AsianTbi PR3 Directory » Article Details

VaultWiki - vBulletin Wiki Reimagined

Date Added: August 07, 2009 08:45:27 AM
Author: AsianTbi PR3 Directory
Category: Computers & Internet: World Wide Web: Forums
 



VaultWiki - vBulletin Wiki Reimagined



Author: Ted Phillips


VaultWiki has been the sole commercial solution explicitly intended for vBulletin forum owners looking to implement a wiki since its launch in 2008. Since that time, free lite alternatives have cropped up, and some bad reviews have circulated about the product - specifically regarding ease of setup issues.

Today, Cracked Egg Studios launched a new series in the VaultWiki family, namely VaultWiki 2.5.x. Despite having an almost secretive development, 2.5.x has probably been one of the largest and most anticipated updates to the product to date.

Many of the changes we see in VaultWiki 2.5.x were, until recently, planned for 3.x later this year. However, 3.x would only be compatible with vBulletin 4, which appears to have been delayed for at least another 2 months. Rather than force their customers to wait and upgrade to a new vBulletin product, Cracked Egg Studios put together 2.5.x.

Ease of Use

The level of difficulty for customers new to wikis in general has been historically high. At their own fault, Cracked Egg Studios waited almost a year before compiling any official documentation for VaultWiki. However, even with documentation, VaultWiki remained a complicated product to set up, to the frustration of many users - who found "Namespacing" to be especially difficult.

Previously users would first create the wiki Forum Category and their planned wiki forums, edit each namespace in the Namespace Manager, find that their forums were invalid, have to use different settings, then move to another area of the AdminCP to tell VaultWiki which namespaces were for what.

In 2.5.x, VaultWiki's Namespace setup process has been simplified. Restrictions on wiki forums have been removed, so most new forums will be available in the Namespace Manager. If an admin wants to use a new forum, rather than jumping to the Forum Manager, the admin can now choose a "Create New Forum" option. To configure the namespaces as "Default", "Category", "Image", or else, rather than jumping to the vBulletin Options page, the settings now appear in the namespace creation form, and can be modified later from the home page of the Namespace Manager.

Another source of confusion has been how to use Books. In the past, an editor would need to visit another namespace and create an empty Book before they try to add any chapters. Now, if there isn't already an appropriate Book, an editor can select "Add to New Book" from within the chapter to-be.

Wiki URLs

VaultWiki has always boasted about its Search Engine Optimized URL structure. Unlike most default vBulletin URLs, VaultWiki uses the page title in the path. In the past, wiki page URLs were URL encoded using a built-in PHP function, which converts spaces to + signs and changes special characters into a string of % and forgettable numbers.

VaultWiki 2.5.x now strips away special characters using replacement rules, configurable via the new Wiki URL Manager. Admins can now choose whether to replace white-space characters with -, _, or + characters. The new URLs are backwards-compatible with the old URLs, meaning that any old bookmarks will "Permanently Redirect" to the new location.

However, the new encoding processes lead to new limitations. Because many characters are stripped or converted to others, it is possible to have multiple titles resolve to the same URL. For this reason, namespaces now check article existence based on the encoded string rather than the original title.

In the past, many editors created articles with similar titles that redirect to a main article. While this practice is still supported, some existing redirects may automatically resolve to the main article under the new URL implementation. To help admins deal with this issue, the new Wiki URL Manager lists existing pages that resolve to the same URL, and provides them with the tools to update or remove those pages.

Other Changes

VaultWiki 2.5.x attempts to reduce memory consumption and improve processing speed in a number of areas. The cached list of articles is now only fetched as needed, new database fields have been added to assist previously expensive queries, and many loops have been simplified or removed entirely.

To save disk space and improve query response times, the body text of old article revisions is compressed in the database. In some tests, this resulted in up to 80% saved disk space.

Users can now report offensive or SPAM wiki articles to moderators using vBulletin's built-in reporting system. This link has been added to the drop-down menu next to each article's title.

VaultWiki now follows suit with other vBulletin addons and inserts a copyright notice into the footer of all pages where the wiki initializes. An additional fee must be paid to remove this notice.

Conclusion

Cracked Egg Studios offers improvements on multiple fronts with VaultWiki 2.5.x. Some of the code changes should increase site performance, and the new Wiki URL encoding should result in better SERPs over the old URLs. While the changes to Namespace setup and Book management appear to make things simpler, it remains to be seen how new users react.

The original article can be found here: http://www.crackedeggstudios.com/articles/2074/
The product page for VaultWiki can be found here: CES VaultWiki



Article Source: Link



About the Author:

Ted Phillips is the owner of Cracked Egg Studios and the lead programmer for VaultWiki.


Ratings:

You must be logged in to leave a rating.

Average rating: ( votes)

Comments:

No Comments Yet.

You must be logged in to leave a comment.