Thoughts of Wikis

I’m implementing a new information-keeping system where I work, and trying to find something that will fit in with a number of requirements. Here’s a quick summary of the task and how I’m getting along:

Requirements

  • Allow text
  • Allow attachments (files and pictures)
  • integrate with existing extranet signon
  • re-brand to match extranet
  • allow conversion of existing files from
    1. knowledgebase
    2. dokuwiki
    3. html pages
  • fine-grained access control for groups of users – it, programmers, symphony users, customers, etc
  • consideration for scaling of solution
  • lowest possible effort needed to edit/add info

Preferences

  • Oracle-driven if a database is needed
  • powerful search functionality
  • ideally free!

Products

TikiWiki

The only PHP-driven Oracle-backed product on the market. TikiWiki is relatively straightforward to install. It is very complex for the purpose as it is a fully-fledged groupware with CMS, the wiki is just one module

pros

  • oracle-driven
  • written in php
  • skinnable
  • support for output in PDF

cons

  • overkill
  • no fine-grained access control
  • no hooks for adding our authentication or interface with existing standards
  • rather buggy under Oracle (especially the installation!)

MediaWiki

Experimental Oracle support apparently – testing with MySQL

MediaWiki is the engine behind slashdot – it is widely used and understood. Traditionally PHP driven there is some support for Oracle however this is not widely used and not really supported by the project developers.

pros

  • widely used product – plenty of community support
  • good search functionality
  • fine-grained access control (hides things you don’t have access to – very nice)
  • LDAP authentication supported

cons

  • horrible markup (not very strict, not block-level, hard to parse or convert from)
  • difficult to convert existing documents
  • standard of Oracle implementation unknown – I can’t get it to install! Likely to be poor and/or patchy

DokuWiki

Simple, text-backed storage. DokuWiki is the first information management system we implemented at Symphony to test the idea. It uses flat file storage, which we saw as a potential storage problem, however I’m seeing examples of people saying its fine up to 40k pages or so. http://www.pmwiki.org/wiki/PmWiki/FlatFileAdvantages

pros

  • lightweight, easy to install and brand
  • text files can be readable with or without frontend
  • simple and clear markup
  • easy to convert documents to it
  • syntax highlight in code blocks

cons

  • poor search functionality, also slow due to the file access. Could use external spider e.g. http://www.phpdig.net
  • potentially poor scalability as the file structure grows

One thought on “Thoughts of Wikis

  1. I don't know a whole lot about wikis, as I've not really ever had to use one, but looks like your main problem is going to be finding one that supports Oracle.

    It might be overkill to use a CMS, but have you considered using Drupal with the wiki module? I started using Drupal for a similar purpose a while back, but gave up on it. Now I've been using Drupal quite a bit for recent projects, I've considered trying it out again. It's got a steep learning curve, but it's quite flexible.

    Your problem with Drupal would come with implementing it with Oracle and integrating it with your existing extranet signon.

    One I've come across that's not in your list:
    wikkawiki. It's lightweight and may suit?

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