Liferay Portal’s Wiki is a full-featured wiki application which has all the features you would expect in a state of the art wiki. Again, though, it has the benefit of being able to take advantage of all the features of Liferay Portal. As such, it is completely integrated with Liferay Portal’s user management, tagging, and security features.
So what is a wiki? A wiki is an application that allows users to collaboratively build a repository of information. There are, of course, many implementations of this idea, the most famous of which is Wikipedia. Wikipedia is a full online encyclopedia developed collaboratively by users from all over the world, using a wiki.
A wiki application allows users to create documents and link them to each other. To accomplish this, a special form of markup called wikitext is used. Unfortunately, the proliferation of many different wiki applications resulted in slightly different syntax for wikitext, as each new wiki tried to focus on new features that other wikis did not have. For that reason, a project called WikiCreole was started, which is an attempt to define a standard wiki markup that all wikis can support.
Rather than define another wikitext syntax, Liferay’s Wiki app supports WikiCreole as its syntax. This syntax is a best-of-breed wiki syntax and should be familiar to users of other wikis. The app provides a handy cheat sheet for the syntax on the page editing form with a link to the full documentation if you wish to use some of WikiCreole’s advanced features.
An instance of the Wiki application can be created for each scope: the entire Liferay Portal virtual instance (global scope), a site, or a page. It’s time to see how to use your site’s Wiki application instance.
Getting Started with Wikis
The menu provides the best place to start working with your wikis. To start working with wikis for your site, click on the Menu icon (), navigate to your site, and select the Content section. If you are updating an existing page-scoped wiki application instance you can select that page scope from the scope menu that the Gear icon () makes available. The site’s wiki application instance is available in the Default Scope. Once you’re in the proper content scope click on Wiki. The Wiki administration screen appears. This screen allows you to add, modify, and delete wiki nodes. A Wiki application instance can contain many wiki nodes. By default, it contains one node, called Main.
Before you start adding to your wiki instance, you should configure it. The instance’s interfaces for permissions, export and import, configuration, and application templates are accessible from the Options menu. Click the Options icon () to open the menu.
Here are the wiki application instance options screens:
Wikis Permissions: allows you to specify which roles roles can create wiki nodes and which roles can access the Wikis Permissions screen.
Export / Import: enables you to import existing wiki content into your wiki application instance or export wiki content to a file. Refer to Importing/Exporting Pages and Content for details.
Configuration: has tabs for configuring email notifications and a tab for configuring RSS feeds. The Email From, Page Added Email, and Page Updated Email tabs are similar to other app’s notification email settings tabs; they let you customize who wiki emails come from and the format and text of the email sent when a page is added or updated. The RSS tab allows you to configure RSS feeds.
Permissions: allows you to specify which roles can view the wiki application instance’s options menu, access the menu’s Configuration and Permissions options, and access any custom preference options added to the wiki application.
Select the Wikis Permissions option to open the Permissions screen. If you’ve created a specific role for creating wiki nodes and want to enable that role to create new wiki nodes in this wiki application instance, select the role’s check box in the Add Node column and then click Save.
Now that we’re done configuring our site’s Wiki app instance, it’s time to start working with a wiki node. Let’s create a wiki node that everyone at the Lunar Resort can use to help build an encyclopedia on everything they know about space. We’ll call it Space Wiki.
Click the Add icon () to start creating the new wiki node. The New Wiki Node screen appears and prompts you to name and describe the wiki node. From this screen, you can also set up some default permissions. Click Save when you’re done creating the wiki node.
On creating the new wiki node, you’re brought back to the Wiki instance view. Your new wiki node accompanies the Main node in the list of this wiki instance’s nodes. Next to each listed wiki node is an Options icon ().
Here are the wiki node options:
Edit: lets you edit the wiki’s name and description.
Permissions: lets you specify which roles can add attachments to wiki pages, add pages, delete pages, import pages, set permissions on the wiki node, subscribe to modifications, update existing pages, and view the wiki node.
