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What is Tiki Wiki?
Tiki Wiki is a Free and Open Source software system that combines Content Management, knowledge management, wiki content creation, and a number of other features into an all-in-one system described as having "the most built-in features" of any similar piece of software.
All in one
Most content management platforms focus on one core feature -- such as blogging -- and then provide additional features that directly support that main feature. Even when a CMS system expands to do a number of disparate things very well, the original focus continues to exert some influence over how the developers implement new ideas. (An example of this is WordPress, where every stored piece of content is called a â€œPost,â€ no matter what it is.)
In this typical model, the development team keeps the core system focused on a handful of key features, and ancillary features are provided through plugins or modules.
In contrast, Tiki Wiki takes a maximalist approach to feature development. Their goal, almost literally, is to create a content management platform that has â€œwhatever feature you can imagine.â€
What does "everything" include?
Ideally, everything really would include everything. In reality, it only means almost everything.
Here is a brief view of their feature list, organized (sort of) by category:
- Content Management and Knowledge Base
- Wiki, Blog, Newsletters, RSS, FAQs, File gallery, Photo Album, Tags, Search, video management, Forums
- Project Management and Team Collaboration
- Tasks, Permissions, Timeline, Proposals/Votes, Bug & issue trackers
- Products, Shopping Cart, Payment, Membership, Credits, Accounting
- Social networking/Community
- Friends, Maps, Inter-user messages, Surveys, Polls, Chat, Share link, Comments, Calendar, Forum
- Office suite
- Spreadsheet, Slideshow, Drawings, Database, Reports
- Personal Information Management (PIM)
- Calendar, Webmail, Address book, Notepad, Time Sheet
E-learning : Quizzes, Slideshow, webinar integration
TikiWiki has so many features that they provide a page describing features they don't have. (It's shorter than then self-described â€œincompleteâ€ feature list.) As of this writing, a few notable â€œmissing featuresâ€ are:
- Customer Relationship Management
- Desktop publishing / print document preparation
- Learning Management tools (grade books, class membership management)
What is interesting about the list of not-included features is that they are described as â€œmissing.â€ This suggests that anything not currently included will, if possible, be included in the future.
How does Tiki do everything?
Tiki Wiki is a Community Open Source project, as opposed to a Corporate Open Source project. This means that the development is done by the community, and the project is owned collectively by all the users and developers. There is no large organization behind the project steering its development in one way or the other.
Further, leadership and development are distributed activities. Rather than a few people managing pull requests, almost anyone who wants it can get commit access to the code repo. There are over 500 people with permission to commit code, and 250 people have actually done so. There is, on average, a new commit to the code base every two hours.
This radically decentralized development philosophy means that anyone who wants to add a new feature can do so, and many have.
Why use something that does everything?
Chances are, you don't need software that does everything. You need a website to do one or two things. So why not just use WordPress if you need a blog? Or CubeCart if you need ecommerce?
The fact is, you don't really know what you might need next month, or next year, or five years down the road. Many website owners find themselves scrambling to add features as they realize that they need to do more with limited resources, or as their business model changes.
Moreover, many popular content management systems already do everything, they just don't admit to it. WordPress is a blogging tool, right? But you can use it to run an online store, a wiki, a project management system, a social network, a bulletin board, or a knowledge base.
The difference between Tiki Wiki â€œdoing everythingâ€ and WordPress (or another CMS) and its ability to do almost anything is one of philosophy and perspective. Most other systems require third-party plugins. With Tiki, everything is core. Everything is included.
Advantages to the all-in-one model
- Users can start using any new functionality as they need or want to, without having to install new plugins or modules.
- Developer eyes are on all features, making bugs shallow.
- All features stay compatible with new releases. (As opposed to plugins breaking every time you upgrade core.)
- Features are more likely to be inter-operable, with less chance of interaction problems.
Tiki Wiki has deliberately simple hosting requirements, because they want people to be able to use their software whether they are on high-powered dedicated servers or shared hosting plans.
Most hosts meet the minimum requirements:
- 512 MB RAM
- 100 MB free storage
- PHP 5.5+
- MySQL or MariaDB 5.x+
Additionally, TikiWiki is available for one-click installation from a number of admin control panel install managers.