Wiki vs. Drupal Book

One of the big reasons I had for making the switch to Drupal is the great "Book" content type. It allows structuring of individual pages into a navigation hierarchy, and generates the "table of contents" and inter/page navigation automatically. I wanted to use it for writing longer articles, and wish I'd had it in place to use for the Interface 2006 ePortfolio background information article .

Initially, I wrote up the background article in a wiki, thinking it might be handy if others were able to edit. But, nobody has, and I think the article is less useful/usable as One Long Page Of Stuff. It would make more sense in smaller, bite-sized pieces that could be individually linked. Smaller granularity, allowing for reuse or something equally wishful.

So, to test out the waters, I just moved a copy of the Interface 2006 ePortfolio background article into a structured book here on my blog.

What's the difference between the two? The wiki page version is theoretically more "open" – others are able to edit it. The Drupal book version is theoretically more usable as a reference – easier to navigate and link to. It's also got comments enabled, so feedback is still pretty easy. Any thoughts on the two approaches?

18 Comments

  1. Hello everybody. I have the same interrogation than dnorman. I’lm working on a project of collaborative Internet site and my first idea was to take mediawiki. But I see some people saying using Drupal for knowledge management even in great compagny. So I a afraid. Is the choice of Mediwiki a big mistake ?

    Mediawiki enjoy me on thoses points :
    -scalability (I think to th big wikipedia)
    -interwiki link
    -langlinks
    -extension
    -semantic mediawiki
    – power of models concept
    -reuse of models from wikipedia
    -inclusion capabilities from wikipedia
    – simily script language with extension like ParserFunctions and StringFunctions

    What of those thinks are’nt in Drupal

    Specially to D’Arcy
    – do you know where It should be possible to see a Drupal site with open editing user access which let all or a set of users edit the site or part of th site ?
    -In which way don’t you find that versioning/revisions is harder to follow in Drupal than in a MediaWiki ?

    Specially to Chris L
    -Is it really more difficult to obtain a nice print of an article in Drupal than in Mediawiki. I thing tha it’s a great functionnality of Mediawiki to be able to give a print without the menu and other stuff which have no utility on a piece of paper. Do you confirm ?
    – In wich way, Drupal seems to have eclipsed WP in most of the ways relevant to you ?
    Norman :
    – don’t you thing that is possible to use model’s mediawiki concept, catagorisation and DPL extension to structure individual pages into a navigation hierarchy ?
    – What do you means by generates inter/page navigation automatically ?

  2. @Eric
    – Yes, Drupal can be set up to allow anyone to edit anything, much like a wiki. (check Access Control, and configure to be as secure or as open as you wish – you might want to enable Revisions for the content type(s) so you can walk back any changes though…)

    – Drupal doesn’t offer as clean of a diff function as mediawiki does. There’s probably a module to make it display better though, but I personally find it much easier to follow the diffs in mediawiki.

    – yes, I think Mediawiki’s categories, etc… can be used. But n00bs won’t grok them, so you’ll need to provide some support. Novices get how to use dropdown menus for taxonomies. They don’t get how to add [Category:whatever] to categorize stuff (even though it seems simple to geeks).

    – for inter-page navigation, I’m meaning the table of contents generated to list all pages in a book. Similar to the navigation block that MediaWiki generates for a single page, but spanning multiple pages and reflecting the hierarchical structure of the pages, rather than the semantic headings within a page. Makes it easier for people to navigate a set of pages if that level of UI is taken care of automagically.

  3. Troy

    Can anyone please tell me if Drupal could possibly be used as a publishing platform for producing textbooks? I was recently told that I should not be using QuarkXPress and should switch to Drupal. The thing is, It seems to be only a web-development tool similar to Joomla. Can Drupal be used to build and export high-resolution print-ready PDF files? Thanks.

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