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Comparison of PHP wiki software

I wanted to install a simple PHP wiki for my website, so I can create shared content with two of my friend. We are all dislocated, so it has to be on the Internet. I have a hosted website at www.guacosoft.com, so I decided to put it there in a subdirectory. I needed something really simple, using plain text files or a MySQL database. I had some previous experience with DokuWiki, as I set it up for www.flamerobin.org, so first I tried that.

DokuWiki uses textual files to store content. There’s always a potential problem with setting up filesystem privileges in such case, especially when you need to move the site. But, that’s not such a big deal. One of the things I was also scared of is that someone might find an exploit and can ruin the rest of guacosoft.com website, which would be really bad. But still, DokuWiki is great Wiki software, very simple to use, and markup is really clean and straight forward. Unfortunately, the latest version unpacks way to many files from the archive. Try to upload these via FTP took ages, and I finally gave up. Maybe it’s cool when you run your own server, but on shared hosting website it’s really not usable. Maybe I should have gone in and copied directories one by one, but I was too lazy for that.

So I started searching the web. One of the most promising seemed to be phpwiki. Install was small, upload to the server when fine, but then the troubles begun. PHPWiki is simply not good if you don’t have your own server. It wants to do some crazy things like writing to /tmp. I also tried to set up MySQL as the storage, but for some reason this did not work. In the end, all I managed to do is get 500 HTTP errors (internal server error) from my web server. So, I gave up on it.

Next on the list were MediaWiki and TikiWiki. Looking at the feature list this seemed too bloated for my needs. If you run a huge and complex site, that is probably the right choice. But for 3 people cooperating on internal project… overkill.

Looking at the “list of wiki software” on Wikipedia, I started trying them all one-by-one…

NotePub is a great idea, but it seems their servers don’t scale to number of users. Website’s response is way to slow. Too bad, as this seemed like the simplest way to do it. Nothing to install on my server, just log in and edit stuff.

TigerWiki is dead, forked into multiple other projects. Most of those lack the same thing the original lacks - support for multiple users. I really don’t see a point in having a wiki for a single person, because wikis are about collaborative editing. PumaWiki seems promising though, kakwiki has added users, but it’s still at development at this stage. I really did not want to be someone’s beta tester in this case. I needed something that Works(tm).

And now we come to WakkaWiki, which is not longer developed or maintain, but there are number of forks. And here we find our winner:

WikkaWiki

Install was simple and painless. Once files are copied, you open the page in the browser and wizard leads your through the settings. At the end, all I had to do is to allow a single config file to be written by the server and that’s it. It uses MySQL for storage and behaves like it should - i.e. there’s an option to prefix all table names with wikka_ or whatever you prefer. I’ll see how it shows during usage, but currently I can highly recommend it to anyone.

Milan Babuškov, 2009-09-26
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