I’ve been meaning to blog about this for a while but kept forgetting until now. PBWiki are a great company that provide free wiki services similar to those offered by wikia. However I think PBwiki is better for a few reasons.
The first being that wikia uses the wikimedia engine which makes it obviously look exactly the same as wikipedia. While this isn’t exactly a bad thing, it may confuse people and also make people not realise that a wiki is an actual type of site and a way of collaborating, rather than just the short name of the most known encyclopedia these days.
The new thing that really helps keep it above wikia in my estimation is the new rich text editor which they had been talking about for what felt like ages before they introduced it recently. It works great and really kicks wikimedia pretty hard because people are put off editing wikipedia entries because they don’t know how to code.
Of course it’s not really that hard to edit existing wikipedia entries but if you want to add in an image where there was none before or add a table of contents to a new page, it can be difficult to people who are new to it.
The pbwiki editor on the other hand completely eliminates that problem by allowing anyone to create great looking pages for their wiki with ease, complete with plug-ins like flash (youtube videos) among others. You can even add a basic chat box which although isn’t that useful will certainly give younger people or people relatively new to web design a kick.
The only thing I don’t like too much about pbwiki is that you don’t get that many ways to make your wiki look unique in terms of the layout. You get a few options for layouts in the free package but I guess seeing as you only get one real choice with wikia it’s not really my place to complain, especially when you do get more customization features in the paid version, plus the ability to host a domain at the wiki which to me is really cool. I love the idea of having a whole website as a wiki allowing the whole thing to be edited at any time by anyone.
So in short, if you need an easy to use and fairly customizable wiki, look no further.