So Ya Wanna Wiki Wiki

Spoze yer wandering around on the web one day, and you suddenly discover a WikiWiki way.

Naturally, you hang around for several days and weeks getting more and more excited. Gradually, you realize that you wanna wikiwiki of your very own.

How would one proceed?

(Possibly, there are plenty of answers already out there in the pages. If so, please just add their page links here.)

See WikiWikiClone, WikiEngines and RollYourOwnServer to start.

I am just fascinated by the idea of WikiWiki - and of the living proof that it works (sorry about my English, but it's not my mother tongue). I would like to start a WikiWiki experiment in our company (35,000+ employees!) to see what happens if you combine the creative and free idea of WikiWiki with the rules and regulations of an industrial environment.

Because I am not an IT person (i.e., I am not able to write programming code) I am looking for some easy-to-understand "How-To": what must be done to implement a WikiWiki?

Let's see how this request for help works in WikiWiki :-)

-- Matthew

Perhaps this book may answer most of your questions: TheWikiWay. If you want to create an English wiki, look at UseModWiki or TwikiClone. If you want to create a German wiki, look at ProWikiEngine and WikiService. Or work through the complete list of WikiEngines. -- HelmutLeitner

You might also want to check out WikiForDummies to get a hint about how techie you have to be to actually make a wiki go.

I think part of the success of this Wiki is due to having a suitable subject: patterns. This is because there is a "product" which can be communally owned. The key to Wiki is that you can edit other people's words and that only makes sense if there's this communal ownership. Without that you might as well go for a conventional, append-only, threaded forum, like UseNet.

So before starting a Wiki, I'd suggest you consider its purpose and community. If you just want a place to chat, some other software may be more appropriate. -- DaveHarris

See also: WhyWikiWorks
This is of course an excellent point: Wiki is not a handy replacement for e-lists, newsgroups, or ordinary web pages. I have both a community and a purpose in mind, about which I'm more than willing to speak of here (see ShannonFarm for some details). I've perused the WikiWikiClones clones and am having a hard time getting a sense of 1) source availability and 2) setup requirements. All of the references to source seem to head me back to WikiBase.

See my on wikibase (and please update it too!) -- JeanJordaan

Obviously, I can and will write to the various authors for more info, but I thought it might be a topic of more than passing interest to other regular users of this WikiWiki. After I get an answer, if I do, I'll clean up this page for future readers, too. -- MichaelHill

MichaelHill wrote on his page here about setting up a wikiwiki clone on his shell account. I'd like to raise some specific questions about building/installing a wikiwiki-type system on a shell account:

Are there limits on the languages you are allowed to use for cgi (or equivalent backend processing)?

I don't really think so. If I had a version of Squeak that would let me run through telnet, I'd use SWiki, (which is a fine piece of work, BTW). I can use any of the languages I can get freely, I assume. I know for sure they have gcc installed, and I'm pretty sure they have perl5.

Are there limits to the amount of CPU time your shell account will support?

There don't seem to be.

What are your storage limits on the shell account?

Fifteen megs to start, but I'm sure I can obtain more.

Which web backend protocol do they let you use? cgi, fastcgi, servlets, Microsoft whatever,...?

I'm not entirely sure. Seemingly it's cgi. How can I tell?

I suspect there'll be storage space and cpu-time limits on a shell account that will make your life a bit difficult. This is bound to affect your choice of script/app or whether to build from scratch.

If you still can't get any Perl Wiki source, I have some that came from the JOS project. It uses flat files instead of a database and has quite a few differences from this Wiki (e.g., no searching). It is quite old, not what JOS use today. They claim to have written it from scratch, and have given it a GNU license.

Let me know if you want it. I don't particularly want to be in the distribution business for this stuff, but you're not the first who has mentioned problems finding working Wiki source. If no-one knows of a better solution, I'll try to put together an archive and stick it on my website.

-- DaveHarris

What if I would change a lot, e.g., delete all former entries?!

What about PHP? If you have PHP (PHP: Hypertext Premarkup) on your server, you can use PHPwiki, I found it easy to install. It uses either flat files (not ideal, but will work in a pinch) or can use a SQL database, like mySQL. I've got it running at and its being pretty happy. Its a new wiki, so there isn't much there yet! It has themes support, and quite a few useful features, like zip dumping the entire wiki to make backups, and so on. -- SamLey

I tripped over wikiness, and discovered after I got the idea pounded inside my noggin that I liked it. I shopped around, and discovered there were several in my favored programming language, python. Looking at them, I settled on one that satisfied my paranoid taste in server security and beginner's preference for ease of installation- piki. It is running on one of my sites now, {{{( )}}} and is proving most useful. In fact, I am writing one! Still in the crufty alpha stages, it will also be easy to install, and come closer to the power found in moinmoin than does the ancestral piki wiki.

A good wiki SHOULD be secure AND easy to install AND offer features that improve function and appearance. There is no contradiction betwen these virtues. -- KirkBailey


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