Import Pages: allows you to import data from other wikis. This lets you migrate off of another wiki application which you may be using and use the Liferay Portal wiki instead. You might wish to do this if you are migrating your site from a set of disparate applications (i.e., a separate forum, a separate wiki, a separate content management system) to Liferay Portal, which provides all of these features. Currently, MediaWiki is the only wiki that is supported, but others are likely to be supported in the future.
RSS: opens a new page where you can subscribe to an RSS feed using Live Bookmarks, Yahoo, Microsoft Outlook, or an application you can choose from your machine.
Subscribe: allows you to subscribe to a wiki node; any time a wiki page is added or updated, your Liferay Portal instance sends you an email informing you what happened.
View Removed Attachments: displays attachments that have been removed from the wiki node.
Move to the Recycle Bin: moves the wiki node to the Recycle Bin.
The figure below shows the wiki node options menu.
Before you open up wiki nodes to contributors, you should consider whether to associate a workflow with them. For example, you could create a workflow that requires an administrator’s approval to publish a wiki page modification (add, update, or delete). You can access your site’s default Wiki Page workflow from within the Product Menu, by navigating to Configuration → Workflow Configuration for your site. To learn how to use workflow, refer to Using Workflow.
Next, let’s create our wiki node’s front page.
Adding and Editing Wiki Pages
When you create a wiki node, it has no pages. It’s not until you navigate into that node that a default page called FrontPage is created automatically. To view the page, click on the wiki node’s name. The FrontPage appears and shows a default message that explains the page is empty and needs you to add content. The message is a link; cick on it to start editing the page.
Wiki uses a WYSIWYG editor, similar to the one used in Blogs. The content section’s default message Write your content here… entices you to write. Click there and start entering text.
Next, highlight your pare of your text. Text formatting options appear. They let you markup the text as bold or italics, add it to an ordered or unordered list, or make it a link. You can also use keyboard shortcuts Ctrl+b for bold, Ctrl+i for italics, and Ctrl+u for underline. To remove all formatting, click the Remove Format icon (). To insert an image, table, or horizontal line, you can click the
+ icon to bring up the insert content menu ().
If you need to modify an image for your wiki, use the Image Editor. Click the
+ icon and select the mountain silhouette to add an image. Select an existing image from the Documents and Media repository, and click the pencil icon () in the bottom right corner of the preview window, to open the Image Editor.
Any edits you make are automatically applied to a copy of the image, which you can then use in your wiki.
You’re working in the editor’s regular mode. Source mode, on the other hand, lets you enter text in Creole format. You can switch to source mode by clicking the Source icon (
</>) or switch back to regular mode by clicking the Roller icon ()–the editor always displays the other mode’s icon so you can switch between modes. Click on the Source icon to switch to source mode.
Notice that there’s a convenient Show Syntax Help >> link to a cheat sheet for helping you with the wiki syntax. You can use this syntax to format your wiki page content.
Consider, for example, the following wiki content written in Creole syntax:
Space--it's our //final frontier//! But we've learned so much about it, from our perspective at the Lunar Resort. Let's share what we know about galaxies, solar systems, planets, moons, suns, and more! [[Galaxies]] [[Solar Systems]] [[Planets]] [[Moons]] [[All kinds of stuff]]
Enter it as your page content. Then click on the Enlarge icon () to edit the source in an enlarged dual screen editor. As you enter Creole format text in one pane the preview pane renders it. The editor lets you hide the preview pane, use a dark or light color source pane scheme, and arrange the panes horizontally or vertically.
At the bottom of the page editing screen, you can select Categorization to add tags. The tags link your wiki to categories. You can create categories from the Site Administration page, in the Content → Categories section. Categories are hierarchical lists of headings under which you can create wiki pages. This allows you to organize your content in a more formal fashion.
In the edit screen’s Configuration section, you can set the page to use Creole wiki format, HTML, or plain text. We recommend that you stick with the Creole format, as it allows for a much cleaner separation of content and code.
