Jan-Lukas Else

Thoughts of an IT expert

Why I Created My Own Wiki - Advantages of a Knowledge Base

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Knowledge is one of the most important goods in today’s world. The value of an employee increases with the knowledge he possesses. But the problem is that we often have so much input that we can’t remember everything. Solution: Create a knowledge database.

There are really countless ways to create your own wiki. Be it a collection of text documents on Google Drive or your own MediaWiki installation. Of course, the type of implementation also depends on the technical experience, because a collection of documents is easy to create even for less experienced users.

I personally decided to install my own wiki. However, not MediaWiki but jingo. jingo runs with Node.js and I have installed it parallel to my blog and appydroid on a $5 DigitalOcean Droplet. How the installation works can be read here.

jingo doesn’t have too many functions, which is positive in my opinion, because it doesn’t always have to be the overkill. But jingo is incredibly fast and in contrast to MediaWiki I can create my entries in Markdown formatting, which is an enormous advantage, because otherwise I also create blog posts mostly in Markdown and can handle it pretty well. Under the hood, jingo uses the version control system git and is file-based. This means that jingo does not need a database to store entries.

But what do I need a wiki for?

A wiki offers me personally the best way to store information that I often need centrally in one place. This saves me from having to search with Google, if I have to get some information that I have already searched before.

For example, I use my wiki to store instructions on how to install servers. For example, as I install the above mentioned Node.js on my Ubuntu server at DigitalOcean and create an SSL certificate with Let’s Encrypt so that I can visit the site via HTTPS.

But that’s not all I write down there. I also use the knowledge base to store important things that I learn during my apprenticeship or my study so that I can access them again and again later on. Besides, I can search directly in the whole wiki with full text search and don’t have to browse through whole document folders to find the answer to my questions.

But I also use my own wiki for organization. For example, I have an overview of the domains I own and which pages I have up and running. This gives me an overview of the monthly costs (which are frighteningly high) but lets me manage the whole thing better, because software needs updates from time to time.

Finally, you can use a wiki for all kinds of things. A company can also use a wiki, for example, to let a flow of knowledge take place between employees or to record guidelines. There are no limits to the whole thing.

One thing is clear. Storing information in a central location makes it much easier to find them again later.

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Jan-Lukas Else
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