[pmwiki-users] RFC: PITS 00701 -- WikiFarm confusion

Patrick R. Michaud pmichaud at pobox.com
Tue Mar 14 13:15:25 CST 2006

On Tue, Mar 14, 2006 at 11:09:18AM -0500, Neil Herber wrote:
> At 2006-03-14  09:36 AM -0600, Patrick R. Michaud is rumored to have said:
> >So, I could use some help here from people who have set up
> >WikiFarms and struggled with it -- what is it about WikiFarms
> >(and the associated documentation) that is confusing?
> What confused me right off the bat was the terminology.
> I expected a "farm" to be a collection of "fields", just as in the 
> agricultural world. But in the original instructions I read, the 
> place where pmwiki.php was installed seemed to be called the "farm 
> field" or something similar, and it could be an active field, as well 
> as being the code repository for the farm.
> I quickly read the current instructions on 
> http://www.pmwiki.org/wiki/PmWiki/WikiFarms and it looks like it now 
> refers to the "farm's home directory" and seems to recommend using it 
> only to hold the code. This is much clearer to me, and, I would hope, 
> to new admins.

We can do it this way, but one of the frequent questions we get
is "how difficult is it to turn an existing installation into a farm"?
In other words, newcomers to PmWiki who are setting up their first
wiki are often concerned that they need to make a farm-versus-nonfarm
decision before setting anything up, or else risk having a big
conversion effort later on.  Of course, no such restriction exists
in reality, so I think it ought to be made clear that one can 
convert an existing installation into a farm relatively painlessly.

> Perhaps there should be more of a discussion of when to use fields 
> versus groups. I personally like to organize such discussions around 
> advantage/disadvantage lists, which makes it easier to follow. If 
> someone can avoid using a farm in the first place, the problems go 
> away. (Not that true PmWikiers run away from problems, they just add 
> something to config.php ;-)

I need to write up the original motivations for farms and groups
(and what they're intended to provide) as a page on pmwiki.org; 
perhaps this will help people make more informed choices.


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