetings, as well as one-on-one talks to align on the company and career goals. Recording meetings is often a good idea, so team members who couldn’t join the live events may be able to check them out.

Direct, personal interactions are also extremely valuable. Many companies have regular retreats where the whole team get together to better know each other, work on projects, have fun and celebrate their accomplishments. Smaller teams might also have their own trips to align and work together.

In the end, companies find their own recipes for working in distributed teams, with the best ones building unique cultures along the way.

What are some of your tips?

Silvia Macovei, Head of Cloud Business