GitHub is one of the most popular remote tools for programmers and developers. Although it is more recognized as a reliable resource for asynchronous collaborations, the Microsoft subsidiary is also a great wiki software tool. That’s why many developers know how to use GitHub as a wiki, and one of the reasons we integrated Almanac with GitHub from the start.
Software companies often use the wiki section to share in-depth details about how their projects work with other software developers. But apart from that, project managers use the wiki section on Github for sharing documents related to the structure of teams and the onboarding processes of new employees.
If you’re interested in learning how to use GitHub as a wiki, this article will help you get started.
The word "wiki" actually originated from the word "quick" in the Hawaiian language. According to Ward Cunningham, the father of the modern wiki, wikis mainly function as content systems for companies that want to have a broader, quicker way of distributing information.
Today, wikis are used by companies and institutions for different purposes. Students in universities use it to facilitate team projects, and project managers use it to introduce important matters to employees and contractors.
To use Github as a wiki, you must first create a repository. Fortunately, creating a repository on Github is easy. If you’ve already created an account on Github, you just have to follow this step-by-step procedure from their website.
A repository can be used to help manage your software projects and collaborate with others remotely. You can use it to discuss current problems in projects, make announcements, and propose changes through pull requests. You can either create a public or private repository for your company.
Once your repository is all set up, you’ll be provided with the option to create or upload a README file about your project. You will also have the option to create a wiki section.
With wikis, you can write all sorts of things about your project, such as how you designed it or how you operate your software for other companies. The wiki section on Github can essentially become a handbook for your new employees or an extension of your README file.
You can write wikis directly on Github, or locally. By default, only those granted access permission can edit your wikis. If you want to give full access permission to another user to your repository, here’s a quick guide on how you can do it.
Plus, Almanac's integration with Github allows you to embed issues and pull requests into your doc from public and private repositories. Almanac is basically a Github but for documents, so using them together makes both even more powerful.
Unfortunately, Github doesn’t support templates like other wiki software tools. However, if you want to use other users’ wikis and edit them to match the structure of your team’s workflows, you can do it by cloning wikis on Github.
To clone a wiki on Github, you’ll need to copy the repo URL of the wiki you want to clone and append .wiki.git to the repository name. Here’s the following command for cloning a wiki on Github: git clone https://github.com/<git-username>/<repo-name>.wiki.git
If you’re wondering how to use GitHub as a wiki, then here are some examples of wiki sections that you can clone on Github.
Hystrix is a type of library software that was designed to help determine access points in various remote and third-party libraries and systems. It’s mainly used by Netflix and eBay as a resilience engineering tool for controlling latency and failure from dependencies.
As you can see, Hystrix uses 13 main pages for its wiki section, and each has its own sub-pages for different questions or discussions.
Titan is a type of scalable graph database. It was created for making it easier to store and search complex graphs.
Titan uses the wiki section of Github to share different versions of its software with other developers. Apart from that, they also extensively used the wiki section to add external links to the documentation site of their software.
D3's wiki section is similar to Titan's. However, D3 provides a more in-depth overview of links to forum discussions as well as tutorials on how to use D3.
If you're having trouble learning how to use GitHub as a wiki, here are three alternative wiki software tools that you should know about.
Almanac features a powerful version control and an array of extremely useful features for asynchronous collaborations.
Almanac provides the following features:
With Almanac, you can create documents and transform them into company-wide virtual handbooks. This feature enables you to build wikis about current company policies, engineering documents, employee onboarding processes, and more.
Nowadays, remote work is becoming more common in corporate companies. With Almanac, you can connect useful remote work tools–including Github–to make the workflow of your teams as smooth as possible. So, regardless of your company’s line of business, Almanac will help your workflows become more systematic and efficient.
If you work as a developer, you can also take advantage of Almanac's git-like branching features to boost the productivity of your collaborations as a team.
Almanac is a great tool for knowledge management systems as well. When it comes to features, here’s how they compare to other well-known platforms.
