[opensource] Website Planning Wiki

Alexander J. Lingo lingo.13 at osu.edu
Sat Mar 25 13:18:23 EST 2006


On 3/25/06, Paul Betts <bettsp at cse.ohio-state.edu> wrote:

> On Fri, 2006-03-24 at 19:37 -0500, Alexander J. Lingo wrote:
> > I've been investigating MediaWiki as the backend to our website, even
> > documenting its HTML structure to modify it through CSS.
>
I can't tell what you're viewing, but the way to modify the output of
> the CSS on the site is through the skins/<current skin, probably
> monobook>/main.css file. I think it's pretty cut-and-dried. Are you
> viewing the final HTML output?


I was viewing the final output - It was my first method of examination, and
I was hoping to perhaps just throw in a custom CSS file or two, so that if
MediaWiki were to be upgraded, we wouldn't have to work too hard to merge
differences between the old and new versions.

> The point of using some sort of backend is to save time and be
> > simple-to-edit.
> >
> > I figured this was a good option, as both FreeGeek Columbus and
> > Haskell use it as the basis of their sites.
> Yes, I use it as well, it's pretty handy.


It should be noticed, a couple of hours after I wrote this e-mail, FreeGeek
Columbus started transitioning from
MediaWiki<http://www.freegeekcolumbus.org> to
MicroWiki <http://freegeekcolumbus.org/microwiki/> themselves.

> As also can be seen, this can also be problematic.
> Unfortunately, you have that problem with any Wiki.


Yes, but MediaWiki is a target of many spam-bots, which is the problem
FreeGeek was having. It got so bad, that FreeGeek had to completely turn off
editing to curb the problem.

> Speaking to Scott Merrill of Freekgeek Columbus, both ikiwiki and
> > MicroWiki are give as good wiki-based options.
> >
> > I've been experimenting with MicroWiki all day today, and to me, it
> > seems a much better option that MediaWiki.
> MediaWiki is pretty well supported though, at least we know that
> there'll be updates/fixes/what-have-you for MediaWiki for awhile, as
> well as a community of people to go to for help.
>
While that's true, I believe that  MicroWiki  is still the better option.

We're talking about the difference between a SUV and a bicycle.

MediaWiki, as the SUV, can do many, many things. We don't need 90% of those
functions. It can take us a long way and carry a lot of people, but we're
not trying to catalogue all knowledge or manage tens of thousands of users.

MicroWiki, as the bicycle, does one thing simply and easily: Take us from
Point A to Point B. It allows us to quickly and easily build a website on
top of it, with little evidence it is there.

A wiki (MediaWiki's MonoBook theme) looks like a wiki, not like a
professional website. A lot of work would go into lessening the dominating
appearance of the SUV. MicroWiki's only hint that the site is running on a
wiki? "Edit this page with MicroWiki".

We don't need history pages, user pages, automatic TOC's, history-diffs, or
to slice, dice, peel, or make julienne fries.

While there may not be the level of community and developer support for
MicroWiki, think about which is more user-serviceable. MediaWiki weighs in
at over 6 MiB, while MicroWiki is _only_  134 KiB. It would be comparatively
easier for someone knowledgeable with PHP to dig into MicroWiki to make
changes and repairs if needed.


> It's just so clean and simple to use and edit. The experimental
> > installation is at http://www.freepgs.com/aev/osuoss/microwiki/
> What's not simple about MediaWiki? I think its template system is
> particularly useful.


 What would the actual person putting a page into MediaWiki need to know?
Wiki syntax. Think about what some people needed to
learn<http://www.freepgs.com/aev/osuoss/planningwiki/index.php/Basic_Formatting_Tutorial>to
just have a
simple discussion <http://www.freepgs.com/aev/osuoss/planningwiki/> in
MediaWiki. Plus HTML.

What does MicroWiki require the user to know?
1. [[Internal Links]]
2. [[http://www.google.com External Links]]
3. HTML.

MicroWiki also has a template and include system. The main
menu<http://www.freepgs.com/aev/osuoss/microwiki/?page=Template:Main+Menu&action=edit>,
the footer,<http://www.freepgs.com/aev/osuoss/microwiki/?page=Template:Footer&action=edit>and
the
side-menu<http://www.freepgs.com/aev/osuoss/microwiki/?page=Template:nomenu&action=edit>are
all separate templates put into the page. There can also be different
page-style-templates.

> Unless anyone has any objections, I'd love to begin work on the site
> > using MicroWiki.
> The only objection I have to MicroWiki is that it's unclear where it
> stops and Wordpress begins, it seems to be an amalgam of the two; what's
> the deal with that?


Actually, while MicroWiki can be used with WordPress, there is no WordPress
installation  used on the test site.

-- Alex
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