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Surveying web projects to remake the Lat...

Surveying web projects to remake the Latvian Open Source Associations web page. At this point we are hosting it on TikiWiki, but people are increasingly unhappy about it and so am I. I like very much that Tiki is very integrated and has all we need and all we might ever need (wiki, blogs, forums, articles, photo galleries, categories, users, messages, comments, calendar, ...), but it has several shortcomings:


  • The wiki syntax is very complex and hard to learn

  • The code is very bloated

  • Tiki eats lots of memory and CPU

  • It is kind of brittle - in many instances pages are sent out incomplete and only reloading the same page fixes that

  • There were some security issues with user uploaded files. I personally think that all files should be held either in database or in folders inaccessible by the browser and fed out to users by a specialised script

  • Plugins, while a very powerful tool, make the complex syntax even more complex

  • Many pages that the user gets can/should not be refreshed as that will cause a repetition of an action (adding another copy of the same comment, ...). In my mind,

  • The generated HTML pages of Tiki are huge - starting with a 100 Kb per page (including css and javascript, but excluding any images).

  • Many features that are natural for uses of PHPBB2 or other forums come like an afterthought in Tiki, like threading, named multilevel quoting, avatars

  • It is hard to maintain a modified version of Tiki and keep up with upstream changes


My ideal feature set:

  • Wiki

  • Forum (multiple named forums in categories)

  • Blog (multiple separate blogs with sepatare set of tags and a rss/atom feed for each blog, tag or combination of tags)

  • Calendar for planned upcoming events


Additional technical requirements:

  • Every object must be commentable

  • The same Wiki syntax must be used everywhere

  • Unified linking schemes with InterWiki support

  • There should be WYSIWYG edit option

  • Unified users and groups

  • Every page that users view must be a view page and not an update page. For a simple example: user is at viewpage/SomePage and fills a form there that will add a comment to the page, the form is being submitted to addcomment/SomePage with the comment data in POST headers, when the addcomment script has added the comment, it redirect the user back to the viewpage/SomePage, maybe indicating which comment was just added, so that user can see the change highlighted. Even better if it can be done, like in GMail, when the new comment is incorporated into the page without a reload and a request is sent to the server independently.

  • Names of Wiki pages must not be limited neither to CamelCase nor to ASCII chars. I want to be able to have pages called "Juridiskā informācija" or "開眼 の 司会者" :)

  • WAP version

  • It should be possible to attach files and images (with proper preview thumbnails) to each and every item: wiki pages, comments, blog posts, forum posts, news items, calendar entries, other files and images (hmm that would be weird :P)

  • It would be perfect if it was written in Python with proper objects for everything and database based object persistence



As you can see, I face a long selection/adaptation/programming prospect. I wish I could use as much of existing open source components and contribute my changes back, so they can be properly maintained within respective projects.

The optimum scenarion would be a construction of some kind of TikiWiki Light with the needed functionality, code cleanup, restructurisation, ... Will have to talk to TikiWiki project heads for that.

Antipatent work

Today I started to work more actively for the FFII to counter the EU software patents directive. I am bringing SMEs in for the .economic-majority.com site and to Brussels to meet with MEPs. It seams that there are many SMEs interested in that kind of action in Latvia.

Also fixed two bugs and added one feature in TikiWiki. Yay!

Sidenote: If our hockey players win Sweeden today, then we will beat Finland to the top 8 in the World Cup :) (We played 0:0 with Finns yesterday.) Edit: Well, we all have dreams, but it seams playing a good game right the next day after a tough game is nearly impossible, thus we lost horribly

Fixing bugs of TikiWiki

Just now I did some hacking of TikiWiki on the LAKA site. First I added a feature - now RSS feeds from news articles can be selected by topic. Then I put two rss aggregators on the main Wiki page of the site - one with all articles on 'LAKA' topic and the other one for all articles.
In the process I discovered a bug in Tiki RSS lib that did not allow two RSS feeds to be put on the same Wiki page. I traced the call to a 'include()' directive that should have been 'include_once()'. This also caused another bug to appear there - variable $rsslib had to be declared global in the same module.
Now I only have to create some way to make a feed for 'all topics except LAKA'. That will be harder.

PS. Restoring Mailman and Postgresql was a snap. Today seams to be a better day for me :)

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