The platform also features threaded commenting, which allows employees to recommend changes to documents on different branches.
Since almanac provides over 3000 open-source documents and templates, you can build your private workspace on the platform more quickly. So, if you’re looking for an easy-to-use, quality wiki software with multiple functionalities, make sure to try out Almanac.
Although Guru lacks functionality when compared to the other software tools mentioned in this list, it is still a viable option for sharing company-wide information and onboarding processes.
Guru allows you to store wikis in bite-sized pieces called cards, and cards are categorized into collections. You can have different collections on one board and easily tweak who gets access to each one. Guru can also be used as a browser extension to make your workflows more efficient.
Guru provides the following features:
Guru provides a minimalist yet powerful text editor, which you can use to import, format, or create your wikis. One of Guru's most notable features is its slack integration. With Guru’s slack integration, you can quickly capture important information while you're chatting with your team or department on slack.
You can also sync Guru to other existing software tools such as Confluence Cloud, Salesforce, and Google Docs. Guru also enables the use of expert verification, a feature that allows you to ask experts from your company to verify documents as well as other kinds of information.
Guru offers a free service tier if your company has less than three employees, and then:
Confluence has established itself as one of the most reliable tools for document management systems. This online-based program is a shared workspace platform that enables the open collaboration of remote teams within a particular company. The platform was developed by Atlassian, the same company that owns Jira Software, and was first published in 2004.
Confluence provides the following features:
With the use of spaces, Confluence's own version of repositories, users can create, organize, and share content with other users within a space. You can make a dedicated space for every department or team that is in your company.
As the creator of a space, you'll automatically gain the role of space administrator and have access to different settings. If you want to show transparency or give control to other users, you can grant space permission as well.
You can create wikis immediately after you've created your team spaces on Confluence. The platform offers a vast library of templates for wikis related to project management, marketing and sales, software engineering, and more.
Besides being an effective knowledge base for employees and customers, Confluence is also a reliable task management tool. You can easily assign tasks to other users and track your own tasks on the platform. Confluence can also help you manage multiple teams concurrently with the use of its deep integration with JIRA software.
Searching for specific sub-pages on Confluence is relatively convenient, since the platform lets you search in specific spaces and utilize refined filters. Confluence has its own mobile application. However, it provides fewer functions than the web version.
If you’re looking for a worthwhile investment that can help secure your organization's data, you may want to check out one of Confluence’s optional features called Atlassian Access.
Confluence offers a free service tier if your company has less than ten employees, and then:
Wikis can be used as a collaboration area and a discussion medium for companies, especially those that rely heavily on remote employees. On GitHub, wikis are mostly used by software companies. However, with the rise of the digital economy, wikis are now frequently used to improve the productivity of almost any kind of company or startup.
Wikis can also be used as knowledge management tools for different projects or topics within a particular company. But how do they exactly help in knowledge management?
A wiki software tool can help house your knowledge assets digitally and make the onboarding process of new hires easier. From how-to articles and guidelines for specific projects to FAQ pages and company-wide video presentations, wikis will ensure that your resources are stored properly.
Internal wikis can help you organize the knowledge you have in your company. For instance, if you’re handling a marketing agency, a wiki software like Almanac will help you organize resources for each of the teams that you handle.
Whether you are a part of a marketing agency, a manufacturing company, or a small department, wikis can help you organize the knowledge assets you use for workflows.
Wikis can be considered as encyclopedias for an organization. Because of the flexible structure of many wiki software tools today, managers and team leaders can create private wikis and control who can access different digital resources.
According to researchers, even though wikis need to be properly implemented by top management, they can effectively help small companies in the development of large knowledge management systems. This is quite common in software companies. However, many other companies today do, in fact, utilize wikis to continuously add and improve knowledge assets for different lines of products and services.
Using Github and Almanac together makes creating a wiki a lot less stressful! Github’s repository combined with Almanac’s easy-to-use UI and collaboration options means building a wiki for internal or external use has never been easier.