SharePoint 2010 Wiki Capabilities

When Microsoft unveiled SharePoint 2010 during SharePoint Conference 2009, there was a great buzz around the new site template called Enterprise Wiki, which was replacement for ever popular MOSS 2007 Collaboration Portal Template. Both Collaboration Template and Enterprise Wiki templates were targeted for intranet and Microsoft was pushing for building internal knowledge management system using the Enterprise Wikis.

As many of us are aware, after nearly 18 months, Enterprise Wiki hasn’t been that much popular nor that much information is available. Even without much information from Microsoft or community events, make no mistake, if used correctly, Enterprise Wiki template along with Managed Metadata Service and Web content management capabilities can build great wiki experience in any organization to collect ad-hoc information from the employees.

As Agile development is becoming more and more popular, formal documentation has become less and less norm. Many software development teams uses agile development as an excuse for avoiding documentation. Although Agile doesn’t support formal documentation, requirements analysis and architectural decisions has to be documented. SharePoint wikis could be great place for informal ad-hoc documentation which can be used to collect the team knowledge over the time.

With this blog post, I have tried my best to list all the core features of the Enterprise Wiki in the SharePoint 2010 and what level of capabilities are available in the free version SharePoint Foundation vs paid version of SharePoint 2010 Server.

OOB SharePoint 2010 Wiki Experience

  • Informal Centralized Knowledge Repository – Simple and easily accessible content creation using both structured and unstructured contents on ad-hoc basis in collaborative manner
  • SharePoint Foundation Capabilities (of course, still available on the SharePoint Server Product)
    • Implemented as Team Site Template. By default, every team site has a “Wiki Page Home Page” feature enabled which sets the wiki page as Site Home Page.
    • Use “Wiki Pages” document library to create the wiki pages on the SharePoint Foundation Team Site. This feature doesn’t require Publishing feature enabled. Wiki Library Pages uses the in-built SharePoint foundation “Text Layout” feature with limited layout options.
    • Team Sites with Web Edit – Easy In-line Page editing and Cross-browser Rich Text Editor. This allows content to be added quickly including images and web parts without the use of web part zones.
    • Ability to add link to existing content to the Wiki using double bracket (e.g. [[)
    • Wiki Pages content is search enabled
  • SharePoint Server Enterprise CAL Capabilities using Enterprise Wiki Template
    • Built on SharePoint Publishing Infrastructure. Enterprise Wiki is a publishing site with the stripped down the publishing process, heavy workflow, and ribbon experience.
    • Unlike the wiki pages in the Team Site, Enterprise Wiki Template offers following major features
      • Ability to create the custom wiki page templates – Enterprise Wiki Pages can be extended using Wiki Page Templates
        • Page layouts provides structured page types – Page templates via content types and page layouts
        • Wiki Categories Site Column -  Custom managed metadata column, Use Terms Management Tool to manage the open term sets.
        • Enterprise Wiki Page Content Type – It adds columns for wiki page  content, ratings, and tracking metadata (e.g. Page Content, Rating (0-5), Number of Ratings, and Wiki Page Categories)
        • Enterprise Wiki Page Layout in the Master Page and Page Layout Gallery -  EnterpriseWiki.aspx uses the PublishingWebControls:RichHtmlField, SharePointPortalControls:AverageRatingFieldControl, and Taxonomy:TaxonomyFieldControl to maintain Wiki Contents, Ratings, and Wiki Categories.
    • In-built Social Experience
      • Allow pages to be rated – Page Ratings – Web Analytics Service
      • Mark pages for easier reference by tagging them with enterprise keywords – Social Tags, Notes, and I Like It for the social feedback – Social Store in User Profile  Service
    • Ability to categorize the wiki pages
    • Customizable  Branding -  Same as in Standard Publishing Site – Upload or create master page or CSS file
    • Improve scalability using output Caching
    • Create a new Enterprise Wiki => Create a new site collection or site – Enterprise Wiki under Publishing Template Section (this replaces a collaboration template)
    • Enterprise Wiki Pre-requisites
      • SharePoint Server Enterprise CAL Product
      • Publishing Feature is enabled at the Root Site Collection if Enterprise Wiki is not at the root folder
      • Managed Metadata service application – Provides storage for social tags and notes.

 Customization Opportunities

  • Browser Customizations
    • OOB Customization => Branding – Apply Theme, Add OOB Web Parts – Calendar, Images, Annoucements etc.
    • Build Wiki Pages Navigation and Wiki Pages rollup views using Show Pages on the Navigation Settings or Wiki Links on the home page or adding content query or table of contents web parts.
    • Modify the open term sets or create new term sets  using browser.
    • Create custom site columns, site content types, and page layouts using browser
  • SharePoint Designer 2010
    • Create custom site columns, site content types, and page layouts, or custom branding (CSS and master pages) using SharePoint designer
  • Automation and Reusability using Visual Studio 2010
    • Custom Branding – Upload Master Pages and CSS
    • Custom Term Sets
    • Custom Site Columns based on Managed Metadata column to use Custom Term Sets
    • Custom Site Content Types based on Enterprise Wiki Page Content Type to use the Custom site Columns
    • Custom Page Layouts based on Enterprise Wiki Page Layouts to use the Custom Site Content Types
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