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

DaveG pmwiki at solidgone.com
Wed Mar 15 10:44:11 CST 2006

Here's my thoughts as I read the WikiFarm page in order to setup a 
field. All I'm doing here is reading, and taking notes in preparation 
for setting up the farm. Comments on the actual process will follow.

------ Main Introduction
  - The first paragraph attempts to define a farm, and then set some 
standard terms. Make the farm explanation one paragraph, and the 
definitions a bulleted list, so it can be referred to as the read 
progresses down the page.

  - "Each field must have its own URL" -- that's confusing. The 
significant part of this is that each field lives in it's own directory, 
and each field is accessed by a slightly different URL. An example would 
help. But I'm not really sure it's that relevant, not at this stage.

  - For a description of what goes where, the reader has to head off to 
QuickFarms... QuickFarms isn't terribly useful -- however the idea of a 
sample directory structure is, and should be on the WikiFarm page.

  - I like the idea of splitting the doc into farm and field 
administrator sections. I would suggest making the header style stand 
out more to visually break the page up a little.

------ "Setting up a WikiFarm (farm administrator)"
  - When converting an existing installation to a field based 
installation, does the existing directory structure remain? Is it 
necessary (or desirable) to move the existing wiki.d, skins, uploads, etc?

  - "Usually, this will mean setting $FarmPubDirUrl to reasonable 
settings for the new field." Too vague. What are reasonable settings? 
What other directory variables need to be set? Seems odd that it's only 
this one, and not Uploads, Script, Img, etc. At this point I start 
getting cold feet, and wonder at the affect on my existing install. This 
brings to light a point: it's good practice to be doing this level of 
change on a local PmWiki install before hitting the live site... but how 
many admins (particularly of smaller sites) actually follow this 
practice, and thus may hit some unclarity in the instructions, and 
simply stop with the thought "Yoikes"?

  - The field admin steps are pretty good. Clear, and presise. Step 3 
however changes permissions to 777, and at no point do we change them 
back. Is this desirable?

  - Step 4 (field admin) is the kicker. All directory structure creation 
is automatic! This should be stated up front, on the very first paragraph!

  - ?One significant omission is that if CleanURLs are in use, changes 
will need to be made when

------ "Local customizations in fields and farms"
  - My first thought is what typically *needs* to be set locally? 
Specifically directory paths?

  - This is the first mention of $FarmD. It immediately occurs to me 
that this variable should probably be used for all Cookbook includes on 
in the main config.php. (Note I used the work "main" not Farm -- seems 
more understandable! Actually even Parent sounds better.) At this point 
I have no idea if I want to proceed....

  - The override stuff is good, but should be separated with a header 
(don't split it on a separate page).

  - "If extension scripts are used farm-wide": What is an "extension 
script"? Term is not used anywhere else. I think it refers to Cookbooks.

  - "used farm-wide and they are located in the farm's cookbook 
directory they should be loaded through entries in local/farmconfig.php 
like": Means that if $FarmD is not used in the main config.php then it 
will not be used site-wide? Will it be used for the "base" wiki.d field 
(if converting an existing site)?

------ "Notes"
  - No comments on here yet.

Next step, to attempt farming :)

  ~ ~ Dave

Patrick R. Michaud wrote:
> The following message was just posted to PITS (#00701), and I need
> help coming up with good answers.
>>From PITS 00701:
>> I've read and reread the Wiki Farms installation, all of them, 
>> i've been trying to figure it out to no avail. i understand how 
>> they are suppose to work, but the explanation of how to install 
>> one, seems like it misses huge chunks out. or uses alot of 
>> jargon, if anyone can point me to a easier explanation, or 
>> even a zipped install farm structure i'd be very greatful.
> Personally, I find the PmWiki.WikiFarms instructions to be
> just about as straightforward as they can be, but I totally
> admit that I'm not representative in this respect.
> On the other hand, I've read some of the other farm setup
> instructions that others have posted on the mailing list and
> in the Cookbook, and they often seem to me to be confusing and
> possibly needlessly complex.
> Thus I fear WikiFarms may be in a somewhat similar situation as the
> CleanUrls recipe, where people can envision many different ways
> to solve a similar problem, and PmWiki happens to be flexible
> enough to support most or all of them, and so we don't have
> a clear set of instructions for it.
> 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?
> Or, if you aren't running a wiki farm but have been curious to
> try, now would be a great time to do it --  whenever you run across
> something that is confusing or doesn't make sense, post the
> question to the list and we'll see if we can explain it (and
> improve the docs so that the question doesn't arise in the future).
> Comments?
> Pm
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