Wiki software

From Academic Kids

Wiki software is a type of collaborative software that runs a Wiki system. It is usually implemented as a server-side script that runs on one or more web servers, with the content generally stored in a relational database management system, although some implementations use the server's file system instead.

The first such software was created by Ward Cunningham in 1995, but given the relative simplicity of the wiki concept, a large number of implementations now exist, ranging from very simple "hacks" implementing only core functionality to highly sophisticated content management systems. The primary difference between wikis and more complex types of content management systems is that wiki software tends to focus on the content, at the expense of the more powerful control over layout seen in CMS's like Drupal and WebGUI.

"Wiki software" could be interpreted as comprising all of the software required to run a wiki, which might include a web server such as Apache, in addition to the "Wiki engine" itself, which implements the wiki technology. In some cases, such as ProjectForum, or some WikiServers, the web server and wiki engine are bundled together as one self-contained system, which can often make them easier to install.

The majority of wiki engines are open source, often available under the GNU General Public License (GPL); large projects such as TWiki and the Wikipedia engine, MediaWiki, are developed collaboratively. Many wikis are highly modular, providing APIs which allow programmers to develop new features without requiring them to be familiar with the entire codebase.

It is hard to determine which wiki engines are the most popular, although a list of leading candidates might include UseMod, TWiki, MoinMoin, PmWiki and MediaWiki. A list of some of those available is included below, and another can be found at. Wiki:WikiEngines.

Some wiki software is not intended for collaborative work, but for either content management or for personal information organising. Examples are AcroWiki for PalmOS and a crossplatform MoinMoin Desktop Edition.

How to choose a wiki engine

When choosing a wiki engine, criteria to consider might include:

  • Who is developing it? A single person or a growing team?
  • Under what license is it distributed?
  • Who is using the wiki? A good wiki engine is likely to have a large group of existing users, and this is helpful if you need support running it.
  • Features for editors: easy to write (and powerful) formatting rules, WYSIWYG capabilities, sectional editing, easy to roll back to earlier versions, file upload, insert image, able to write complex formulae etc.
  • Features for readers: table of contents, search, navigation bar, access statistics, article rating, high quality printable version.
  • User management: user personal page, personalized toolbar and preferences.
  • Groupware features: forum, gallery, message system.
  • Access controls: This is important for company intranet with security consideration.
  • Be able to import external files (HTML, Word document), export to external files (Word document, PDF)
  • Customizable interface: Including main page, topbar, bottombar, sidebar; skins.
  • Multilingual support.
  • Extensibility: What third-party plugins exist, and what mechanisms are there for creating them.
  • Portability: Are you locked into a particular package or wikitext format? Is it possible to export your text to other systems?
  • Scalability: Is it suitable for large amount of pages or is it just light-weight wiki software? Most scalable wiki software need a back end database to store pages.

See also

External links

fr:Moteur de Wiki nl:Wikisoftware pt:Software wiki ru:Вики-движок zh:Wiki引擎 sv:Wikiprogramvaror

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