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A new home for Wikka

Yes, Wikka moved to a new home! I'd like to share with the Wikka user community some thoughts about the important changes Wikka is undergoing since a couple of weeks and open a collective discussion about Wikka's future plans. Feedback from contributors, users and friends from #wikka about the changes that we plan to implement is particularly welcome.

Why

There are several reasons why migrating Wikka to a new host with a number of dedicated services is an important step.
  1. Wikka was hosted at jsnx.com, i.e. JsnX's personal webserver: moving to a new server will not only free Jason from the burden of hosting Wikka on his personal resources, but will also allow a more distributed management and increase the project's visibility.
  2. The previous website had different uses, in an often confusing way. It was used as:
    • the official website for Wikka, presenting the package, its features, news and important announcements from the developer team:
    • a documentation server, using somewhat inconsistent naming conventions and often lacking a clear distinction between documentation and development pages;
    • a test server, for new users willing to get a taste of Wikka and understand how to use actions, handlers and wiki markup: often these tests are made not only in the SandBox, but also in pages that present official documentation, so a lot of time is spent in reverting innocent tests that vandalize the official part of the website.
    • an informal tracker for bugs and feature suggestions, listing in an often unmanageable way a lot of suggestions from users;
    • a development server, with (incomplete) developer documentation;
    • a plugin repository, where users and contributors share code, patches and add-ons, often producing a confusion between native features of the engine and plugins that are not (or not yet) implemented.
  3. Some basic services that have become the standard for mature open source projects with a large community of users or contributors - such as a code repository, an issue tracker, different mailing lists for different kinds of discussion etc. - are still lacking.

What has been done

For the above reasons, we have started implementing some important changes:
  1. A dedicated server with a new domain name (http://wikkawiki.org) has been setup on a new hoster (Site5).
  2. A code repository (SVN) and an issue tracker (Trac) have been opened at http://wush.net/trac/wikka (with an alias at http://tracker.wikkawiki.org).
  3. A test server -- (http://demo.wikkawiki.org) allowing users to play with a live demo of the latest official release. The database is automatically reset to system defaults every day. This will allow users to play not only with the SandBox, but with a whole Wikka distribution, including features that are only available to registered users.
  4. A Wikka developer blog (blog.wikkawiki.org), a comfortable place to keep track of important development news, especially for those among us who cannot keep an eye on the dev website on a daily basis (ahum, are there any??).
  5. The full API documentation (api.wikkawiki.org) for prospective developers and contributors.
  6. Several mailing lists to keep up-to-date with the latest news from the Wikka devs.
  7. The project documentation has been moved to a dedicated subdomain (docs.wikkawiki.org). This -- together with some consistent naming conventions -- will allow us to build a rich and well-structured documentation for the end user and translate it in different languages. Furthermore, it will allow external wikis to refer consistently to the documentation or even to "pull" content from the documentation server using some of the syndication tool that we have started developing (remember our FetchRemote action?). Only registered users will have write-access to this server, under the management of Documentation admins.

What's next

The old website has been already moved to the present domain, but we are planning to organize the new website in a more rational way.
  1. The main server (www.wikkawiki.org) will be completely refactored and used for official announcements of new releases and important news from the development team. This server will be read-only: only Wikka admins (and/or site admins) will have write-access.
  2. A support forum (forum.wikkawiki.org) for users needing help with Wikka installation, configuration and use.
  3. A development server (dev.wikkawiki.org) - hosting developer documentation (possibly self-generated through phpdoc headers), coding guidelines, and templates - will allow users to share ideas for new features and improvements. The actual code will be hosted in a dedicated branch of the SVN repository and candidate patches for official releases will be posted on the issue tracker. Interwiki links will allow referring in an easy way to code and tickets.
  4. A plugin repository: the development server will also be used to announce and discuss user-contributed add-ons. Plugins will be made available in a dedicated SVN repository (see the example of wp-plugins) , for easy tracking and downloading.
    • Users will be able to suggest patches to the official repository as tickets/attachments
    • SVN maintainers will take care of a selection and implementation of relevant modifications for the official package
    • Other modifications will be directly maintained by contributors in the Plugin SVN repository, where these add-ons can be developed, announced and released independently from the Wikka development team.
    • Particularly popular add-ons could be migrated to the official Wikka trunk as candidates for a release.
  5. A test server with the latest unstable package (fed by the SVN repository).
  6. All of the above servers should use a centralized user database, so admins, contributors, documenters etc. will only need a single login to access the different subdomains and services.

Feedback

That's it, your feedback is welcome. -- DarTar


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