Similar to other Liferay Portal applications, in the Related Assets section of the editor, you can select other assets to associate with the wiki page. And from the Permissions section, you can set general permissions for accessing and acting on the page.
Publish your page when you’re done editing it. The next time you edit the page, the edit screen provides you with an Attachments section for attaching files to the page, via drag and drop or file upload.
When you’re done editing in source view, click Done. When you’re done editing the page, click Publish. The figure below shows the updated wiki page.
Did you notice that we added links for pages named Galaxies, Solar Systems, etc, that we haven’t yet created? This is a common practice in building wikis–you add a link so that someone (maybe you) will create a page for it. The terrific thing is that you can create that new page for the link by clicking it. When you click a link to a non-existent page, the new wiki page screen appears for you to create the page. Liferay Portal displays a notice at the top of the page stating that the page does not exist yet, and that you are creating it right now. As you can see, it is very easy to create wiki pages. All you have to do is create a link, click on the link, and create the wiki page.
On exiting the wiki page editor, you’re brought back to the wiki node’s view. It shows all of the node’s top-level wiki pages. In our case, FrontPage is our only top-level page. If you navigate to a page that has child pages, its child pages are listed. In these page listings, each wiki page’s Options icon () lists the following options.
Edit: opens the wiki page in the wiki page editor.
Permissions: allows you to determine which roles can view, update, delete, subscribe to, or set permissions on the page, and add, update, or delete page discussions (comments).
Copy: brings up a wiki page editor window with all the content from the source wiki page. You’re prompted to specify a new title for it.
Move: opens a dialog that allows you to rename the wiki page or assign the wiki page a new parent page within the wiki node.
Subscribe (or Unsubscribe): subscribes you to (or unsubscribes you from) notifications for the wiki page’s modifications.
Move to the Recycle Bin: deletes the wiki page from the wiki node and moves it to the Recycle Bin.
Each wiki page has a check box next to it. When you select a page’s check box, an Info icon () and Recycle Bin icon () appear in the top corner above the page list. To move the selected page to the Recycle Bin, click the Recycle Bin icon. To get additional information about the page, click the Info icon. The information menu provides a Star icon that you can select to subscribe to the page’s modifications. The menu’s Details section displays the page’s Create Date and Last Modified date.
When you select multiple wiki pages, by selecting individual page check boxes or the Select All check box in the tool bar, the Info icon and Recycle Bin icon appear. They give you the wiki node’s page count and let you move multiple pages to the Recycle Bin.
There are several more features in the wiki node view’s toolbar. The Order by:… menu allows you to order the wiki pages by title or modification date. Next to that, the arrows let you arrange the pages in ascending or descending order. The display style options are next to the Info icon. To list the pages using a descriptive display style, click the Descriptive icon (). To list the pages using a list display style, click the List icon ().
As far as the other aspects of the Wiki application interface, we’ll cover them as we use the Wiki application on site pages. Let’s go to your site by clicking Go to Site and then close the product menu by clicking its icon (). We’re ready to add Wiki applications to the site’s pages.
Using the Wiki Applications on Site Pages
The Wiki application works just like the other Liferay applications. Open the Add menu by clicking the Add icon (). In the menu, navigate to Applications → Wiki and then click on Wiki Add.
Your site’s wiki nodes display in the application. Click on the Space Wiki tab to view it in the app.
To view the Wiki application’s configuration options, click on its Options icon () and select Configuration. The Wiki app’s Configuration screen appears and has several tabs.
Setup: lets you choose wikis to display and gives you several options for displaying them. The Enable Related Assets, Enable Page Ratings, Enable Comments, and Enable Comment Ratings check boxes let you enable or disable those features for the Wiki app. They give you the ability to set how you want users to interact with wiki documents: a little, a lot, or not at all. The Display Template drop-down option lets you choose the Application Display Template for the app. Below this, you can set which wikis (wiki nodes) are visible in the Wiki and which are hidden. You might host two wikis on a given site, exposing one to the public and keeping the other private for site members.
