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

Patrick R. Michaud pmichaud at pobox.com
Wed Mar 15 07:43:16 CST 2006

On Wed, Mar 15, 2006 at 10:18:23AM +0100, Joachim Durchholz wrote:
> Farms need special configuration - the directory layout is different. 

I disagree with this premise -- the directory layout isn't that
different at all.  Or, perhaps you could describe how the layout is

> Given the questions on the mailing list, several recipes won't work on 
> farms due to these differences.

The difference is usually just that the recipe needs a couple of
"$FarmD" paths added.  I've never run into a recipe that had to be 
substantially reworked because of farms.

> worse, 
> recipe writers will tend to omit testing on a farm configuration (I have 
> to confess that I'm one of these negligent recipe writers myself: lack 
> of resources, lack of interest.)

I absolutely don't see this as a source of negligence.  From my 
perspective, recipe writers aren't obligated to test their 
modules in every possible configuration... and that's not 
the "release early/release often" approach anyway.  

To me, a recipe writer contributes "here's what worked for me", 
then if someone runs into a problem, whether because of running
in a farm or any other variation, we report it and improve the

Or, by way of analogy, we could be saying

    "recipe writers will tend to omit testing on a farm configuration"
    "recipe writers will tend to omit testing under every webserver"
    "recipe writers will tend to omit testing under every OS/filesystem
    "recipe writers will tend to omit testing under every version of

I don't want to start implying that any of the above are barriers
to contributing a recipe (and by the way, this is why it's called
a "Cookbook" with "recipes").  People contribute what they have, and
if it needs further refinement then others will pick it up.  

> I'd really like to see if PmWiki dropped farming in favor of an optional 
> configuration for shared code/separate data. I.e. install PmWiki in one 
> place, then have separate data installation directories with index.php 
> scripts that say something like
>    <?php
>    $data_directory = getcwd ();
>    chdir ('/path/to/shared/pmwiki/installation/');
>    require_once ('pmwiki.php');

But this *is* what a farm/field does, except that instead of 
three lines of PHP we use one:


> [...]
> Unless I'm doing something with PmWiki farming on a day-by-day basis, I 
> will forget the details because no other software in the world uses a 
> farms-and-fields analogy. 

This is a very reasonable point, so the idea of changing the terms
has merit.  I'm not sure that "shared code/separate data" works as
a term that would be any identifiable by people interested in
having multiple wikis from a single installation, but others can
say if it would have worked for them.  

FWIW, I did a little bit of searching yesterday to see what other
packages use as an equivalent to our "wikifarm" term, but didn't
find anything.


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