Please note: the Doc-To-Help “Publish to Wiki” feature is included with Doc-To-Help 2011 V2, released August 30.
Social media is all about building communities and encouraging conversation and feedback. But you need to match the platform to the goal. If you would like to create a website that everyone can contribute to and collaborate in, then a wiki may be just what you are looking for. However, roadblocks such as wiki installation, support, and content migration (to name a few) may have been standing in your way.
With SharePoint, you can create a wiki in a few clicks. And Doc-To-Help now has a “Publish to SharePoint” feature that makes it simple to publish your content to a SharePoint wiki. Problem solved.
Once your content is published to a SharePoint wiki, anyone with the proper permissions can edit the information. A wiki can be setup for internal use only, or you can give customers access also. It’s a great way to open up your content for input — your community (whoever they may be) can contribute, comment, search, ask questions in a central location that is easy to setup, maintain, and administer. You can mix and match who gets to simply “read” the information vs. who has permissions to edit it. You can build a community you are comfortable with.
And since so many companies already have SharePoint, you don’t have to worry about downloading, learning, and configuring, and getting permission to install another wiki application — you can just take advantage of what you already have. Plus, you get all the popular wiki administrative features. All revisions are saved in the Page History, and you can restore old versions if needed. You can delete old pages. You control permissions and can add or remove users.
And remember, any content can benefit from being “wikified” — software documentation, instructions, company procedures, training materials — whatever you have that you want to open for input and build a community around. Bonus: if you have content in Word that has never been turned into a Help system, no problem. Just pull those documents into Doc-To-Help, build, and upload to a SharePoint wiki. You don’t need to spend hours cutting, pasting and organizing.
Let’s take a look …
Start out by creating a SharePoint wiki. It’s three steps.
(If you don’t see these options, ask your SharePoint admin for the proper permissions.)
- Open your SharePoint site.
- Click Site Actions > More Options.
- Scroll down the list and choose Wiki Page Library. Add a name and click the Create button.
Your wiki Library will be created and SharePoint will display an overview of wikis, as well as a link to instructions about how to use a Wiki Library. They are simple to use, but this basic information would be good to pass along to your wiki users; how to edit wiki pages, create links, and create pages. It’s all they need to know.
Now let’s open a Doc-To-Help project and publish our content to SharePoint. We first need to build NetHelp output (that’s what is published to SharePoint). NetHelp is Doc-To-Help’s browser-based output for the web.
This is also three steps.
- On the Home tab, click the Select Target drop-down and choose NetHelp.
- Click the Build button to build it.
- Click the Publish to SharePoint button on the Home tab. The Publish to SharePoint Wizard will guide you through upload. Choose Upload to a Wiki Page Library. Upload to the SharePoint Wiki we created a few minutes ago. (The Wizard will warn you at one point that the wiki isn’t empty, which is true — it contains the default wiki intro information. Click Yes to continue.)
After the Wizard has done its work, it will display a View button. Click it to open your new wiki.
Note that the Table of Contents is the home page of the Wiki. The TOC retains its original hierarchy and links. This page is editable, but we’ll click on the first link so we have more content to work with.
The image was imported, and the links to various URLs (the Pittsburgh Pirates website, etc.) all remain. A link was added at the bottom that will take you back to the Table of Contents. Every topic in the wiki now includes this link. Two other things: the expanding text in the first line (its semiquincentennial!) is now displayed, rather than being a link, while the glossary link to “confluence” remain, however it links to the definition rather than displaying as a popup (wikis don’t support them).
Editing a Wiki page in SharePoint is easy, click the Page tab at the top, click the Check Out button to lock the page, then click the Edit button.
The page will switch to edit mode and editing can begin.
The ribbon displays a complete set of Word-like formatting options, as well as spell check. You can edit anything, and even add images. The Save and Check In buttons are on the same tab for when you are done editing. Note that in Edit Mode links to other topics become wiki links ([[Documents/football|Football]]). This syntax is unique to wikis and makes it easy for anyone to edit existing links and create new ones. As long as you know the location and name of a topic, you can create a link to it using this syntax. Anyone familiar with wikis will recognize and understand this right away; new users are fine after a short explanation.
In conclusion …
Setting up a SharePoint wiki is easy, publishing to it with Doc-To-Help is easy, and editing and administration are simple. Test it out and see if this collaboration option is right for your company. Start a conversation and see what happens.
You can learn more about and download Doc-To-Help here.