APM: Wiki choice?

Bob Apthorpe apthorpe+pm at cynistar.net
Sat May 21 14:00:52 PDT 2005


David Bluestein II wrote:
> Okay, I need to setup a wiki for a .org to help them introduce their 
> members to each and develop some technical documentation on what they 
> want to do to upgrade their website. Any suggestions from the Perl 
> group on wikis easy to setup and easy to use? Perl based would be nice, 
> but that isn't a strict requirement.

MoinMoin )http://moinmoin.wikiwikiweb.de/) has a nice feature set,
templates, no db requirement, good access control, and is fairly easy to
set up. It's written in python and should run anywhere python does.

I hesitantly recommend PhpWiki (http://phpwiki.sourceforge.net/) because
while it has a good feature set, development and release is erratic.
After a long period of inactivity, it's now under active development but
the difference between CVS HEAD (current) and stable is pretty large, so
you have your choice of older code (and attendant update issues once
they issue a new stable release) or the moving target of the current
'release candidate.' That said, it works well enough. It's PHP-based
(duh) and can run with or without a database (GDBM, MySQL, others.)

I've installed Mediawiki (http://wikipedia.sourceforge.net/) but haven't
done much with it. It's based on PHP & MySQL with dependencies on
Ghostscript and TeTeX. It can be run under Windows but the developers
don't recommend it and they freely admit it's only been tested under
Linux. That said, Mediawiki is the engine behind Wikipedia and it has
good support for math typesetting and print publication, hence the
dependencies on (Te)TeX and Ghostscript. It may be overkill for your
client's needs but it has interesting features that others don't.

Speaking of overkill, Tiki (http://tikiwiki.org/tiki-index.php) is a
full-blown CMS, Wiki, etc. The documentation is massive (350 pages), the
release schedule is coherent and stable and overall the project is
stunningly professional. Tiki also uses PHP & MySQL and it has
installation instructions for most common platforms including IIS &
MS-SQL if you're so inclined. I never quite sorted out access control or
configuration but I also didn't put a lot of time into it; I'm certain
all my questions would have been answered had I spent more time with the

Dokuwiki (http://wiki.splitbrain.org/wiki:dokuwiki) gets a good
recommendation from the brain trust on the SAGE (System Administrator's
Guild  http://www.sage.org/) mailing list. It looks straightforward
enough, with an emphasis on web standards and documentation preparation.
It's also PHP & MySQL-based.

Finally, Twiki (http://www.twiki.org/) is perl-based, it's been around
for a while and has all the basic features you'd expect plus a lot of
sample applications and templates that might be what your organization
needs. IIRC it doesn't require a database. There may be load issues.
Otherwise, Twiki has cleaned up their page design dramatically since I
first evaluated it.

Summary: I'd play with the sandbox of each one, try a test installation,
see how easy each is to secure and backup, and then find the easiest one
to maintain with the simplest (most managable) feature set. I originally
settled on PhpWiki because, never having used a wiki, PhpWiki was much
easier to understand than Twiki; more features doesn't necessarily mean
better usability. This was 3 or so years ago and the situation is
different now.

-- Bob

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