Permissions: enables you to grant or revoke privileges for roles to edit the Wiki application’s preferences, configure it, access its permissions, view the Wiki application’s contents, add display templates for it, or add the application to a page.
Communication: allows you to configure communication across portlets, using predefined public render parameters. From here you can modify six public render parameters: categoryId, nodeId, nodeName, resetCur, tag, and title. For each parameter you can:
Ignore the values for this parameter that come from other portlets. For example, the wiki app can be used along with the tags navigation app. When a user clicks on a tag in the tags navigation app, the wiki shows a list of pages with that tag. In some cases an administrator may want the wiki app to always show the front page independently of any tag navigation done through other portlets. This can be achieved by checking the Ignore check box so that the values of the parameter coming from those other portlets are ignored.
Read the value of a parameter from another app. This is an advanced but very powerful option that allows portlets to communicate without configuring it beforehand. For example, imagine that the wiki app is used to publish information about certain countries. Imagine further that a custom app that allows browsing countries for administrative reasons was written and placed on the same page. We could associate to this second app a public render parameter called country to designate the name of the country. Using this procedure, we can cause the wiki to show the information from the country being browsed through in the other app. You can do this here for the wiki by setting the value for the title parameter to be read from the country parameter of the other app.
Sharing: displays options you’re likely to be familiar with such as the tab for sharing the application with websites, Facebook, and NetVibes.
Scope: allows you to select the Wiki application of a particular scope to display. You can select the site scoped or global scoped instance, or select or create an instance for the page. If the page doesn’t already have an instance scoped to it, you can click on the [page name] (Create New) menu option to create a page-scoped Wiki application instance.
Once you set the application’s configuration options the way you want them, click Save.
Along with the Configuration option, the Wiki application’s options menu lists all of the standard application options. The options enable you to specify the app’s look and feel, export or import app data, minimize or maximize the app in the browser, use Configuration Templates to store your current application setup or apply an existing archived setup to this application instance, or remove the app from the page.
The Wiki application displays links to all of the Wiki application instance’s wiki nodes and provides links for navigating around the wiki. Simply click on a wiki node’s name to begin browsing that node’s wiki pages. The following navigation links are listed after links to the wiki nodes.
Recent Changes: takes you to a page which shows all of the recently updated pages.
All Pages: takes you to a flat, alphabetical list of all pages currently stored in the wiki.
Orphan Pages: takes you to a list of pages that have no links to them. This can happen if you take a page link out of a wiki page in an edit without realizing it’s the only link to that page. This area allows you to review wiki pages that are orphaned in this way so that you can re-link to them or delete them from the wiki if they are no longer relevant.
Draft Pages: takes you to a list of pages which have not yet been published. Users can edit pages and save their changes as drafts. They can come back later to finish their page changes and publish them once they’ve been approved.
Search: allows you to a search for pages matching a term. If no matches are found for the term, a link displays to enable you to create a new wiki page named after that term.
The current wiki page’s content shows in the application’s main viewing area. Several features display below the wiki page content, depending on which features are enabled for the application. The + Add Child Page link lets you add a wiki page as a child of the current wiki page. A view counter displays the wiki page’s view count. Ratings and Comments controls display if they’re enabled.
The Edit, Details, and Print icons show above each wiki page’s content. Clicking the Edit icon brings up the edit screen. Clicking the Print icon brings up the browser’s page printing window. Between these two options is the Details option, which we’ll explore next.
When viewing a page, you can view its details by clicking the Details icon above the page content. Several tabs appear, to give you access to several categories of information about the page.
The Details tab shows various statistics about the page, and also allows you to perform some actions on the page.
Title: displays the page title.
Format: displays the format for the page – either Creole, HTML, MediaWiki, or plain text.
Latest Version: displays the latest version of the page. The wiki portlet automatically keeps track of page versions whenever a page has been edited.
