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What is DokuWiki?
DokuWiki is an Open Source wiki system geared toward documentation. It uses plain text files to store information, and has a focus on ease of use.
What is a wiki?
A wiki is a content-driven website that allows its users to update the content of any page. A wiki is powered by wiki software that manages user access, revision history, menus, and rendering (along with other typical website features).
While different users may have different privileges, and thus not every user may be able to edit any page, the concept of a wiki site is that there is a low level of permission needed to begin contributing.
Wiki systems assume that every user might become a contributor. To that end, one of the key characteristics of wiki systems is that they do not have a typical "back-end". Editing and administrative functions tend to be available from the same public-facing user interface that displays content. This is unusual for most first-time wiki administrators, and takes some getting used to.
The premier example of a wiki is the encyclopedia site Wikipedia.
Why a wiki
As opposed to other forms of content management (such as a blog), a wiki is most appropriate when the knowledge you wish to collect and share is widely distributed. It is especially appropriate if the consumers and producers of information will be part of the same peer-group. In this case, a wiki allows members of the group to contribute their own knowledge, and then benefit from the knowledge contributed by other members of the same community.
DokuWiki is an Open Source wiki system that allows you to easily launch a wiki site of your own. It places a strong development emphasis on being easy to use, which makes it an especially good choice for a non-technical contributor community. For this reason, many companies use DokuWiki for their corporate knowledge base.
The most distinguishing feature of DokuWiki is that all the content is stored in plain text (.txt) files. It does not use a database, unlike almost all other wiki and content management systems.
This lack of a database makes the software easier to install, easier to configure, easier to back up, easier to restore after a failure, and easier to move. It lowers the technical requirements for hosting, which makes it less expensive to run and available for a wider variety of hosting situations.
Other features include:
- Simple syntax
- Most wiki systems use a somewhat complicated markup syntax for editing page content, requiring contributors to learn a set of unusual tags and typing conventions. DokuWiki's syntax is much simpler. Additionally, DokuWiki provides, by way of plugins, support for alternative editing syntaxes, such as markdown.
- Highlighted diff comparison
- DokuWiki allows you to view versions of a page side-by-side, highlighting changes from one version to the next.
- Embeded images and other media
- A page on the wiki can contain more than text. The editing screen provides an easy way to upload images, videos, sound files, and other media to the wiki, which can be placed onto the page with simple embed tags.
- Customizable Interwiki links
- This feature allows users to easily link to other commonly referenced sites, such as Wikipedia or Google, as well as to other pages on the same wiki. The feature is configurable, so you can allow easy-linking to any site your wiki community needs.
- Section Editing
- Users can open and edit a small portion of a page without having to navigate the entire article.
- Automatic table of contents
- Section headers in an article are automatically translated into a table of contents at the the top of the page.
- Page Locking
- Moderators can prevent a page from being edited, or restrict access to only certain classes of users. This is especially important in a conflict over page content, or in the case of vandalism.
- The system periodically autosaves while a page is open for editing, so progress is never lost.
- DokuWiki supports a number of anti-spam measures, including read-only pages, granular control over page access, black-lising, email obfuscation, and nofollow links.
- Internationalization and Localization
- DokuWiki provides UI and editing support for over 50 languages. Additionally, multiple translations of a page can be created and toggled by the user.
- DokuWiki has full support for templates to customize the site's look and plugins to customize its behavior. Over 80 templates and over 900 plugins are already available, and you can write your own as well.
DokuWiki will run on almost any web server, as long as it has PHP 5.2 or later.
DokuWiki is very easy to install and some web hosts even provide one-click installation through the Control Panel.
DokuWiki Hosting Frequently Asked Questions
Can DokuWiki be used for commercial websites?
Yes. DokuWiki is licensed under the GNU General Public License (GPL), meaning anyone can get the software and source code, use the software in any means they like, and change the source code in any way. However, users must agree to the following terms: this software comes with no guarantees, if you choose to redistribute the software you must do so under the terms of the GPL, meaning you redistribute the full source code with your changes, and you may not take credit for writing the full software. As long as you agree to those terms, DokuWiki is free to use for whatever you like.
Does this have to be run on any specific server type or OS?
No. DokuWiki should work on any server running PHP 5.2 or later, whether Linux-based, Windows-based or other. There are OS-specific installation instructions available on the DokuWiki website for a large number of OS and server types.
What type of support is available?
There are a variety of free, community-based support options available, including a mailing list for development questions, a public forum for questions about usage and installation, and an IRC channel for smaller questions. There are also a large number of resources already available on the DokuWiki website to assist you. And for those with the resources to pay for support, there are a number of professional support servers available from other companies. You can find a short list of those on their website, or using a quick Google search.
How can I get new features added if I’m not able to hire a programmer?
If you have a specific need, but do not want to or cannot afford to hire a programmer, DokuWiki offers a unique Bounty program, which is designed to encourage continued development. Companies or individuals can set a “bounty” for a change or enhancement they would like to see, and set a price they are willing to offer for that change. If it’s a popular suggestion, other groups can also offer funds to the project. While it’s not guaranteed that a bounty will be taken up, it can be an effective way of getting changes made without having to contribute much in the way of capital.
Can I include HTML code into a DokuWiki page?
Yes. While DokuWiki pages are saved as simple text files, it is possible to embed HTML code to include enhanced formatting features. To do so, you need to adjust the htmlock config settings and enclose all of the HTML content with HTML tags. Specific instructions are available on the DokuWiki website.
How do I create a backup of my DokuWiki site?
It couldn’t be easier to create a backup of your site. Since DokuWiki does not use a database, all you have to do is copy the files in your DokuWiki directory, just like you would copy a folder on your computer. There are a number of backup plugins available to automate the process, so you don’t have to worry about ever losing data.
Can I set up notification for page changes or additions?
There are a number of options available for receiving notification for page changes. You can set up one email address to receive global notification for every change made to your site. This would typically go to you or your developer, but it could also be routed to a mailing list for additional recipients. You can also enable the subscription server, so users can select to receive email notifications for changes to specific pages. Or users can subscribe to your Wiki’s XML feed.
Can DokuWiki access information stored in a database?
Yes. DokuWiki includes built-in support for accessing authentication information from a database, and there are plugins available to add other database content, such including structured data from an SQLite database.
Can I require approval before page changes are published?
By default, DokuWiki does not allow you to set restrictions on content changes because it is designed to be an open publishing environment that allows quick changes to be made by any contributor. However, the reality is there are some settings where that is just not a viable option, particularly in a corporate environment. If approval is necessary before publishing new or altered content on your wiki site, you can install the Publish-plugin to set approval rules for your pages.
I’m thinking about using a wiki for my company’s internal site. Is DokuWiki a good option?
Yes. Wikis are great for company collaboration since they offer a quick, easy solution for creating and sharing content across your company. DokuWiki is a particularly reliable choice because it has a large support community, hundreds of plugins, and dozens of templates available to suit your particular needs. DokuWiki can be used for process documentation, a knowledge base, team manuals, project workspaces, and even your company intranet.
Is there a login feature for users?
Yes. You can require your users to login in order to edit and/or view content on your wiki site.
How can I move my DokuWiki site from one server to another?
This should be a fairly simple process. Just copy the entire DokuWiki directory from your source server and paste it into your destination server. Keep in mind, some features may be affected by the move. Your last modified dates may change after the copy, so to prevent this you can save the directory into a TGZ file and unpack it on the new server. Other features, such as permissions, .htaccess, and your cache may need to be adjusted after the move to ensure everything is functioning the same as before.