[pmwiki-users] Recommended recipes?

Twylite twylite at crypt.co.za
Thu Aug 27 06:15:12 CDT 2009


I'm new here, and I have a lengthy question that comes down to: what 
recipes are recommended and/or commonly & widely used (and how does one 
find out this information)?


I have been looking at using a Wiki to replace two sites that I 
currently maintain.  After some investigation (c2.com, Wikimatrix, and 
plenty of other sources) I narrowed down the field, and decided that 
PmWiki has the right features and extensibility to make it the first 
candidate that I try out.

The first site I want to replace is a knowledge base for my development 
team (corporate) that is currently based on Drupal.  When extensions are 
used Drupal can be a pain to maintain (a number of extensions have never 
been upgraded for Drupal 6), and it is largely worthless without 
extensions, so no maintenance is being done.  We would like to transfer 
the knowledge base across, and enhance the system by adding CRM and bug 

The second site is my personal web site, currently a blog and a few 
static pages, but I plan to include collaborative areas for projects I 
work on, and a reference section ("knowledge base") that is read-only to 
the public (but may allow comments).  I'm also keen on extending this 
setup into a farm to help out friends with their pet hosting requirements.

As far as I can tell, with some customisation, PmWiki is up to the task.


And then things went wrong.  Once I had waded through the general PmWiki 
documentation it became evident that customisation (by way of recipes) 
is required for event the simplest of sites, and that the Cookbook is a 
lengthy menu into the world.  Lengthy being 955 items.

After my experiences with Drupal I have some requirements when 
considering add-on code.  Add-ons should be:
- actively maintained, and/or
- stable & feature complete, and/or
- being considered for inclusion in the core.

Many recipes have some indication of stability and maintainer, but also 
no way to tell if this information is up-to-date.  Even then there 
appears to be no way to tell if a recipe is widely used (i.e. a 
maintainer will appear spontaneously out of enlightened self-interest if 
the recipe is abandoned), well-regarded by the community (plays well 
with the core and other recipes), or a duplicate effort of a probably 
better recipe (e.g. Footnotes vs MarkupExtensions).

In a quest for answers I have discovered the following:

* I figured that looking at the extensions PmWiki.org was running would 
be a good place to start.  This information is available via a link from 
http://www.pmwiki.org/wiki/Cookbook/RecipeCheck .
* Bundles (http://www.pmwiki.org/wiki/Category/Bundles) look promising, 
but most efforts seem to be incomplete or lacking in scope or detail 
(specifically the purpose/goals of the bundle and the rationale for 
including various recipes).
* There can be complex interactions between recipes.  Some don't work 
together, others are only useful with a supporting skin, etc.
* There are duplicates of just about every possible feature, even some 
features in the core.  Two auth systems, three input/form systems, five 
or so ToC recipes, a half dozen approaches to comments, a dozen recipes 
for displaying attachments.
* There have been discussions on pmwiki-users on how to rate, rank or 
otherwise determine popularity of recipes, often for reasons similar to 
my own.  These discussions date to Jan this year, Aug 2008, various in 
2006, and even further back.
In one PM suggests the possibility of using the statistics submitted by 
the SiteAnalyzer, but I have couldn't find whether this happened or not 
* Even if you filter the Cookbook index and consider only 
stable/maintained Recipes that sound potentially useful there are still 
_dozens_, and you're no closer to figuring out which of the duplicates 
is better.
* For what it's worth, Drupal now collects statistics of extension use 
and is using them to ensure that the most widely used extensions are all 
available for Drupal 7 on the day it is released.  This is in response 
to the disastrous situation with Drupal 6.
* Many other projects are experiencing similar problems: huge numbers of 
extensions of wildly varying usefulness and quality going into a single 
repository, and new users to the project are lost in the morass.  Many 
projects have adopted systems of rating (based on user vote, aggregate 
rating, or committee review) and/or download rank (or usage statistics 
where available) to combat this.


I have now committed quite a lot of time & effort into this research, 
and I have still failed to answer my basic questions:
(1) which recipes does everyone find useful
(2) is a given recipe widely used, stable and actively maintained (i.e. 
will I have peace of mind choosing that recipe)
(3) which of the duplicates is most popular (for a given task, if relevant)

Any ideas?


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