Wiki-Up that Drupal site

04 Jul 2008

Posted by CrashTest_

This morning, before our morning walk, and other family affairs, I poked around making Drupal my personal wiki. Why, that's probably what your asking? Drupal is a CMS, or CMS framework, and there are alternatives to Drupal for sure when it comes to wikis. PHPWiki, DokuWiki, MediaWiki, even the hosted PBWiki all come to mind.

The answer is a little complicated. I was using Zim (desktop wiki for KDE) to basically do a brain dump and to plan out some things, and discovered that I really wanted to use that data on my other machine. Hmm, well, this is a wiki, says I to me, so I should just be able to find some other wiki software and drop it on my local PHP server and pop this stuff into it.

Nope, it's not that easy. What I ran into was that I had, at best, only a couple of the things that I wanted from a wiki in any given package. I guess those things were:

  • CamelCased markup ability to easilly create new pages and easy linking.
  • Easy Privacy. This wiki isn't for the world, it is for my brain-dumps and planning.
  • Hierarchy so that I could organize my content, split it between work and personal, and SEE that organization.
  • Ability to easilly change the appearance (or to just look good off the bat).
  • Ability to be used from any machine I was on (the only drawback to Zim).
  • Familiarity. I wanted something that didn't seem terribly foreign to me, so I wouldn't struggle using it.

Ok, so that's quite a few things. Maybe there are wikis that do all of these, and do them with ease, however the top picks on my Google searches didn't show me any that fit the bill. PBWiki doesn't do CamelCase, or if it does, I couldn't find it, and that's a show stopper for me. DokuWiki was supposed to be easy to setup, document based, no db, but the security page you are supposed to follow was horrid, and changing the look of the thing was impossible to figure out quickly. PHPWiki, I didn't even try after reading comments about it being a bear to install.

In the end, I decided to build it on my current Drupal 6 installation. I did a search on Google about drupal wiki, and though there were many resources, CWGordon's blog was the most helpful. It took me about an hour and a half, but in the end, I have what I expected, and I have it in a design I like :) Plus, I got to learn what it takes to create a Drupal wiki. It wasn't too hard, I used the following modules:

  • pathauto (so that I can have nice URLs :)
  • flexifilter (allows you to set a filter that is wiki style without coding it)
  • recent_changes
  • freelinking (this lets me do CamelCase links which searches first then creates if it doesn't exist, NICE)
  • tableofcontents (not really using this yet, because I am using Book Navigation in the sidebar)
  • token (dev to fix the [book-raw] and [bookpath-raw] issues I was having)
  • node_privacy_byrole (here is how I make the wiki private)
  • wikitools (for... well, guess)

You put it all together, enable permissions to use it all, always a gotcha, then tweak your settings (like your pathauto and enabling freelinking and flexifilter) then securing it if you want it private, or enabling write access for everyone if you want it public, and viola, a new wiki is born.

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Comments

I was wondering how I was going to manage backlinks. I was liking using ":TODO" in Zim. Thanks Moshe!