[Pdx-pm] TWiki as substitute for kwiki?

Shlomi Fish shlomif at iglu.org.il
Tue Mar 27 01:29:34 PDT 2007

On Tuesday 27 March 2007, Keith Lofstrom wrote:
> Mongers:
> Some weeks back we were engaged in a discussion of replacing the PDX
> Perl Mongers kwiki with something more secure, and I have been looking
> for the same thing for the 5 kwikis I manage.  I was considering MediaWiki
> for a while.   Eric warned us that MediaWiki is poorly written.  It also
> turns out to be large, and dependent on MySQL, and difficult to set up.
> Tastes bad, more filling.

You claim you've heard that MediaWiki is "difficult to set up". I'm afraid 
that's not the case. I once feared that a wiki of such complexity and power 
will be hard to set up, but it took me exactly 10 minutes to set it up at 
home. Jimbo Wales (the wikimedia director) said when he came to Israel that 
he once cleared an afternoon to set up an MW instance for his friends' 
children and he was done after 5 minutes.

As is the case with most such PHP applications, as complex as they are, like 
WordPress, PostNuke, Joomla, etc. you can easily set them up by browsing to 
an initial page, fiddeling with the permissions, creating a database and 
filling a form. This is what enables many non-programmers to use PHP to set 
up sites with an amazing functionaliy on a garden-variety hosting service 
that only gives them PHP, MySQL and an FTP access.

I'm not claiming it's a good idea, but it is possible. This is one thing PHP 
has done right, and makes it more suitable for many web tasks in this 

You can read my review of MediaWiki and other wikis here:


I found MW more straightforward to set up in many respects than Kwiki which 
requires running a command on the shell. You can set up several instances of 
MediaWiki on one server easily, and some sites can host your wiki, and 
maintain it as part of their general MW maintenance.

As for the quality of the code: MW is mostly bug-free and works very well. 
Someone told me its code was of such low quality that he considered starting 
from scratch, using something else than PHP. If I were him, I would probably 
simply refactor it. The difference between a functional but messy code and a 
functional and highly modular and clean code is 3 weeks:


And often it is enough to do "continuous refactoring" or "just-in-time 
refactoring" in which many issues in the code still remain, but the code is 
refactored in enough places to accomodate for the changes.


	Shlomi Fish

Shlomi Fish      shlomif at iglu.org.il
Homepage:        http://www.shlomifish.org/

If it's not in my E-mail it doesn't happen. And if my E-mail is saying
one thing, and everything else says something else - E-mail will conquer.
    -- An Israeli Linuxer

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