CoWiki

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See also: WikiWiki Software | Content management systems

Home Page: http://www.cowiki.org

coWiki 0.3.4 released!

coWiki's development is shifting to a new team. They have taken the time to dust off coWiki's codebase and resolve major outstanding issues in the 0.3.4 maintainance release.

Of note, coWiki may be easily installed on Win32 using XAMPP Lite. See coWiki and XAMPP

Permissions

coWiki is a new breed of wiki. While within it is the potential to be just as freely editable as any other wiki, it has a security structure that allows users and groups specific permission for certain pages. Pages which one does not have permission to view do not appear on the links list or are expressly denied when requested to view.

Foundation

coWiki was carefully designed before being implemented. Of note, it has a plugin concept, allowing one to develop additional functionality, like the astronomy picture of the day plugin. In fact, all coWiki components (those that generate and process forms too) are plugins! coWiki Plugins.

While it currently relies upon MySQL, abstraction layers are scheduled to be built, allowing the use of PostgreSQL or Oracle.

coWiki's primary goal is "integrity" (security and reliability).

Templates

Templates allow readers to easily change their view of the wiki. Sick of a colour scheme? Tired of all the "unnecessary" elements? Simply switch to another template. Templates are easy to make and open the wiki to a larger readership.

The Markup Language

The markup language has been carefully designed and mimics the language which we already use in email. *Bold* /italics/ =monospace= are straightforward concepts. Adding headers is as easy as prepending + to the beginning of a line. Want tables, those are trivial!

<table>
| cell one

| cell two
| and some more | over here too
</table>

Want to do fancy things with your table? Sure, just use the standard HTML attributes for tables.

<table bgcolor=lightyellow width=100% border="1">
| one
| two
| three
</table>

Navigation

An autogenerated sidebar is also a feature of great worth. Pages may be designated as appearing on that sidebar, and it "sticks" to wiki pages, allowing readers to more easily navigate the wiki as a whole. No longer does a reader become "lost" in the wiki. They can directly navigate to what they want -- fast.

The <toc> function automatically builds a table of contents. A page then becomes a neatly organized and easily navigable entity.

Breadcrumb navigation allows one to easily follow a directory back to the root page. Each directory item becomes a link, as with:

root > directory > directory > file

Structure and Organization

There is a "web" concept which essentially allows multiple wikis to be mixed together. Each web has unique pages, but any page in one web can link to pages from any other web. In practice, this allows separate sections for each type of topic, making things much neater.

Directory structure has also been implemented. No longer is a page lost to the world when it is created. It is automatically inserted into a directory and is immediately linked to in that structure. This allows concepts like "previous" and "next" to be attached to the foot of each page. Furthermore, a directory of files may be easily custom-sorted.

A "related items" list can be attached to each page, to further describe it's contents.

With coWiki, the wiki concept has been turned from a vague collection of disassociated pages into a structured and still freely-editable set of links. The ability doesn't stop there. Talking another of the major flaws in the wiki concept, coWiki has the ability to rename pages. Yes, rename.. and intelligently so. A page can be edited and it's title changed on the spot. Thereafter, that page is renamed. Furthermore, all pages which link to that page are automagically renamed as well!

In summary

The design of coWiki has been careful and willful. It is not meant to be a "learning project" as is the case with other wikis, but a powerful collaborative engine. With coWiki, a wiki becomes a website and not just a "side-project". With coWiki, a website becomes useful, not just "fun".

coWiki's development

Currently, coWiki is beta software. While it is in development, it is certainly not early development. The entire wiki engine is functional, and the cowiki.org website is proof of it's value. The developer has put great efforts into integrating a number of good ideas his users have given him.

PHP5, while it still was beta software, has proved to be a stable and powerful tool in the coWiki arsenal.