Sunday, July 09, 2006

Choosing a wiki and a blog

I recently had to choose both a wiki and a blog. I also expected to find both functionalities within the same product or hosted service as they are not that different.

My requirements for the wiki were the following:
  • Topic articles with versioning, attachments and discussions;

  • Authoring of articles by invitation only, discussions opened to everyone;

  • Hierarchical organisation of topics, ideally presented like online help: table of contents, index, search;

  • Customisable UI (branding);

  • Full-text search;

  • Authoring using Word;

  • Preferably a hosted service with a friendly URL,

  • Ad-free.
My requirements for a blog were very similar, except:
  • Authoring of articles by the owner of the blog only;

  • Organisation by category and by date.
My first observation is that you apparently cannot have both within the same solution. is an invaluable resource to compare wiki software and two hosted solutions rise above average: jotspot and stikipad, although neither of them fulfils 100% of my requirements. Both products are basic but they do the job although authoring in Word, my top requirement, is not possible with these wikis.

I have not been able to find a comprehensive resource that compares blog software properly although there is some information at The well-known products I have come across are Community Server (formerly .Text), Moveable Type and WordPress. The top services are Blogger, MySpace and MSN Spaces. There is now also a Yahoo offering based on Moveable Type. My preference is Blogger because there is a Word plug-in which works reasonably well and it is free. The main objection is that Blogger lacks proper categories.

My conclusion is that there is still a lot to improve on wikis and blogs especially to streamline the authoring process and to make navigation more fluid.

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