The other day, I was cruising about Wikipedia.org. As you may have noticed, that website is growing quite rapidly and I use many references to its various pages in my posts.
Well, I just happened to be at the bottom of one of its pages when I noticed a link to MediaWiki. That’s the free software that Wikipedia uses to drive its site. I had no idea that Wikipedia uses free software as the root of its huge success. Here is what MediaWiki says right on its homepage…
“MediaWiki is a free software wiki package originally written for Wikipedia. It is now used by several other projects of the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation and by many other wikis, including this very website, the home of MediaWiki.”
What is a Wiki? Well, here is some more right from Wikipedia’s website…
A wiki is a website that allows visitors to add, remove and edit content. A collaborative technology for organizing information on Web sites, the first wiki (WikiWikiWeb) was developed by Ward Cunningham in the mid-1990s. Wikis allow for linking among any number of pages. This ease of interaction and operation makes a wiki an effective tool for mass collaborative authoring. Wikipedia, an online encyclopedia, is one of the best known wikis.
Wikis that are editable by the general public (such as Wikipedia) have been criticized for their reliability: certain individuals may maliciously introduce false or misleading content. Proponents rely on their community of users who can catch malicious content and correct it. Wikis in general make a basic assumption of the goodness of people.
Well, there you have it.
I walked into Paul’s office the other morning and told him what I discovered. I then told him that my brain was dabbling with the idea of installing my own Wiki to see what becomes of it. I thought it would be a worthwhile project. I really had no ideas for what it should turn into. Paul seemed to perk up a bit and liked the idea for himself. I really think it would be great if Paul installed this software for his own Wiki, because he is a good technical investigator. Just as I have the last clump of hair in my hand from frustration, Paul walks in with the answer.
Ok, so with all sorts of interest, I had to quickly think of a domain name…the first one that popped into my head was a sister of the DotUSNetwork.com and is DotWiki.US. Now, I have come to realize that this domain name is going to be problematic. I just got off the phone with my sister, Stephanie and asked her to visit the website. I told her the site is, “dot dot wiki dot us.” You can surely see the trouble with this. Ok, who cares? Not me, it’s just a project.
On to the installation…
Here it is. I installed the Wiki software and learned that it is not as user friendly as many of the scripts that I normally work with are. It forces the user to deal with many php variables, which is fine if you get the general gist of php.
So, what am I going to do with this Wiki? Perhaps, in the beginning, I will just write about my experiences installing and configuring it. Let’s just say that the instructions aren’t that clear…at all.
First tip – Wiki installation. Here is where I got lost. When installing your Wiki, be sure to install it in a sub-directory, not the root directory. I installed mine in the root directory and when I clicked the “Install” link, the page could not be found. I moved all the files to a directory called, “wiki” and everything worked correctly.