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Research Group Analysis

Page history last edited by PBworks 11 years, 10 months ago

Research Group Use Case Analysis


The criteria described in the use case dictate these features as critical to the success of the project:


  • Site and page level security
  • Support for multiple languages
  • Change tracking (by ID and date/time)
  • XML export
  • Video hosting
  • Section editing
  • Footnoting


Optional features include:


  • Open Source software
  • Calendar feature
  • PDF export


With this list of requirements, a clear winner emerged from the 6 wikis surveyed.  Scoring at the top of almost every category, Twiki clearly met all the needs of the use case and provided extra features as well.  Coming in second was MediaWiki and a close third, DocuWiki.  Based on the requirements, even though DocuWiki scored closely to MediaWiki, it cannot be considered a viable alternative due to it's lack of support for XML export - a top requirement for the project.  The remaining wikis each missed key pieces of crucial functionality and are deemed unsuitable for the project.


The Hosting Features section of the scorecard was also given less weight in the final consideration due to the availability of the University's IT staff and hardware resources.  Although ultimately irrelevant, these scores would have been removed in the event of a tie and the products re-evaluated.


Detailed Examination



Coming in second to last, Clearspace lacked almost every required piece of functionality.  It does not support multiple languages, footnoting, auto-signature nor section editing.  It also lacks crucial XML exporting capabilities.  Add to this the $59/user/year liscensing fee and the fact that it is proprietary software and Clearspace becomes totally unsuitable for the stated goals.



Scoring highly in most categories, DocuWiki would've been a viable alternative except for its lack of support for XML exporting.  This lack is somewhat surprising as DocuWiki bills itself as a wiki that "makes sure datafiles remain readable outside the Wiki and eases the creation of structured texts".



MediaWiki is the only other wiki in the group that has all the required features.  The same software that powers Wikipedia, MediaWiki would be an acceptable alternative and its large user base may even present certain advantages that Twiki doesn't have, but a small list of features, especially the lack of mobile-friendly formats, gives the edge to Twiki.



As previously stated, Twiki is the front runner for this project.  It has all the necessary features, it's open source software and it supports mobile-friendly formatting.  While the mobile issue was not explicitly stated in the requirements, it is not inconceivable that some of the data collection may be done in the field away from wireless connectivity.  While there are other options, having the ability to utilize a mobile phone if necessary, on top of the other advantages, ensures that the nod goes to Twiki for this project.



The lowest-scoring entry in this round-up, Wicked is totally unsuitable for this project.  It lacks all but the most basic functionality and seems to have very little community support or userbase.  It would be a major mistake to choose this piece of software for the project.



ZohoWiki is the only option that requires external hosting.  While this alone would not be enough to rule it out, add to this the lack of XML export, very small foreign language support and missing footnoting and signature options and ZohoWiki also ends up on the discard pile.

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