LUPA - Web Collaboration and Content Management System

Web content management is a loosely defined term and a lot of solutions are available with varied flavors and capabilities. Most of them come with a heavily guarded interface that is separated from the content seen by end users and is only accessible for a site administer as well as a few trusted people, who can create or modify pages, add or move around screen menus, and do some other jobs through the interface. Currently this kind of solutions is probably still the mainstream web content management tools. Undeniably there are success stories but there are also many disgruntled customers and failed projects. The major shortcomings of this type of solutions include:

  • Bulky system
  • Expensive products
  • Complicated and extended deployment
  • Proprietary technologies
  • Tall learning-curve
  • Prolonged content creation/modification/publish process
  • Costly maintenance

People for this type of solutions have their own philosophy. They assume that each web environment, internet or intranet, is a hostile environment and that only a few people can be trusted. They believe some users are more authoritative or smarter than others. They want solutions to lock down every place in a system and to assign roles to users to control their activities. Their beliefs and actions are applicable in some situations, but not in many other cases in which what is locked down is user creativity, enthusiasm, and capabilities.

INFORMATED holds a different view to explain the world of web users and content. INFORMATED believes that as far as a controlled environment (intranet or internet where user accounts and activities can be controlled) is concerned, the above assumption is NOT right. First, being admitted into a controlled environment, users already went through some background check or earned their trust through their past work and reputation. Within a controlled environment, their reputation, benefits, or career could be at stake for improper behavior (deterrence). Oftentimes, rules or laws governing website use can usually be enforced in these controlled environments. Second, INFORMATED believes that the content quality (width, depth, timeliness, and correctness) and a website's success depends on collaborative work and care from a community of users, not only a small group of so-called trusted users. The larger a website, the greater need for user participation (collaboration). Third, INFORMATED believes in the bright side of the human being and strongly believes that the majority of users are willing and eager to make contributions; the more direct their contributions are, the more enthusiastic and motivated they become and more active involvement(good human nature). What they get through this process is felt trust, confidence, and fulfilling. Fourth, it is also INFORMATED's belief that a website has to have various safety mechanisms in place to guarantee that its content can be secured or restored with zero loss no matter what human nature is (safety). These beliefs require support from a new generation of tools, which can

  • Put a community of users at the center of content creation and management,
  • Ease and shorten the process of content publishing, and
  • Provide various security mechanisms and guarantee zero content loss.

The tools closest to INFORMATED's thinking are a category of software applications called Wiki. Besides the above features, Wiki applications are normally light, simple, and very cost-effective. Wiki has been growing popular for various purposes at many organizations. Using Wiki for mission-critical business websites is new and bold thinking, but none of other existing Wiki solutions on the market, open-source or commercial, is strong enough to quality for the task.

LUPA, an offering from INFORMATED, is built on top of Mediawiki, the same best open-source Wiki technology used to build the world-famous In addition to all the great features from Mediawiki, INFORMATED has done extensive customizations and enhancements and the following are just a few examples:

  • Business structure injection and related file upload and retrieval around it
  • People directory management
  • Site message announcement
  • Authentication integration with LDAP servers
  • Locking pages from editing or files from reverting and re-upload
  • Restricting page editing, file reverting or re-upload to a limited group of users
  • Hiding pages from being viewable except for a limited group of users
  • Calendar
  • Controlled user account creation and management
  • Freeze a site to stop any page edits or file uploads
  • Stop anonymous users from viewing content
  • Restrict privileges of registered users or deprive them of any privileges
  • News and events publish management
  • News ticker, weather report, page rating, and many other extensions

What is unique about LUPA is that it is able to build true mission-critial business websites in contrast to simple flat-structure websites. Many other Wiki tools are simply up to quick/easy edit/publishing, but this is still miles away from building websites supporting various business needs. It is true that having a Wiki tool one can quickly install and build a website, but to build a mission-critical business website, a lot more is required.

A business can only thrive based on the trust on its members and their collaboration. The same principle applies to websites too. INFORMATED is experienced in using the Wiki technology for business websites, no matter it is on the intranet or internet or an online collaborative project with participants from within a business or across the globe. Please feel free to contact INFORMATED for a presentation and demo.

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