XWiki vs Sharepoint

The aim of this document is to compare XWiki to Sharepoint 2010 for company internal uses.

What is Sharepoint 2010?

​"Microsoft SharePoint 2010 makes it easier for people to work together. Using SharePoint 2010, your people can set up Web sites to share information with others, manage documents from start to finish, and publish reports to help everyone make better decisions".

(source and definition by Microsoft).

Sharepoint usages

Sharepoint is a generalist tool, all in one, first targeting Office documents management usages, social networks and intranet/internet websites.

The "collaborative" part of Sharepoint 2010 is focused on the Office Documents sharing. Wikis are only one of the features being commercialized.
The wiki aspect is a minor one and stays basic in terms of features. Links between wikis and other information are not encouraged.

Sharepoint also features a development platform that allows modifications and customizations to specific business needs. The platform is based on Microsoft programming technologies.

What is XWiki?

A wiki is classically presented as a set of web pages, alterable by all users with permissions. It allows the collaborative creation of content (including text, images, videos...), as well as the creation of links between different sets of content.

Wikis have been made popular by the famous multilingual Wikipedia encyclopedia (created in 2001) that became one of the most visited websites in the world, with more than 17 million articles (beginning of 2011).

Basic wiki features are:

  • Page creation
  • Page modification: it simply consists in the adding/modification or suppression of content
  • Creation of links between information
  • Discussion: the creation of a page can generate a lot of exchanges between all the contributors
  • Modifications history: it's possible to follow the modifications made on a wiki page (What was modified? By whom? When?)
  • Rollback: it is always possible to rollback and choose a previous version of the wiki page
  • Rights management: each user registered on a wiki has rights that allow him to create, modify, consult or delete wiki pages.

But some wikis, such as XWiki, go further by proposing additional features addressing professional needs.

XWiki, a second generation wiki

XWiki distinguishes itself from the other wikis by offering enterprise-oriented features such as:

  • Office documents import (i.e. a Word document is transformed into a wiki page; XWiki retains the layout, images contained in the document and also the documents attached to the page)
  • The management of unstructured data (like Wikipedia), as well as structured data (forms, spreadsheets...)
  • Export of the data in many formats (PDF, HTML, XAR...)
  • An activity stream displaying an overview of all the wiki activities
  • The customization of the wiki (logo, colors, look and feel of menus)
  • Connection to the Enterprise Directory (data retrieval, SSO...)
  • Fine rights management (by space, page, user groups...)

Other strengths include flexibility and scalability. XWiki is also a web application development platform written in JAVA . For example it allows the creation of dedicated/specific applications (Meeting management application, Customer Relationship Management...).

Extensions, applications and macros are available for free (extensions.xwiki.org) in addition to features included by default in the XWiki Platform (platform.xwiki.org).

Moreover XWiki is an Open Source software developed under the LGPL license. So you own your wiki and its data.

To know more about our Open Source involvement, discover our Open Source Manifesto.

The XWiki SAS company provides a full range of services including consulting, development, support, training and hosting.

In the Enterprise, a wiki such as XWiki is used most of the time in a private manner for the following needs:

  • Knowledge base
  • Collaborative intranet
  • Documentation
  • Support

Sharepoint vs XWiki benchmark

Creating and managing content

In terms of information management, both solutions provide different approaches:

Sharepoint bases its solution on Microsoft Office, which forces the users to use its services (Word, Excel, PowerPoint etc).
This is detrimental to collaboration as it requires the opening of documents in Office, generates compatibility issues between Microsoft Office versions used and increases the complexity and training costs.

Sharepoint acts more as an Office document repository with which collaborators can interact. This solution is Desktop-oriented and aims to sustain the use of Office, which is the historic Sharepoint feature and the main source of income for Microsoft.

Unfortunately, this approach is strongly inefficient as the information is not well organized and has a poor collaboration level, mostly oriented on the storage of important documents.

Microsoft is trying to avoid this by adding Blog, social network and wiki features, but they are far from being complete and the users are disoriented by the way they have to contribute to the tool, which increases the training and the customization costs (to simplify the tool).

This is forcing users to continue using Microsoft Office, which is in contradiction with a collaborative spirit and the general trend of 100% web.

Office documents library: document edition is made with Office Word

On the other hand, for XWiki everything is a page. Each page has a URL and can contain text, attachments or structured data.

Each page benefits from the same collaborative features, including edition, comments, annotations, history. All these features are usable in the most popular web browsers, which reduces the compatibility and configuration issues.

Thus, all the documents are accessible, editable and comments can be made directly from your web browser. Moreover, it is always possible to export the document in different formats (Office, PDF...) if you want to save/store it on your computer's hard-disk or to attach your files to the page to visualize them in the Office Reader/Web viewer without using any desktop tool.

Wiki page in edition mode, directly from your web browser. The WYSIWYG editor allows you to easily edit the document (links, pages, tables, layout options...)

