Sunday, September 6, 2015

Hosted Blog Instead Of Wiki For CivicHacks Resource Central v.0.1?

Two days ago I wrote a blog post about my plan to use DokuWiki as the website platform for the CivicHacks Resource Central (CHRC)  directory I wanted to compile. Well, that plan is currently being re-evaluated...

To launch a DokuWiki directory, I wanted to have assistance from someone who had already set up a DokuWiki site. It didn’t seem worthwhile to ask someone to figure out setup and maintenance of a website technology new to them, and I didn’t want to spend my limited time on figuring out how to set up and maintain the site. However, the only DokuWiki user I know suggested I use the GitHub wiki rather than create a new site that would require much more time to launch and maintain.

After receiving the recommendation to use GitHub’s wiki component for the civic hacks directory, I spent several more hours poking at both DokuWiki sites and GitHub wikis. There may be robust, multi-featured, up-to-date wikis out in the wide world of the web, but I was unable to find anything meeting that description for either GitHub or DokuWiki. GitHub wikis seem to be primarily or exclusively used by coders for the purpose of documenting their work for their own future understanding or as a user manual for the code in the wiki’s repository. The coders probably don't want to spend any more time creating wiki content than is absolutely necessary, so complex GitHub wikis are probably few and far between. GitHub is reportedly increasingly used for non-coding projects, but I didn’t find any multi-featured and robust websites for such projects. GitHub wikis don't appear to be focused on making their use and content creation particularly appealing to non-coders.

The more I looked at DokuWiki, the more it appeared that potential DokuWiki sites to model mine after were not easily findable, due likely to the small community involved with that platform and the fact that most users speak German. If you know of a few GitHub wikis or DokuWiki sites with WYSIWIG editing for font, color and size, photo or graphic embedding with easy resizing, captioning, linking and placement, easy video embedding, and similar capabilities of modern wikis and blogs, please send me links for those sites.

Until I find a wiki ninja coder to help me with GitHub wikis, DokuWiki’s or another wiki package, I’ve decided to also evaluate using a hosted blog, such as Blogger or WordPress, for CHRC. I might still go down the path of a wiki options for CHRC v.0.1, but until I find that person familiar with a capable wiki platform who has the time and interest to work on this with me, I am probably better off using a website platform familiar to me. I'm more interested in tracking down civic hacks and creating entries for them in a directory than I am in becoming proficient at setting up, maintaining and using a website platform that's new to me. If you know of full-featured Blogger or hosted WordPress sites that would be good models for a hacks directory, please send me links.

I started using Blogger more than ten years ago, and I’ve played around with WordPress (WP) sites enough to consider using either of them for CHRC. The two advantages, from my viewpoint, for a wiki rather than these hosted blog platforms, is that (a) wikis are designed for many content contributors and editors, and (b) multi-level navigation seems easier to build into a wiki than a blog. I realize that huge, complex and robust websites have built with WP, but I don’t currently have the level of knowledge to create and securely maintain a complex WP site.

Over the next couple days, I’ll looked for Blogger and hosted WP sites that might be good models for CHRC v.0.1. I’ll let you know if I find anything useful or if I move forward on a civic hacks directory using one of the four website platforms mentioned in this post.


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