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Which Wiki?

I’ve had the need to set up a wiki for a personal project and wasn’t sure which to pick. I’ve had experience with MediaWiki and twiki in the past, so the choice really came down to those two. It’s a tough decision as both have their strengths and weaknesses. Wikimatrix has a nice comparison between the two.

At Yahoo, we used twiki fairly extensively. It comes with its own nomenclature and markup language, so there’s a learning curve involved. Once you get started though, it becomes ridiculously easy to create and prettyprint a page. However, I found the notion of “webs” to be somewhat confusing. Moreover, it turned out you needed administrative permission to create one – this meant sending someone at Y a request and waiting for it to be approved. At Delve, a startup, turnaround time was never an issue for mediawiki. You get to either do the work yourself or bug your coworker until he does it for you! That being said, I did find it tougher to get excited up about mediawiki – partly it was the pain of a different markup language to master and partly it was due to the speed. Updates were slow. Later we upgraded to a much more powerful machine and the response time became much less of an issue. Additionally, the WYSIWIG editor on mediawiki was much more compelling than the one I’d used on twiki and I am getting used to the notion of categories there as well.

I have yet to make a final decision and may well end up trying to installing both before I decide which one is easier. At this point though, I am leaning towards mediawiki mainly because it seems a little easier to install and is able to leverage MySQL, something not supported in twiki. The latter seems to have richer plugin support though, so that makes it a tough decision. Let’s see.