Open-source Review Series
There are a lot of great open-source projects out there, but the time-consuming process of installing, configuring, and learning new systems with no guarantees the software can even support your use-cases can be a major source of friction.
The purpose of the open-source review series is to dive into different open-source projects so you as the reader can gain an understanding of the feature set and capabilities of different open-source software so you don’t have to spend time figuring it out yourself.
BookStack — Documentation Management Platform
We are taking a look at BookStack, a platform to manage your documents. It allows you to break your work down into three groups: books, chapters, and pages. This offers a very simple, yet powerful organization strategy. BookStack is an alternative to solutions such as Atlassian’s Confluence or other documentation platforms.
Project Overview — As of 12/2/2017
A platform to create documentation/wiki content built with PHP & Laravel — https://www.bookstackapp.com/
Repository — https://github.com/BookStackApp/BookStack
Created By —ssddanbrown
First Commit —July 12, 2015
Latest Commit — November 19, 2017
Number of Stars — 938 (Click and ⭐️ this!)
Number of Commits — 804
Method 1 — Manual Install : Follow these instructions
Method 2 — Automated Install : Deploy BookStack on ServiceShop without a credit card
Simple Document Management
BookStack’s purpose is to attempt to simplify the process of organizing and managing your content. By forcing your content into Books, Chapters, and Pages, it gives you an organized overview of all your documentation, without the headache. You can add documents directly in the system with it’s WYSWIG editor and export to PDF/HTML/TXT with the click of a button.
Many platforms are hindered by poor searching tools. BookStack isn’t one of those. Powered by its simple architecture, BookStack’s searching is as comprehensive as you could ever want with a simple interface to boot. Filter by Page, chapter book, tag, date, and more.
White Label Customization
BookStack offers the ability to brand and customize the application. The back-end also supports the ability to create custom HTML (for integrations like intercom) or CSS overrides if you don’t quite like the default theme.
- LDAP Authentication — LDAP is a protocol used to authenticate users and is a common solution for SSO (single sign-on), BookStack can use LDAP to authenticate users instead of it’s own database.
- Social Login — BookStack supports logging in with many networks including Google, Twitter, Github, Facebook, Slack, and AzureAD.
BookStack supports user registration and the ability to assign roles with different privileges (Viewer, Editor, Admin). Larger organizations will find this useful when they have many employees or interns creating, editing, and viewing the same content and they wish to limit what each user can do.
Who should consider using BookStack?
I think BookStack is perfect for smaller businesses or freelancers that are looking for something extremely simple when it comes to documentation management. If you are looking for complex workflows and integrations with project management BookStack is not right for you. What BookStack is good for is adding some simple abstractions on top of your documentation which, in most cases does the job just as good as complex systems such as Confluence or MediaWiki.
BookStack offers a lot when it comes to simple documentation management. As it is actively maintained I look forward to see where this awesome open-source project is going to go. Try BookStack out and don’t forget to Star it on Github!