Archive for the ‘wiki’ Category

mediawiki vs. moinmoin

June 29, 2007

I am currently trying to build a wiki project which deals with bboying. Anyways, my first and obvious choice was to go with mediawiki, because naturally that is what wikipedia and almost any other site that maintains a wiki currently uses. The installation of it was a real piece of cake, it presented me with menu options and I barely did not really have to touch anything underneath the hood. Since it was all php, I guess it was pretty easy to do. However, halfway through, I decided that it would be really neat to embed youTube and Google videos of some old-school movies that I could post up. I went over to mediawiki’s extensions section and downloaded one that embeds like five different formats, really cool stuff. Finally by putting it into the extensions sub-folder, I get it to work and for a hot minute see my newly embedded video. However, as soon as I try to edit to test some more and hit the “submit” button, I get the weirdest database error. I submitted it on their site and did not yet get a reasonable response. After a week of waiting on their support channel in IRC, I finally gave up and decided to search for a new wiki engine. I decided to go with MoinMoin, which is this time written in python. I have a lot more experience with python and I also just installed mod_python on my apache server so I was ready to give it a try. Another cool feature about MoinMoin is that it didn’t have to deal with any database so it was easier to debug. Now, this installation was definitely harder to get right than mediawiki. Actually it wasn’t hard but was rather confusing. The file set up two directories for me, which I wasn’t sure how exactly related and was not certain when following the official installation guide which folder referred to which online. Since you need to use either cgi or mod_python, the interpeter isn’t embedded in apache and is not as native as in php. Firstly, it worked through cgi but there was no graphics. I got it to work with mod_python, by adding a path in the default python path to the second place MoinMoin was installed, something the installation guide failed to mention. When I got it working so that it uses a default DNS name rather than a folder name though, it worked like butter and the graphics were even showing. After that in a short time I copied all the data from the old wiki to the new by copying and pasting. Herein lay the final test, whether I would be able to embed youTube or Google Video inside. I searched around and luckily found both an Macro (that’s what they call their extensions) for YouTube and Google Video. Now getting YouTube working wasn’t that bad, but I did struggle a little. I guess what it was doing is not realizing that what I’m typing is not text but an actual video. I added another Macro that I knew would work into the site and it picked up the YouTube Macro seamlessly. I guess it needs to compile the Macro first and would then have no trouble recognizing it, the only problem is getting it to compile it. That was the major challenge when trying to install the Google Video Macro. It was named “” and provided no instructions at all on how to use it. Luckily I already got YouTube working and since this was so similar, I didn’t want to give up. Needless to say, I finally realized that for some reason MoinMoin doesn’t like its macros to have lowercase names, so by changing “gvid” to “GVideo” I managed to get it working. The cool part about these macros was that they were so simple and I could understand them by browsing their source code, something I didn’t want to get into with php. So, as of now, I think I’ll stick with MoinMoin since it seems easier to troubleshoot if something goes wrong. Now all I have to do is change the default look, something mediawiki definitely has over moinmoin.