A Wiki I like!

Anyone that has seen my posts on a number of (generally Linux) mailing lists, may well be aware that there are a couple of web ‘technologies’ that I’m not too keen on. One is forums, and I’m still holding fast on that one. Another is the Wiki. In the past I’ve not been too keen on the idea as they seem to provide no real control over the formatting of the information you put in. I’ve downloaded and tried a couple. Twiki comes to mind with a strange system of filling in a form to then be emailed a link to the download.

Well I think I may have found one I actually like and may well use – shock, horror. I’ve never had much issue with the general concept (unlike forums), and having somewhere internally to dump information with little formatting that has easier access than a directory full of almost randomly named text files does sound appealing. Having used the HantsLUG wiki to put a few articles up, I’ve since had in the back of my mind to try a local wiki again. Mediawiki has been one on my list, but having found previous attempts with wiki packages to have left me cold I’ve been in no particular rush.

Then the other day I splashed out on a copy of Linux Magazine, and towards the back was an article on useful plugins for Dokuwiki. Well the article is only half a step above useless to my mind. It does enough to get you interested, with the promise that it will give you a hand to get up and running, but the technical detail included is painfully incomplete for a new user, and likely overkill for someone already familiar with the package. It was, though, enough to get me to download Docuwiki to have a play (and it wasn’t until I’d done this and was looking to the article to give me a quick walk through of installing the plugins that I really noticed the shortcomings).

Well the documentation on the Dokuwiki website was enough for me to be up and running in no time at all, and although the installation of plugins isn’t as easy as it could be (you should be able to use the admin interface to download and install them by simply providing the download URL), it is still a walk in the park – all you need to do is extract them into the plugins directory and you’re done!

So there you go. I’ve installed a wiki and I’m starting to transfer data into it. The only concern I have is a slightly odd one, perhaps. Once I’ve copied all my notes across and started using it, my data is pretty much locked into the application. It isn’t proprietary, and I can extract the data for use elsewhere, but if I wanted to migrate to another wiki, or use a completely different application it would be a long job – just a thought!

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