Organization-wide local wiki knowledge base


A year and a half ago, I came to work in technical support of a branch of one large all-Russian company. Prior to this, I did not deal with technical support, of course, I could reinstall, configure the OS or configure a simple network, but did not delve into it much. As knowledge accumulated, it became necessary to systematize and preserve it. At first I had a special daddy where I put ordinary Word and Excel documents. Over time, a lot of documents accumulated in the folder, the search for the necessary information began to take quite a considerable time. I did not work alone, so some files needed to be kept in the public domain, for example, a list of users, periodically I had to look for information that other employees needed. When administering a new user, I entered it in the table, which also contained details for remote access to his computer (not all the time to go to workplaces when there are more than 300 users). The actual file was always only in one copy, other technical support employees had copies that might not match if one of the employees connected the person or changed the network details, and then forgot to inform about it.
Over time, the idea came up that it was necessary to combine all this and save it in one place, so that all technical support employees had access to information, the possibility of editing and adding it.

The idea of ​​creating my own little Wikipedia, dedicated only to my work, did not come immediately, and it required a long implementation, because it was done at work, and there was not much time left to fill it. It was interesting that according to the job description there should have been a knowledge base in which we had to look for answers to users' questions, but in reality it did not exist.

First pancake

Before that, I knew little about creating sites, so the first step, installation, was probably the most difficult for me. The first version was powered by the Mediawiki engine and was installed on Denwer. But during installation, there were some problems, so the site did not work long, about 2 weeks, and died after trying to create a table of correspondence of printers and cartridges for them (One of the most important documents, by the way). The table was not created in any way, all the time there were problems with displaying borders and contents, google and detailed reading of the manual did not lead to anything. Over time, I realized that the Mediawiki engine was too much for such a project, it was too powerful, it required a lot of settings, which I could not do because of my ignorance.
For the next couple of months I did not deal with the site, so the next time I decided to do everything thoroughly and finally finish off the problem.

Second pancake

Recalling my old failures, gaining experience, I decided to start all over again. The first question was the choice of engine for the site. After sitting a couple of hours on the Wikipedia page with wiki engines , having tested some of them, I decided to stop at Dokuwiki . This engine is small, fairly lightweight, works without a database, has documentation in Russian and many modules.
As a result, the knowledge base should include information about users (contact information, network details), programs (path to the distribution kit, instructions, problem solving), equipment (where to get drivers, again problems with this equipment).

Installing Dokuwiki is even easier than installing other CMS. For me, the main difficulty was in the subsequent setup. For example, editing the .htaccess file so that the links are beautiful, as well as enabling transliteration, so that the links are readable (otherwise they turn into a character set). All information in Dokuwiki is stored inside files and folders, without using a database, so transliteration is important so that you can understand where it is, if the installation is on windows systems, UTF-8 encoding on ubuntu, so the Cyrillic link names are displayed normally , both in the system and on the site.

The next step was to install a theme for the site. This is also quite important for ease of use. I advise you to choose a theme with a left panel (sidebar), where it is convenient to place the menu. This leftmost panel is edited as a regular wiki page. The theme is installed by copying the template to a special folder, after which it becomes possible to select it in the administration menu.

The expansion of functionality occurs due to the installation of additional plugins, of which there are a lot. The plug-ins are installed as follows - there is a link to it, after which this link is indicated in the special section of the administrator menu, then the plug-in will download and install Dokuwiki, it remains only to configure it from the configuration menu . Plugins can be turned on and off at any time.

Creating a page in Dokuwiki can be done this way: specify a link to a nonexistent page inside the existing page and click on it, then the system will say that there is no such page and will suggest creating it, it’s very convenient, because On the site, the page names can be written in Russian, in the system they will periodically receive a name using transliteration. Subsequently, it will be possible to use both the common name and the name in transliteration in the links. Content editing is carried out using a convenient editor, the functionality of which is also expanded by plugins. The syntax of the engine is very simple, the basics can be remembered for a couple of hours of working with the site, so that later you do not have to go to the syntax help section. Even if you forget something later, a link to the syntax is present on the page for creating and editing documents.

Created pages are stored in directories called “namespaces”. In the operating system, each directory is a single folder, pages are stored in text documents, so that they can be edited without using a browser (the main thing is that access rights are not lost). For each page, a history of its changes is stored, as in any wiki site, you can quickly roll back if the current edition does not suit you.

After getting acquainted with the Dokuwiki syntax and creating the first articles, a new question arose - how to restrict anonymous access to the site, because it will not be a good situation if the user logs in and reads something unflattering in his opinion, let’s not forget that there are people, who are not friends with the computer, and with the technical support staff too, so the description can be anything, even though the site has its own rules. In Mediawiki, everything was decided by manually editing the configuration file; in Dokuwiki, a convenient access control system for accessing various sections and even individual articles was built in for this case. I just blocked access to the section with users for anonymous users. For authorized users, who are technical support employees, access remains. So now you can access the site even from the user's workplace,

Over time, a section with programs was created, then a section with equipment, the user section is populated. A separate page has been created for each user. Also, the pages were created for offices, with links to users and a description of the equipment. Due to the fact that the system has many pages of the same type in content, it was necessary to somehow simplify their creation. The creators of Dokuwiki already thought for me and made a mechanism for content templates. For example, the _template.txt file is placed in the “Users” folder in the system, in which the template is located, according to which you need to fill out the user page. When creating a new page, all the data from this template falls into it, it remains only to add the necessary. The only downside is that the template cannot be created directly from the web interface, you have to create it directly inside the folder manually,


Currently, the site has been working inside the corporate network for a couple of months, it is gradually filling up, over time it is planned to connect the user base with Active Directory, it is also planned to improve the quality of the content so that new technical support staff can more easily navigate their current place of work. The advantage of this knowledge base organization system is its accessibility, ease of use, and absolute free of charge.

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