General, random thoughts, Tech


TWIKI sucks: plain and simple, the end. I have had to endure it for the past 17 months and cannot find a damn thing one it plus editing sucks. A colleague finally decided to install a search/index engine on a separate box. I guess I got spoiled using Confluence in my last job, it was the best.

Respect my authoritah: It is imperative to have a decision making authority in every meeting (and not a quiet one either, but someone who will put his foot down) or the discussions never stop. This goes double for email discussions, sometimes I wonder how people can get anything done if they spend all their time in typing up long emails (and yes I have written my fair share of long emails too). Anyway here is a great quote from the book ‘The Mythical Man Month’ – “We finally decided to implement the language unchanged and unimproved for the debates about the language would have taken all our effort“.

Perfect is the enemy of done: Along the same lines as above, I have seen many spend all their time and effort revising and redoing to achieve the perfect Object Oriented Design and at the end of the day have nothing to show for. Another quote, unfortunately don’t know where I read it, “A painting is perfect when you cannot take anything away from it” or in other words know when to stop. Although one should strive for good design, that should not be your end goal. The end goal should be ‘getting things done’.

Importance of having a testing team: Even if you have 100% coverage (I think that it is a myth). You need someone whose whole job is to break your system, there is ton of literature on the importance of an independent testing team but unfortunately I keep seeing many places where it is done very less or totally absent. Also I think it is equally important to load test the application before deploying it.

3 thoughts on “IMHO

  1. Yes. Twiki is teh suck!
    The search is ridiculously bad.
    Editing is terrible.

    But the biggest pain point for me is when people don’t prune expired information.

  2. I agree about Twiki as well. Hidden topics that start with a “_” are invisible to search unless searching ONLY that topic. IS/IT departments seem to like it because you can lock down/hide certain areas of the wiki, which kind of goes against the open idea of having a wiki – a set of documents that ANYBODY can edit.

  3. If you’re just doing simple wiki stuff, then Foswiki/TWiki takes some extra effort where other solutions might be easier.

    I should add though that Foswiki has had reasonable progress on the WYSIWYG editor since the fork; up-to-date TinyMCE and many annoying WYSIWYG/TML translation bugs ironed out.

    At work we use it for structured data, and the queries/reports that you can build with out-of-the-box TML simply cannot be done on other wikis unless you go writing plugin code.

    There’s been plenty of heavy under-the-hood cleanup going on in Foswiki: more than doubling of unit tests (WYSIWYG tests now have a Selenium “browser-in-the-loop” mode), new and existing macros enhanced to fill some functionality gaps previously left to plugins, API is in a state where a real database back-end could be plugged in now.

    A large body of UI concept/re-design work has been fleshed out, and the new skin will mark a Foswiki 2.0 milestone.

    Another challenge is that an out-of-the-box Foswiki does not make it at all obvious how to go about forming a taxonomy of your information, whereas most other platforms have some sort of system deeply engrained. This means each site has its own way of doing things (“too flexible”), and if done poorly, leads to a lot of stagnant, duplicate information that’s hard to find.

    This is what I suppose the consultants do for you – for example NatSkin has its own way of doing it. Speaking of NatSkin, Michael Daum has something called SolrPlugin which provides a faceted search UI – and if you’re using DataForms on your topics, this should be very nice to use.

    There’s also KinoSearchPlugin and other tools to provide indexed search solutions; on my site I’ve implemented an AJAX-based hierarchical nav system, though there are problems with that, seems adequate for my users.

    Finally, Foswiki can be challenging or at least, non-obvious for a newbie to install/configure when attempting advanced integrations (auth/user management, SQL databases, etc) but the IRC channel is highly pro-active in assisting anyone who cares to present their problem (and there’s always the web)

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