XWiki vs Sharepoint

XWiki distinguishes itself from the other wikis by offering enterprise-oriented features such as office documents import, management of unstructured data, export of the data in many formats, customisation of the wiki, fine rights management, flexibility and scalability.
Logo XWiki Open Source
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Logo Sharepoint

What is Sharepoint 2010?

"Microsoft SharePoint 2010 makes it easier for people to work together. Using SharePoint 2010, your people can set up Web sites to share information with others, manage documents from start to finish, and publish reports to help everyone make better decisions" (as defined by Microsoft).

Sharepoint usages

Sharepoint is a generalist tool, all in one, first targeting Office documents management usages, social networks and intranet/internet websites. The "collaborative" part of Sharepoint 2010 is focused on Office Documents sharing. Wikis are only one of the features being commercialized. The wiki aspect is a minor one and stays basic in terms of features. Links between wikis and other information are not encouraged. Sharepoint also features a development platform that allows modifications and customizations to specific business needs. The platform is based on Microsoft programming technologies.

What is XWiki?

Popularized by the famous multilingual Wikipedia encyclopedia, a wiki is classically presented as a set of web pages, alterable by all users with permissions. It allows the collaborative creation of content (including text, images, videos), as well as the creation of links between different sets of content. Basic wiki features include the following:

  • Page creation
  • Page modification: adding or suppressing content
  • Creation of links between information
  • Discussion: the creation of a page can generate a lot of exchanges between all the contributors
  • Modification history: What was modified? By whom? When?
  • Rollback: it is always possible to rollback and choose the previous version of the wiki page
  • Rights management: each registered user has rights which allow creating, modifying, consulting or deleting pages.

    XWiki, a second generation wiki

    HXWiki chooses to go a step further and propose additional features, meant to aid enterprises of all sizes in addressing professional needs. It distinguishes itself from the other wikis by offering enterprise-oriented features such as:

    • Office documents import (i.e. a Word document is transformed into a wiki page; XWiki retains the layout, images, etc.)
    • The management of unstructured data (like Wikipedia), as well as structured data (forms, spreadsheets)
    • Export of the data in many formats (PDF, HTML, XAR)
    • An activity stream displaying an overview of all the wiki activities
    • The customization of the wiki (logo, colors, look and feel of menus)
    • Connection to the Enterprise Directory (data retrieval, SSO)
    • Fine rights management (by space, page, user groups)
    XWiki is an Open Source software, developed under the LGPL license, establishing itself as a "Knowledge Management and Collaboration” specialized platform. With a focus on answering Enterprise Information Organization and Collaboration needs, its solutions include Knowledge Base, Procedures Management, Extranet and Communities, Digital Workplace and Custom Projects. Its main strengths are the flexibility and scalability it offers by allowing the creation of specific applications (Meeting management application, Customer Relationship Management, etc.) as per business requirements. Additionally, the XWiki SAS company provides a full range of services including consulting, development, support, training and hosting.

    Sharepoint vs XWiki benchmark

    Creating and managing content

    In terms of information management, both solutions provide different approaches: Sharepoint bases its solution on Microsoft Office, which means users have to use its services (Word, Excel, PowerPoint etc). Considerating that this requires opening documents in Office, it can generate incompatibility issues between Microsoft Office versions, while increasing complexity and training costs. Sharepoint acts more like an Office document repository with which collaborators can interact. As a Desktop-oriented solution, its aim is to sustain the use of Office, which is the historic Sharepoint feature of Microsoft. Since Sharepoint is mostly oriented on storing important documents, information may not be organized at the desired level or entirely ease the collaboration process. Additional features like blog, social network, and basic wiki features are meant to compensate, but their usage is not as intuitive as it should be, thus leaving users disoriented.

    Office documents library: document edition is made with Office Word
    sharepointlibrary.png
    Diversely, in XWiki, everything is a page with an URL and can contain text, attachments or structured data. Each page benefits from the same collaborative features, including edition, comments, annotations, history. All these features are usable in the most popular web browsers, which helps reduce compatibility and configuration issues. Moreover, it is always possible to export the document in different formats (Office, PDF, etc.) if users would like to save/store it on their PC's hard-disk or to attach files to the page to visualize them in the Office Reader/Web viewer without using any desktop tool.

