[pmwiki-users] Minor question regarding the definition of "Wiki farm"

christian.ridderstrom at gmail.com christian.ridderstrom at gmail.com
Mon Mar 20 10:33:47 CST 2006

On Sun, 19 Mar 2006, Neil Herber wrote:

> At 2006-03-19  03:56 PM -0700, H. Fox is rumored to have said:
> > > No not really...  The first definition of a wiki farm implies it must have
> > > two or more wikis, which is incorrect although not a big deal in itself.
> > > Running a single wiki in a wiki farm framework is easy and I know this,
> > > but others might think it's impossible.
> >
> >We're trading away some absolutely precise accuracy in order to keep
> >the description pithy and easier to understand.  The essence of
> >WikiFarms is multiple wikis.
> The other thing to remember is stated in the line near the top of 
> http://www.pmwiki.org/wiki/PmWiki/WikiFarms :
> >Why use a farm?
> >The primary motivation for using a wiki farm is to reduce the amount 
> >of administrative work involved in managing several wikis.
> If you have a single wiki set up "farm style", then I suspect your 
> motivation is to provide more security for the shared components or 
> to more clearly separate the code and content.  Both are useful 
> goals, but aren't directly connected to creating farms.

Actually no... my motivation for setting up a single wiki in "farm style",
is simply that I *expect* to add more wikis later on. More security and
separation of code and content is a welcome bonus. I also want to do
things in small, incremental steps. So starting with a single wiki seems
like a good idea.

I've never set up a server farm, but I'd think that when doing that, it'd
also be useful to start out with just a single server. For me the
'farm'-bit isn't how many servers/wikis you actually have, but if the
setup is intended to make it easy to add more as you go along. In other 
words, "does it scale"?

(Sorry for that last bit... when I did my PhD and went to conferences
related to robotics etc, you could almost always ask "does it scale".  
Usually it's also a rather tough question to answer...)

> If the admin does intend to add another wiki, the terminology problem
> goes away as soon as he does so.

Don't you care that it's incorrect/inaccurate meanwhile? 

It bugs me that the phrasing is incorrect (that's just the way I am), but
it's not so important by itself. I just don't want someone thinking that
they *have* to use more than one wiki in order to set up things "farm
style". Or, that they can't start out with a single wiki in the farm in
order to start slowly.

Hmm... speaking of correctness... I'm going to describe an installation
with two wikis that share components. Would you say that the following is
a wiki farm?

Let's say you install two wikis separately in two separate directories.  
Then you replace some shared components (pmwiki.php, pub/, wikilib.d/ etc)  
in one of the directories with soft links (i.e. 'ln -s') to the
corresponding components in the other directory. It's now possible to
upgrade both installations in one go etc. If you'd like, you could even
have both local/config.php's include a common file.  (I've actually done a
few wiki installations exactly like this, it was before I started using
wiki farms properly).

Is this a wiki farm?  Or does wiki farm actually imply the use of
local/farmconfig.php, $FarmD etc? I have a sneaky feeling that there's
more to a "proper" wiki farm than what I just described.


Christian Ridderström, +46-8-768 39 44               http://www.md.kth.se/~chr

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