Thursday, 24 September 2009

My New Website

For the past few days, I've been spending a lot of time (and loosing some sleep) creating my new website [1].  One of the things that I'm really excited about with this project is the platform it uses: DokuWiki [2].  A little more than a year ago, I spent some of my summer (geek-)time, figuring out how to install a wiki on our school server [3] to facilitate collaborative projects.  That's when I first came across DokuWiki.  I played around with it for a while and decided to give it a go.  The more I used it, the more powerful I realized it was.  In my opinion, DokuWiki's greatest strengths are that:
  • It's Free and Open Source so anyone can tweak it as they wish
  • It's got loads of really cool plugins to extend it
  • It's pretty easy to install (on a server and even on a personal computer!)
  • The pages are all saved in simple .txt formats, and are very easy to export and import.
  • Everything is edited from the net with a web browser.
All of these advantages can be summed up with one word: freedom.  If I ever become dissatisfied with my web host, I can simply take my files and move my website somewhere else.  I can also take other people's Dokuwiki pages and integrate them very easily.

To be fair though, to some people it may have one big drawback: it uses a WYSIWYM [4] syntax, where the wiki formatting is "coded" in the main text, instead of the more familiar WYSIWYG [5].  It sounds a little scary, but it really is pretty simple after a little getting used to.

Installing DokuWiki on a server is pretty straight forward (if you have a server).  But without one...  hmmm.  Thankfully, I found this awesome tutorial [6] that explains how to sign up to a free web host, and install DokuWiki on it. It's a little outdated but the main ideas are still the same.

As of now, I would say that I've managed to write about 50~70% of what I am currently planing to put there.  I'd eventually like to:
  • write a new "Free Digital Society" page which would include ideas about surveillance, censorship, data format freedom, software freedom, software as a service, and sharing.  The current "Free Software" page would become a small part of that main page.
  • write a GNU/Linux newbie guide and upload scripts and tricks I've learnt while working with Ubuntu.
  • start uploading some of the teaching work that I've created over the past few years and make it available to others.  I'd also like to see how I could create my portfolio on this platform.
If you'd like to give me feedback, you'll find a spot on my website that you can edit (and try DokuWiki) for yourself!

  1. Patrick Truchon's home page, <>
  2. DokuWiki, <>
  3. HIS Wiki, <>
  4. Wikipedia, WYSIWYM, <>
  5. Wikipedia, WYSIWYG, <>
  6. Splitbrain,  Setup DokuWiki on Free Hosting in < 15 Minutes,  <>

No comments: