Last Updated: October 12, 2015 1

PBWorks is Outstanding for Publishing Your Own Wiki

Found In: Knowledge Sharing

With the Internet boom and the subsequent web 2.0 where web sites were no longer static places to publish information; rather they allowed user input to generate the content from a large range of sources, one of the great success stories has been Wikipedia which is essentially an online encyclopedia with all entries being user created, updated and maintained by those people who know that person, place, or subject matter. And over the years, the very concept of wikis has grown to become a very powerful and widely deployed tool for businesses to grow the information resource about their products or services for use by their staff or customers alike. Historically though, to deploy a Wikipedia platform has been complex, requiring a deep knowledge of the Linux operating system and their own dedicated server which was always beyond the reach of most developers of web site content. Web site developers know HTML, but the wiki markup language was totally foreign to them.

Creating Wikis Made Easy by PBWorks

And so it was the brain child of David Weekly in 2005 to code a version of the wiki platform that needed no such high level skills for users to operate, and PBWorks was born as a ìsoftware as a serviceî hosted solution for people to use. After going through several relaunches to change its interface to be ever more easy to use, the PBWorks platform now consists of well over one million wikis with seven million pages of user generated content and an additional three and a half million uploaded user files. More than four million people use PBWorks each month; thatís quite an army of users generating content for their organizations. Hosted on its own cluster of Linux servers, the PBWorks source code is proprietary and has evolved over the years to now be fully HTML code, with wiki markup language no longer being used at all.

The team at PBWorks has coined a new phrase for their offering called Freemium; which means that anyone can create an account for free and be able to use the basic facilities; however for the more advanced range of options and no quota on the size of hosted materials users will pay a fee. And it is a business model that seems to be working very well, given the stellar rise of PBWorks in just a few short years. Their approach has always been about ease of use and being simpler than other solutions. And over time, this simplicity has also spawned to include a much greater functionality, with some versions being customized to be an exact match for professional use for example by colleges and universities, or for law firms, marketing agencies or for general businesses.

All HTML Code Now for Your Easy to Use Wiki for Low Technical People

Because it is so easy for non technical people to use, there is no formal training needed for people to become productive from the get go. However, PBWorks does have a webinar series to help people to get the most out of the suite of tools availableSecurity controls are always a large consideration, and PBWorks provides for the wiki to be able set to public viewing, or set to private where only invited people can view and work on the entries in their wiki solution. And because wikis are a user generated content management system, it is imperative that users can add, edit, and comment on their project, provided that they authorized to do so. PBWorks makes it easy to do and even allows for copy and paste from Microsoft Word documents; as well as to export from the wiki documents in Word, PowerPoint and PDF formats with just the click of a button.

Opening an account with PBWorks is very straight forward and easy to do. Only the usual account information of email address and password, name and phone number and some basic demographic information are required; plus also you must select a name for your wiki which will be a sub domain of the PBWorks web site. That is, after your account is created, all your files and content will be hosted within this sub domain on their server cluster. The free wiki entitles you to have up to twenty users authorized to view and edit the content and up to five work spaces of twenty megabytes per work space. And so as you grow your wiki knowledge base over time, your users will be able to share documents and collaborate on them quickly and easily, and the total project can have resources allocated to it with the inbuilt project management tool.

PBWorks Links Work Spaces With People To Collaborate

And so the PBWorks wiki creation system is made up of a collection of work spaces and people. Each work space is a secure and online area where people can come together to work on and collaborate on content and to manage their work flows as they get the project done. When you first log in to your account, you are able to select from the menu where you want to go; either to create a new project, knowledge base, extranet or intranet or to view projects, knowledge base, extranets and intranets that youíve already created. You can quickly view recent activity by other team members or you can join a work space. All new content consists of pages and you are able to create or edit that as you wish, or make comments on them. And you can upload files to your pages for download later by others. The project management tool suite enables you to assign set tasks to different team members and to allocate time resources by which they must be completed and any relevant content links they may need to use.

The Intranet and extranet system is particularly useful with staff being able to access the intranet for their own knowledge base and training needs; and customers and suppliers can view the extranet for their own purposes.