[Mediawiki-l] Is MediaWiki-l dysfunctional? What is it good for, really? and Re: Any leads on a basic wiki setup-and-configure instruction manual?

Monahon, Peter B. Peter.Monahon at USPTO.GOV
Fri May 25 11:40:17 UTC 2007

> Daniel wrote: ... I installed on Windows 
> and it was easy.  MySQL, Apache, PHP, 
> and MediaWiki 1.9.3 in 1 hour, successfully, 
> on the first try, with no previous MediaWiki 
> experience.  All I did was follow the 
> instructions [links?], plus a little Googling 
> when I hit a snag [details?] ...

Peter Blaise responds:

(a) I'd LOVE to read your notes on MediaWiki.org

(b) Can you do it again?  Can you build a 2nd wiki on the same PC?  With
and without sharing the same database?  More?

-- Peter Blaise


> Suman wrote: ... where exactly you are 
> stuck now?  What is the error message 
> that you are getting? ...

Peter Blaise responds:

Thanks for asking, Suman.

Where I'm stuck is walking down each alternative installation path in
every decision tree to confirm what features and benefits each decision
supports so I can accurately tune everything to the way I want to.  Each
MediaWiki support program has dozens of options: Apache, PHP, MySQL,
MediaWiki, PHPMyAdmin, and operating system choices and file system and
directory choices and so on.

For instance, when someone asks me, "Can I add another wiki to the one
I'm serving now?",  I'd like to have successful experience saying "yes"
to the same question as I'd asked and tried it myself beforehand.  What
if they want to share data across those two wikis?  What if they want to
isolate those two wikis?

That's just one body of experience I am seeking to master.

Now, another challenge is backing up, verifying, and restoring after a
crash ... is it REALLY a crap shoot?

How to print an entire wiki as a book, as can be done with the legacy
documents that created the wiki in the first place!

How to export wiki contents to repurpose them.

And so on.  There is so much to master to bring MediaWiki support up to
a familiar and reliable level, like handling a MS Word DOC or an HTML
page without blinking or saying, "Golly, gee, I've never seen one of
THESE before!"  How would you audit internal links and perform a global
search and replace to update them across an entire wiki?  Become a MySQL
master and do it manually?  Become a PHP master?  Or, write an extension
to empower the end user to do it on demand?

Suman, I appreciate that some people just want a working wiki, and they
don't ask any questions after it's working.

I, on the other hand, have always asked a zillion questions, even when
things appear to be working, and I often then find that they are not
working so well after all, even when others thought they were working
just fine (such as when I was the first one to try to verify their
backup, and I found their backup was empty or corrupt - oh, my!).

And then I try to break things just to learn more about them.  I imagine
I've broken 3 wiki installations a day for the last month or more.  What
have I learned?  Probably more than anyone who had the "good luck" to
install successfully the first time and never had a crash ... or a

My goal is not to have a working wiki.  My goal is to understand how a
wiki works, and support other people's working wikis.

While I appreciate that's not the kind of thing others are here for,
apparently, it's what I'm here for.  And if I'm alone in that search,
then I'm alone in that search.  Somehow I don't think anyone here is
really surprised that this situation is nothing new for me!  ;-)

Thanks you, Suman, for caring to try to help.  I'd LOVE to see your
successful install notes on MediaWiki.org!

-- Peter Blaise

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