Web is the future. By opting for XWiki now, you anticipate the data convergence towards the web.

From a collaborative point of view

Due to the way documents are organized in Sharepoint, we understand that the collaborative aspect of the tool is weak.

Indeed, Sharepoint organizes the information in silos (document libraries) disconnected from one another. Blogs, document management, wikis and applications are separated and badly connected.

Most of the collaboration is oriented to Office documents sharing, organized in folders. This organization does not allow effective navigation of the shared information and discourages participation.

Indeed the documents are stored in document libraries, one library being generally owned by a specific team or department.

The information is compartmentalized, without links to other documents that could be contained in the same library or in a different one.

The only shared information are documents with a pretty big size, while structured and unstructured information, even though important, is not shared through the tool.

On the other hand, with XWiki, documents can be linked and everybody can contribute to content and easily update the wiki.

It is possible to search for a document in a particular wiki (e.g. the marketing wiki) or at the wikis farm level (marketing, finance, support etc.)

 Sharepoint: information organization in silos/documents library XWiki: each document is a wiki page, that can be linked to others


From a technical point of view

Sharepoint only works with SQL Server (Microsoft DataBase), while XWiki offers a real choice (MySQL, PostgreSQL, Oracle...).
The installation of Sharepoint (similarly to the SQL Server one) is tedious. Sharepoint runs on a specific Latin 1 encoding. A bad encoding of the data base interrupts the installation. A total standalone running is complicated, if not impossible, due to the authentication mechanisms proposed (NTLM ou Kerberos).

Finally, updates are complex. All the software is redone for each version. If you have made specific developments with Sharepoint nothing guarantees they will be compatible with the new Sharepoint version. This causes additional developments and generates extra costs.

From an economical point of view

Microsoft Sharepoint is an expensive tool in terms of licenses and implementation costs. Being a generalist tool, it requires some time to be configured and adapted to specific needs. It is also dependent on other Microsoft products (Windows Server, Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft Office) which generates extra licenses costs.

The total cost of ownership of Sharepoint 2010 is particularly difficult to determine, as we need to take into account all the options and product dependencies. Some people have made some pricing calculators to help understand the real cost: http://community.bamboosolutions.com/blogs/sharepoint-2010-price-calculator/default.aspx

For the Sharepoint 2010 Enterprise version, you need to take into account:

  • 5000$ + 95$ (standard version) per user + 83$ (enterprise version) per user
  • 1000$ + 40$ per user for Windows 2008 Server
  • 7000$ for Microsoft SQL server
  • 20000$ for FAST Search

A total of: for 100 users: 54800$ (41679 Euros), for 1000 users a total price of 251000$ (191000 Euros), for 10000 users a total price of 2.2M$ (1.67M Euros).

These prices are based on information available at the URLs mentioned above (http://community.bamboosolutions.com/blogs/sharepoint-2010-price-calculator/default.aspx) and are the prices applied in the US. European prices can be different and especially higher.

These pricing estimations don't include support and updates for which 50% of extra costs should be planned.

XWiki Enterprise is Open Source, which means no license costs are required.

By choosing XWiki, the effort can be done on support, training and customization to make the product perfectly fit your needs. For information organization uses, no important modifications are required to fit your needs, as this is XWiki's native purpose. So developments can be focused on specific business applications and customization.

We create your wiki, turnkey.

Furthermore, once your wiki is created, it belongs to you. You are free to choose a support contract and to manage your wiki internally. XWiki support contracts are linked to the size of your installation and pricing is adjusted to the number of users. A support contract can go from 3000 €/ year for the smallest installations to  50 000 €/year for wikis with up to 10 000 users and 10 wikis. Several support levels exist, allowing further services, including an intervention on the customer platform. 

XWiki's TCO is far lower than Sharepoint's, in terms of both implementation and evolution.

Before any investment, you should take into account both features and total cost. For the same features, XWiki's TCO is far lower the Sharepoint's.

Finally, the services proposed by XWiki SAS are proximity services, including customer accompaniment throughout the project.

Sharepoint and XWiki usages within companies

Sharepoint and XWiki usages inside the enterprise:

They are used for:

  • intranets and extranets
  • knowledge bases
  • documentation, support solutions
  • educational solutions
  • websites
  • Enterprise Social Networks

Why use XWiki, rather than Sharepoint?

Some reasons:

From a financial point of viewFrom a human point of viewFrom a technological point of view
  • The absence of cost of license and dependence to the solution
  • The allocation of the full budget towards the development of custom applications
  • XWiki's total cost of ownership that is sharply lower than Sharepoint's TCO
  • The cost of update and upgrade is low compared to Sharepoint's
  • Quick project implementation
  • A dynamic and reactive company, providing great support services
  • Superior information organization in XWiki
  • XWiki is an Enterprise 2.0 software/solution

XWiki is far less demanding when it comes to financial and human resources and offers an Open Source, scalable and future-oriented tool.