Our woodworking community consists of members with varying degrees of technical skills in the realm of online sharing, collaborating, and editing. It was very important to our community to have a wiki that would be all inclusive in its technology that everyone would be able to utilize and edit. We also had to have a wiki application that could be developed visually as close as possible to mimic the appearance of our woodworking community The Patriot Woodworker. With this in mind, we had to have a wiki application that satisfied the following criteria.
- Free and open source
- Easy to manipulate appearance and design
- Easy for non-technical users to navigate
- A friendly editing interface, or better known as WYSIWYG.WYSIWYG is an acronym for "what you see is what you get". A WYSIWYG editor can be contrasted with more traditional editors that require the developer to enter descriptive codes (or markup ) and do not permit an immediate way to see the results of the markup.
- A self explanatory flow for uploading files and creating research pages
- A thriving development community who is responsive to user inquiries with help forums and user email channels
Over the last two years (yes two years!) with the above criteria in mind, we searched and tested exhaustively various types of wiki software for our woodworking community. The software available in the open source and commercial categories of wiki software are many, and often times, very confusing to say the least.
Literally dozens of wiki applications were installed and tested. Hundreds of hours if not a thousand went into the research of the various wiki platforms available and we were able to narrow the search and testing down to three wiki applications.
The applications we focused on are the following in no particular order:
MediaWiki (the same software that powers the thriving Wikipedia community)
TikiWiki (the same software that powers thousands of commercial and personal websites and wikis)
DokuWiki (the software that does not require a database and is used widely for technical documentation)
The applications we visited and experienced can be found at WikiMatrix
What we choseWe chose TikiWiki
Thousands of businesses, governments, non-profits and individuals have benefited from Tiki's flexibility and customizability to deliver a broad range of web applications.
If you are looking for software that will help you deliver web experiences, whether collaborative or immersive, Tiki is a platform you should be considering.
The two applications we did not choose (MediaWiki and DokuWiki) was not a result of a difficult experience, nor poorly written software, yet the reason we did not choose them was simply, TikiWiki is a better all around fit. MediaWiki and DokuWiki are both very strong applications and they both have a wonderful community of developers and users, but TikiWiki to put it simply, just felt right.
Why we chose
One of the most important aspects of using a wiki for our woodworking community was the availability of a WYSIWYG editor. Wiki syntax is a wonderful way to format wiki pages, but for those who do not want to use syntax, or learn syntax, the WYSIWYG is a great way to edit pages and create your research project. Many wikis we researched fell short of a WYSIWYG, most of the wiki's did not have a WYSIWYG at all.
Couple that advantage of a WYSIWYG, a great appearance that nearly mimics our online woodworking community forum, and many more features that TikiWiki offers, the final decision was made, and it was a hard choice to make. There are so many great wiki applications on the open source market, and TikiWiki, above all, felt right for our community.