General Knowledge Base is exactly as it is titled. It is a general-use knowledge base. This is both a good thing and a bad thing. It could be also be called Generic KB. This is not meant to bash the program. It is general enough to be flexible enough to address plenty of needs but it doesn’t really specialize in one area either.
General Knowledge Base by BaltSoft requires a license purchase for the main component and then an additional cost for a component to make your KB web based. Along with the purchase, software must be installed for each editor to access the KB without the web interface.
With the initial creation of a database for our knowledge base, I ran into a bit of a permissions issue at first. You have to be a local admin on the machine to initially create the database. After that permissions can then be granted to a created database. This should happen relatively infrequently, so it’s not that big of an issue. But it’s just one of those quirks that happens (in)frequently enough that when it does occur, it can throw you for a loop.
Speaking of permissions, the ACL didn’t allow as fine-grain control as I would like. Per-user permissions allowed specifying access to all or no files. I foresee a really usable KB as having different gradients: Internal, staff, and public. With GKB, however, it seems you would have to have multiple databases for each gradient. This would either create redundancy in articles (bad) or gaping holes (worse) for a section of users.
A really great feature of General Knowledge Base was its openness to the files. You knew where the files were stored and could get access to them for a simply copy+paste backup. There is also a built-in Database manager that allows you to create backups to different locations or restore from these backups.
I only went through with the trial of the General Knowledge Base but I can’t really commit myself or the company to using this software. The licenses per install for editors and the lack of user access control makes it a tough sell. All in all, the interface was the finishing blow though. General Knowledge Base looks too much like a database. It is very raw and mechanical in accessing, writing, or presenting its information. Internal IT staff might consider using it, but staff and the general public would probably cringe away from it. The web interface, unfortunately, doesn’t improve on this aspect as it is basically a Java-created reproduction of the Windows application inside a browser.
All in all, General Knowledge Base organized the information nicely, but the interface lacked enough conveniences and quality in its presentation that it will be passed by.
A demo of the web interface: