Monday, 19 November 2007

We may have to use DokuWiki instead

It would appear that the server team doesn't want to support MySQL servers so MediaWiki might be out the window for the time being. Instead, we may use DokuWiki as our knowledge base. It saves all pages as text files so this will avoid the issue of MySQL not searching for 3 letter words which are an all too common occurrence in IT.

Friday, 19 October 2007

Setting up a knowledge base using Mediawiki

Working on a helpdesk, I am constantly expected to know how to solve the issues of users who phone the desk. With 6 1st line support technicians on the desk, between us we have a wide range of knowledge but as is always the case, said knowledge is locked away in the skulls of the staff. Being a fan of Mediawiki i decided to test it's effectiveness as a knowledge base.

Our current Knowledge base is part of our helpdesk software, Assyst 6.5 by Axios, which although is a fantastic piece of software unfortunately it lacks certain aspects which in my opinion are a must for a useful knowledge base.

The key points to consider when choosing the software were (in no particular order)...
  • Must have a search feature.
  • Search must be fast and powerful enough to be able to consult quickly while on a call to a user.
  • Must support images.
  • Must be easily accessible.
  • Must be easy to update.

Mediawiki fulfills all the above requirements.

I started with a free hosted server and installed mediawiki with the following set up.
Mediawiki: 1.10.1
PHP: 5.2.4 (apache2handler)
MySQL: 5.0.45-Debian_1-log

Extensions installed:
CreateArticle (version 0.9 beta) - Generates create article input forms allowing for articles to be created with a variety of prefixes and suffixes.
Inputbox - Allow inclusion of predefined HTML forms.
TagAsCategory - This Extension provides "folksonomy"-type tagging to articles, using Categories as the underlying functionality.

Soon to be implemented is an LDAP authentication feature in hopes that the 2nd line support technicians log in and provide some knowledge procedures.