[wikka-community] [wikka-devs] Wikka vision

Dario Taraborelli dartar
Wed Mar 14 21:58:17 GMT 2007

Hi Mahefa,

very interesting proposal, thanks?I'm cross-posting my reply to the  
Wikka Community list if you don't mind.

I do sympathise with the fact that we should be discussing more often  
about long-term vision. The question what makes Wikka unique among  
wiki engines is a crucial one. I'm personally not into yet another  
full-fledged CMS project, and I'll try to explain why. There are  
plenty of excellent projects of this kind and I have the feeling that  
users tend to adopt solid packages for specific kinds of use (a blog,  
a wiki, a forum) rather than choosing all-inclusive packages. I  
predict that more and more users will install multiple engines on  
their servers (desperately trying to kind of make them work together)  
than install a single bloated, multifunctional CMS. The way I see it,  
successful projects are those that focus on core functionality and  
let users develop their extensions. Look for instance at WordPress:  
why do they bundle Akismet instead of maintaining their own antispam  
tools? The reason, I think, is that their aim is to provide a rock- 
solid, easily extensible blog engine. The rest can be outsourced to  
plugin maintainers, including wiki extensions. If there are plenty of  
excellent solutions that are actively maintained and easy to plug  
into an engine, why bother with an all-inclusive development project?
Now, my feeling is that any wiki add-on for a blog engine, however  
solid, will never be as good a solution as a real wiki engine. Unless  
the two become the same.

My proposal, in a sense, is the opposite of what you are suggesting.  
I think we should aim at making Wikka as easy as possible to *plug*  
into existing projects in terms of functionality, authentification  
and look. Some examples:
-  the Wikka module for postnuke was apparently a big success, it  
currently powers pn's official documentation server and has been  
installed by many other pn users.
- creating an infrastructure to allow Wikka to easily integrate with  
authentication systems of popular forum and blog engines would be a  
killer feature and this is something many users have tried hard to  
achieve, witness the projects listed at http://wikkawiki.org/ 
- one of the features that are highly appreciated in Wikka is, I  
think, it's easy pluggability in terms of layout into a "parent"  
website. We try not to force a heavy layout to the user and I think  
this is something Wikka users appreciate (at least judging from the  
typical uses of Wikka I've seen so far). Our new page layout will  
allow much more flexibility than the current one, including the  
ability to reproduce almost literally WP's default kubrick theme:  
http://css.openformats.org/wikka.php?wakka=MySkin#wordpress I'm sure  
this will be another killer feature.

These are just a few examples, but my feeling is that the winning  
strategy is to make Wikka flexible and easy to integrate. Our goal  
should really be to make it the easiest-to-integrate wiki engine on  
earth :) This sounds much more promising to me than copying and  
integrating non-wiki functionality. In a word, the thinner we are,  
the more extensible and powerful we become (not the other way round).

This said, I'm not saying we should just work on the core and forget  
about the bells and whistles that attract dozens of web 2.0  
enthusiasts. I do have some ideas on features that could make nice  
additions to Wikka. I'm thinking in particularly of advanced  
syndication tools (feeds and API to expose the wiki content, its  
metadata and its metrics) plus a selection of add-ons that could be  
useful to our educational users (there's a huge world out there to  
conquer in this sense), but this surely deserves further discussion.

I just wanted to throw in something about your CMS proposal and what  
I think is an different way of making Wikka stand out from the crowd ;)

My 2 cents,


> From: "mahefa randimbisoa" <dotmg at wikkawiki.org>
> Date: 14 March 2007 11:29:54 GMT
> To: "Wikka Development Team" <dev at wikkawiki.org>
> Subject: [wikka-devs] Wikka vision
> Reply-To: Wikka Development Team <dev at wikkawiki.org>
> I would like to talk about vision, idea I had in mind, that I may
> implement or not. It is still just idea for now, I'd just like to
> share it, as most of you certainly can give advice ...
> Wikka vision.
> Vision 1: Using WikkaWiki to generate source for a .chm  
> documentation file.
> IMHO, chm is one of the best thing MicroSoft has created. Because it
> uses HTML format, it has good search functionnality incorporated, it
> has table of content and index: it is for me the best format for
> documentation. For writing content of documentation, wiki is the best
> choice as many users can modify the content at the same time: one may
> write the article, another checks spelling, ... To make WikkaWiki the
> only choice for generating a chm doc, I would implement these
> functionnalities, maybe as a plugin :
> a) generating <link> headers for rel="home", rel="up", rel="previous"
> and rel="next".
> b) using relative URL in href (suppressing the http://site.com/ part)
> c) exporting all pages in HTML format
> d) generating .hhk, .hhp  and .idx files. These are used for the index
> and table of contents.
> Vision 2: Mutli-purpose CMS: All in one (blog/wiki/forum/publication
> using the same engine)
> I don't know how it is in Europe and in the US, but here in
> Madagascar, many websites want to propose different types of services
> at the same time: a blog, a forum, a wiki and a publication.
> The problem is that these sites have to install up to 4 different
> softwares (Wordpress for the blog, PhpBB for the forum, MediaWiki for
> the Wiki and Spip for the publication).
> Then, comes the authentication problem. Users want to login only once,
> but each platform has a different way of logging in.
> After that, the formatting rules: it could be nice if the users have
> to remember only one syntax, example: ** for the bold thing.
> In 2005, when I was not yet a member of the Wikka Crew, I projected to
> create a Wikka-based CMS that would incorporate all these
> functionnalities: blog, wiki, forum, publication. I believed: That
> would be a good selling-point. I even had the name of the CMS: A4 (A4
> Ain't An Acronym).Then, Dario invited me to join the team, and I never
> had time to think more about the idea. Except that:
>  - All the content data would use the wikka_pages table. The handlers
> field would be
>    o page for wiki
>    o forum, blog and article for the forum, blog and publication.
>  - Then, I would just create directories named forum, blog and article
> in handlers/ folder and implement actions that create any type of
> content (menu: create new wiki page, post a blog article, post a
> question/information in forum, publish a new article, ...) These
> actions would
> After all, both system are almost identical in their aspect:
> 1) A user creates a content. (wiki: page creation, blog/publication:
> posting an article, forum: posting a question, ...)
> 2) Other users may comment on it (wiki/blog/publication: comments,
> forum: reply, ...)
> 3) Other types of users may have the right to modify the content
> (wiki: everybody, blog/forum/publication: author/admin/moderator, ...)
> --
> Mahefa

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