    Wiki page in edition mode, directly from your web browser. The WYSIWYG editor allows you to easily edit the document (links, pages, tables, layout options)
    wysiwygxwiki.png

    From a collaborative point of view

    Sharepoint organizes the information in silos (document libraries), which are disconnected from one another. Blogs, document management, wikis and applications are separated. Most of the collaboration inside Sharepoint is oriented towards Office document sharing, organized in folders. While the documents are stored in libraries, generally owned by a specific team or department, the information is compartmentalized, lacking links to other documents relevant to the library in usage or any other different one. Consequently, only document stored information can be shared, while structured and unstructured information, even though important, is not shared through the tool.

    On the other hand, with XWiki, documents can be linked and everybody (with the necessary access) can contribute to the content and easily update the wiki. It is also possible to search for a document in a particular wiki (e.g. the marketing wiki) or at the wikis farm level (marketing, finance, support, etc.)

    Sharepoint: information organization in silos/documents library XWiki: each document is a wiki page, that can be linked to others
    sharepointen.png xwikien.png

    From a technical point of view

    Sharepoint only works with SQL Server (Microsoft DataBase), while XWiki offers an extensive array of choices(MySQL, PostgreSQL, Oracle). The installation of Sharepoint (similarly to the SQL Server one) is tedious since it runs on a specific Latin 1 encoding. Suboptimal encoding of the database interrupts the installation. A total standalone running is complicated, if not impossible, due to the authentication mechanisms proposed (NTLM ou Kerberos). Finally, updates are complex. The software is redone for each version. If specific developments have been made with a previous Sharepoint version, compatibility is not guaranteed with the new version, which can lead to additional development and generate extra costs.

    From an economical point of view

    Microsoft Sharepoint is variable in terms of pricing for licensing and implementation. Being a generalist tool, it requires time to be configured and adapted to specific needs. It is also dependent on other Microsoft products (Windows Server, Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft Office) which can generate extra licensing costs. For the Sharepoint 2010 Enterprise version, pricing pattern is the following: for 100 users a total of 54800$ (41679 Euros), for 1000 users a total of 251000$ (191000 Euros), for 10000 users a total price of 2.2M$ (1.67M Euros). It is worth mentioning that the prices are applied in the US, meaning European prices can differ.

    Contrarily, XWiki Enterprise is Open Source, which means no license costs are required. For usage like information organization, no important modifications are required as it is XWiki's native purpose. As a result, development can be focused on specific business applications and customization. Furthermore, once a wiki is created for a particular user, it belongs to them entirely. XWiki's offered supports contracts are linked to the size of the installation and pricing is adjusted to the number of users. With four plans to choose from (Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum), the lowest price point for 100 users starts at 1500 eur/year and goes up to 40000 eur/year for wikis with up to 5000 users and 100 wikis. Several support levels exist, allowing further services, including intervention on the customer's platform.

    Sharepoint and XWiki usages within companies

    Sharepoint and XWiki are both used as tools meant to organize information and facilitate collaboration through solutions such as:

    • knowledge base
    • intranet and extranet
    • websites
    • documentation
    • educational solutions
    • support solutions
    • Enterprise Social Networks

    Why use XWiki, rather than Sharepoint?

    Below are listed several reasons, from different perspectives, why XWiki might be the most suitable tool for organizational needs:

    From a financial point of viewFrom a human point of viewFrom a technological point of view
    • The absence of license cost and dependence to the solution
    • The allocation of the full budget towards the development of custom applications
    • XWiki's total cost of ownership, which is sharply lower than Sharepoint's TCO
    • The cost of update and upgrade is low when compared to Sharepoint's
    • Quick project implementation
    • A dynamic and reactive company, providing fast support services
    • Superior information organization in XWiki
    • XWiki is an Enterprise 2.0 software/solution
    XWiki is far less demanding when it comes to financial and human resources. With a team backed up by over 15 years of experience and more than 500 international projects delivered, XWiki is adaptable and future-oriented, the professional Open Source wiki fit for aiding organizational aspects within a company and boosting collaboration.
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