Created By: identifies the user who created the page.
Last Changed By: identifies the user who last modified the page.
Attachments: displays the number of attachments to the page.
RSS Subscription: displays an icon that opens a new page where you can subscribe to an RSS feed using Live Bookmarks, Yahoo, Microsoft Outlook, or an application you can choose from your machine.
Email Subscription: contains links allowing you to subscribe to or unsubscribe from modifications notifications for the page and the entire wiki node.
Advanced Actions: displays icons allowing you to modify the permissions on the page, make a copy of the page, move (rename) the page, or move the page to the recycle bin.
The History tab lets you access the page’s activities and versions. Its Activities tab lists actions performed on the page. Each activity has an icon that represents the type of action, the name of the user, the actions description, date, and an options icon to revert the action. For example, if user Jane Doe attached file
sunset.jpg to the page, then the activity would show an Attachment icon (), this text Jane Doe added the attachment
sunset.jpg., the action date, and an options icon to remove the attachment.
The Versions tab lists all of the versions of the wiki page since it was created. You can revert a page back to a previous state by clicking the Revert icon (). You can also compare the differences between versions by selecting two versions and then clicking the Compare Versions button.
The next two tabs are list incoming and outgoing links. These are wiki links to and from the page. You can use this tab to examine how this page links to other pages and how other pages link back to this page.
The Attachments tab lists the name and size of each file attached to the page. You can attach any file to the wiki. Image files are the most common type of file attached to a page. Referencing them using the proper WikiCreole syntax renders the image inline, which is a nice way to include illustrations in your wiki documents.
As you’ve seen, Liferay’s Wiki application is chock-full of features that help you create, maintain, and consume wiki pages. In addition to the Wiki application there are several other applications that supplement it. You’ll learn about them next.
Supplemental Wiki Applications
The applications that accompany the Wiki application help you display particular wiki nodes and navigate them. To use them on a page, click the Add icon (), navigate to Applications → Wiki, and either click Add next to the application you want or drag it onto the page.
Let’s first explore the Wiki Display.
The Wiki Display application enables you to focus user attention on one wiki node. Click on the app’s Options icon and select Configuration. In the Configuration screen, select the Setup tab. Set the Node you want to display and click Save; then select a Page in that node that you want to display. This page provides the gateway into the wiki node.
The configuration options and user interface for the Wiki Display are almost identical to that of the Wiki application.
To help users navigate the wikis in a site page’s Wiki Display or Wiki applications, you can use the Tree Menu app.
The Tree Menu application displays a wiki’s page hierarchy as a tree. It lets you navigate all of a wiki’s pages. Much like Wiki Display setup, you configure the Tree Menu app to focus on a wiki node. In addition, you can configure how deep to allow users to navigate into the page hierarchy. You can set the Depth to a value from 1 to 5, or select All to allow navigation to all of the wiki node’s pages.
In the Tree Menu, folder icons represent parent wiki pages and document icons represent child wiki pages at the end of the nodes. When you click on a parent wiki page or child wiki page icon, the Wiki application or Wiki Display on the site page displays the respective wiki page.
There’s even a Page Menu application that presents a wiki page’s outgoing links.
The Page Menu app lets you display a wiki page’s outgoing links. It answers the question, “What wiki pages can I access from this page?” As with the Tree Menu and Wiki Display applications, you specify a wiki node and wiki page on which the Page Menu application operates.
When you click on a Page Menu link, the site page’s Wiki or Wiki Display application displays the wiki page associated with the link.
Liferay Portal’s Wiki application is another full-featured Liferay application with all of the features and sub-applications you expect from a state of the art wiki. It allows you to create pages of information quickly and collaboratively. The Wiki gives administrators flexibility to reposition wiki pages to their proper place in a wiki hierarchy. And it allows users to author rich content to share with others.
Next we’ll learn how to inform and alert users with the Alerts and Notifications applications.