Arguably, one of the lesser-used services in OS X Server, the Wiki, has the power to be the broadest collaboration tool, second only to email. Wikis were designed with the premise that it is "essentially a database for creating, browsing, and searching through information" - Ward Cunningham, Inventor of the Wiki. The fact that Wiki's are hosted online makes them an ideal method for communicating within organizations — both locally and remotely — over the internet.
Furthermore, the strength of collaboration rests in the ability for data to be manipulated as necessary by everyone in the group. Wikis keep that in mind by eschewing ownership of the content, thus "allowing structure to emerge according to the needs of the users" - Wikipedia. Additionally, its ease of use carries over from its simplicity to setup.
Here are the requirements for setting up the Wiki service in OS X Server:
- Apple computer with OS X Server (1.0+) installed
- Open Directory setup on OS X Server (1.0+)
- Static IP assigned to OS X Server
- Broadband internet access (Ethernet)
- Create Users and Groups (optional, unless working with multiple users or control over access rights)
- SSL certificate registered with a 3rd-party service *
Follow these steps to setup the Wiki service on OS X Server:
- Launch Server.app and select the server you wish to manage.
- Login with administrative credentials.
- Select Wiki from the Services pane (Figure A).
- By default, all users are selected next to Permissions. However, to modify this to allow selected users and/or groups from viewing or modifying Wiki content, select only some users from the drop-down list.
- When the pop-up window appears for Wiki Creators, you can select what users or groups will have access to create new Wikis. Click the plus sign [+] to add users/groups, and then click OK to save these settings (Figure B).
- Under the WebDAV section, the check box is checked by default. This is to allow iOS devices edit privileges when using the iWork suite. If you wish to disallow this, uncheck the box (Figure C).
- Move the slider to the ON position to complete the Wiki setup and start the service (Figure D).
- Once the service is online, you'll notice the View Wiki link at the bottom of the Wiki service pane. Click the link to launch the Wiki editor in your browser.
Now, follow these steps to create a Wiki page on OS X Server:
- Access the Wiki Server page (Figure E) by performing step #8 in the section above or enter the IP address, domain name, or computer name of the OS X Server hosting the page, followed by /wiki.
- Login to the Wiki with an authorized Wiki Creator account by clicking padlock icon.
- Enter your credentials when prompted and click the Log In button (Figure F).
- Once authenticated, click the bulleted list icon to view the Wikis that have been created and information that has been modified by your account (Figure G).
- To create a new Wiki page, click the plus sign [+] in the toolbar and select New Wiki from the drop-down list.
- The Create a new wiki box will prompt for a Name and Description (optional) for the new Wiki page. Enter those and click Continue (Figure H).
- Next, the Set permissions box will allow you to determine the access rights based on group membership or per user. The catalog of user/group information will be based on all Directory Services bound to OS X Server. This means if both Open Directory and Active Directory services are bound to the server, the pool of user and group accounts to choose from will be expanded to include both directories. Add a user/group by typing in the name and selecting it from the list that auto-generates. Once the access accounts have been selected, click the drop-down menu next to each account and select the desired level of access: Owner, Read & Write, Read Only, or No Access. These settings can always be adjusted later, as needed. Click the Continue button to proceed (Figure I).
- The last section is Set appearance, where you'll be able to select the color scheme for the Wiki. You can also optionally upload a Wiki Icon to easily identify the page. When you're done, click the Create button (Figure J).
- Next, you'll return to the menu page with the foundation setup, ready to create your first Wiki page (Figure K).
- Once again, click the plus sign [+] and choose New Page from the drop-down menu. A pop-up window will prompt you for a Page Title. Enter the name and click the Add button (Figure L).
- The first page has now been successfully created in your Wiki. To edit the page, click the pencil icon to enable the editing toolbar and fill your page with content. Don't forget to click the Save button periodically, as saving is not done automatically like it is in the newer versions of OS X (Figure M).
Wikis are another tool by which collaboration is allowed to take place with relative ease. Similar to the Messages and FTP services, it allows for the sharing of information near instantaneously across floors, buildings, or even continents.
It is multimedia capable, making it as easy to access as visiting a website and clicking a link; yet as simple to create as typing information into a word processor or text file.
* Optional, unless necessary to communicate with the OS X server via URL. By registering a domain name with a 3rd-party registrar, that host name can now be assigned to OS X server, ensuring that it can be reached on the web.
Do you use the Wiki service on OS X Server in your organization? Share your experience in the discussion thread below.
Jesus Vigo is a Network Administrator by day and owner of Mac|Jesus, LLC, specializing in Mac and Windows integration and providing solutions to small- and medium-size businesses. He brings 19 years of experience and multiple certifications from several vendors, including Apple and CompTIA.