Wikis are typically used as shared whiteboards that allow users to add, remove, or otherwise edit all content very quickly and easily. The ease of interaction and operation makes a plain wiki an effective tool for collaborative writing and to share knowledge.
Database systems are not so much suited to collaboratively maintain content, but they contain highly structured data, offer easy reporting, and support workflow.
A structured wiki combines the benefits of the seemingly contradicting worlds of plain wikis and database systems. This gives you a collaborative database environment where knowledge can be shared freely, and where structure can be added as needed. In a structured wiki, users can create wiki applications that are very specific to their needs, such as call center status boards, to-do lists, inventory systems, employee handbooks, bug trackers, blog applications and more.
|Feature||Plain wikis||Database systems||Structured wikis|
|Content creation:||Collaborative, organic||Highly structured, predetermined format||Both (case by case)|
|Structure:||Simple: Hyperlinks, hierarchy of pages, page markup, categories||Tables, rows, relations||Both (case by case)|
|Reporting:||Fixed reports (recent changes etc)||Extensive reporting capabilities, also user generated reports||Both|
|Security:||Community based "soft security"||Access control||Both (case by case)|
|Application created by:||N/A||Programmers, database analysts (IT department)||End users ("Visual Basic paradigm shift")|
|Design methodology:||N/A||Top down "cathedral style"||Bottom up "bazaar style", user centric; iterative application development|
Specific to structured wiki: