As you may have noticed,
for the last year or so we have been transitioning some of our old BigFix
systems to IBM-powered systems. This transition has been bumpy at times, but
hopefully this blog post will help explain our progress and where we stand.
Here is the breakdown:
- Technical articles
- BigFix system -- web pages at support.bigfix.com
- IBM system -- DeveloperWorks wiki
- The DeveloperWorks wiki is much easier for us (or
anyone) to modify and add more articles. This makes the content more
dynamic and up-to-date.
- There is an index in the wiki on the left to show all
the articles, which is handy for navigation.
- There are some searching issues with the wiki so they
currently don't show up as Google results. We are trying to address this
(or you can still use our search appliance -- see below).
- Analysis -- The new wiki is better than the old BigFix
- BigFix system -- BigFix Forum (PunBB)
- IBM system -- IBM DeveloperWorks Forum
- Both are fine forums for the basic forum functions.
- IBM forums have a "question-type" of forum
entry, which is nice.
- IBM forums also have an easier way to see what had
changed since the last visit.
- IBM forums support attachments better, has fewer issues with spammers, and allows easier administration for us.
- We are currently still trying to figure out an easy
way to search the IBM forum (it currently searches all the IBM forums
instead of just the BigFix section... or you can still use our search
appliance -- see below).
- Analysis -- The forums are pretty similar overall, but I think the IBM Forum is a bit better.
- BigFix system -- We didn't use blogs at BigFix (although we probably should have).
- IBM system -- DeveloperWorks blog
- Blogs are a nice way to do announcements and communications (like what you are reading now!). We will start using them more.
- Analysis -- Blogs are a nice benefit of using IBM systems.
- Mailing lists
- BigFix system -- mailman mailing lists
- IBM system -- Blogs and Support Portal announcements
- We used mailing lists at BigFix extensively to communicate content updates, new releases, new Fixlets, and more. Many people seemed to like these, but some people complained that we were spamming them to death with so much BigFix info.
- We expect to start using blogs in certain areas instead of email announcements.
- We haven't started using the email announcements based on the IBM support portal, but it will require that you sign-up for the support portal notifications. We are working on ways to make this transition easier and we will have more info on this before we transition.
- Analysis -- The new blogs and targeted email announcements are probably better than the tsunami of emails we used to send to the besadmin announcements list.
BigFix system -- search.bigfix.com (Google appliance)
IBM system -- independent search mechanisms in the various tools above
It is hard to beat Google when it comes to search technology and finding what you want. Many times the search in the various systems is an afterthought and doesn't work as well as you want.
Our Google appliance seemed to work well over the years and it is still in place.
- Analysis -- To allow centralized BigFix searching, we are trying to keep our Google Mini alive as long as we can (it is pretty old and out of support though). If the hardware fails, we might need to default to just using the individual search areas.
- Docs, KB, and Downloads, and other info
- BigFix system -- support.bigfix.com
- IBM system -- IBM support portal
- We haven't migrated our KB or docs over yet, but we will announce when the migration occurs and what you will need to do.
- The IBM portal seems like it has a lot of good features and provides a lot of services (KB, docs, issue-reporting and tracking, etc.)
- The IBM portal is a bit complicated compared to our old simple website (for instance, you need to "register" to see our product info), but I think it is just a bit of upfront work and it should work well.
- Analysis -- We aren't sure how these compare because we haven't finished the migration, but we hope the new portal provides all the info and more compared to our old site.
Hope that helps explain the past-present-and-future of our BigFix technical info... We will provide updates if/when things change...
Senior Technical Staff Member, BigFix