I have been enraged by a piece of software that should have never been released and it wasn't anything written by Microsoft. Its the first time I have ever written or published anything in a wiki.

I have been enraged by a piece of software that should have never been released and it wasn't anything written by Microsoft. Its the first time I have ever written or published anything in a wiki. (Blogs don't count!)

I have used word processors of every description all the way back to Wordstar 1.1 for CP/M, so yes I consider myself an expert user of word processors. This particular wiki has a “feature” that is supposed to mimic an rtf editor like Wordpad or WordPerfect 11 (and countless other programs) in compatibility mode. An RTF editor is your basic run of the mill editor that can embed pictures but maybe can't edit them. This particular wiki attempts to behave like that.

The wiki will allow a single level table, i.e. no embedded tables in a table cell (an old HTML trick). But if you want to use a second column look out! It supposedly supports PDF export, Word 97-2003 export and import in DOC and export in HTML. This is where things get really nasty.

Importing doc files with embedded illustrations is practically a waste of time. The illustrations get so scunged up with fuzz, they look like “dust-bunny” versions of the original. Likewise the exported PDF versions of whatever you've put into the wiki comes out fuzzed up. And a second column in your tables will get lapped over on top of the contents of the left-hand column.

However the HTML exports look great and in some cases better than the wiki pages themselves. Mostly that's because the “pretty” style sheet of the wiki has been stripped off the HTML.

The only import function that works well is the DOC text to wiki text import function.

If you upload the PNG files (much better than jpg) one by one, you can then manually insert them into the text you've upload as a single chunk from a Word 97-2003 DOC file.

I learned not to use tables with embedded pictures.

All editing is done on a web browser page presumably from the wiki server. I had about a 10% chance of loosing more than a few paragraphs when I clicked the save button. I had about a 50% chance of loosing what little control I had over formatting when I saved pages that had a picture followed by text and then another picture. More often than not, the text immediately before or after a picture with at least one if not two Enter key strokes (paragraph breaks) would butt the picture up to the text before it or after it and sometimes BOTH!

I use Enter key strokes because it could be the wiki software is looking for a Paragraph HTML marker, a CR or LF or maybe something else from the scripted webpage sent back to the wiki server. Whatever it is I don't care and I shouldn't have to care. As far as I'm concerned a wiki should operate EXACTLY like a decent word processor. If you click save, it should save ALL of the page without the user having to immediately check that EVERYTHING made it into the saved document file.

The ONLY redeeming feature of this software was when it crapped out the page you just clicked save on, it keeps a copy of the previous 2 or 3 versions of the page. It will allow you to “revert” the version back a step or two. Of course all the work you just did is gone but at least what was on the page a version or two back is still there. More than once I had an entire page just come back blank after typing for a half hour and clicking save.

There was a tab on the page labeled “wiki markup” that was useful more than once when I had to try and shove a format into the application that it couldn't seem to get right. I do not suggest that anyone try to forgo the “standard” rtf User interface to learn wiki-script. Its pretty obvious its a poor second cousin to HTML. In fact I wonder why, HTML isn't one of its import modes.

They have a free personal version but the Enterprise version works so crappy I have no interest in the presumably less-capable free version. This wiki is touted as the industry leader. If that's the case, wiki technology has a long way to go.

If you don't care what the document will look like in the wiki or how much time it takes to save a page with more than 2 blocks of text and a picture or two, fine, this one will work.

I hate MS Office 2007 but I will use it before having to deal with this wiki product. At least when I click save I know what I will get the next time I open the web page.

For web page documents a better choice is OpenOffice 3.0 saving HTML pages.

The Confluence Atlassan wiki doesn't come close to minimum standards for a reliable document tool.


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