Knowledge Base Upgrade

The Knowledgebase is a tool with which departments at the University can organise useful information, in the form of FAQ articles, to deliver to its users as a part of their departmental web services. These articles are managed through an intuitive admin interface that allows one to add, edit and organise them into categories as necessary to facilitate effective dissemination of useful information.

The current Knowledgebase software was implemented by customising a well-known open-source solution called phpMyFAQ, version 2.0.5. More specifically, authentication and theming functionality (amongst other minor changes) were built into it in order to seamlessly merge it into the existing University/Departmental web infrastructures. PhpMyFaq has since been continually developed to remove bugs and to add additional functionality, a lot of which will be useful to incorporate in the Knowledgebase. Currently phpMyFaq (version 2.7.x) provides a content management system, user access control, LDAP/Active directory authentication, searching, user comments, smart answering (automatically selecting an article to answer a question asked by the user), an easy to use HTML editor, PDF exports of articles, and many other features and security/bug fixes.

The upgrade to the knowledge base aims to improve its functionality whilst removing some of its current limitations;

Firstly, a number of security fixes will be applied in this upgrade, these security fixes will come about through upgrading phpMyFaq to its latest version. Also, the PDF generator, with which articles can be turned into PDF files, has been improved in this new version.

Apart from the fact that it’s running on outdated software, it was built specifically to work with the Apollo theming engine, which is slowly being retired. It’s therefore unable to take advantage of the powerful modular and templating functionality that Pantheon (the current University templating engine) provides. The upgrade will integrate the Knowledgebase with the Pantheon, making it integrate smoothly into the university’s departmental sites.

Additionally, the design and layout of the different aspects of the knowledge base will be revisited. This will be done in an effort to make the use of the Knowledgebase more intuitive to aid its effective use. Also, a Knowledgebase specific theme will be designed that will act as a default Knowledgebase template for departmental sites. Whilst similar to the Chronos (Pantheon) Template, this will be designed in a way that can be used across multiple departments in order to provide a consistent look in-line with the University of Kent and Departmental branding.

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