[pmwiki-users] New PmWiki Features Page . . .

Neil Herber nospam at eton.ca
Thu May 25 20:55:27 CDT 2006

At 2006-05-25  06:12 PM -0500, Ben Wilson is rumored to have said:
>For those who
>prefer a more charted approach, the various charts in the Feature page
>are included from an At A Glance page.[4]
>I ask that those of you who are fairly knowledgeable/sophisticated
>with PmWiki to take a look at the page.

Congratulations on tackling such a thankless task. Trying to 
concisely describe the features of any software is difficult, and 
extensible software like PmWiki just makes it more difficult.

I do, unfortunately, have several misgivings about your feature list 
and at-a-glance pages.

First of all, the red-yellow-green color coding is fraught with 
cultural baggage. Seeing all of the reds and yellows makes me think 
that PmWiki is not doing a very good job - but in fact, the yellow 
items are all things it can do via recipes, many of which are so 
trivial to implement that they should not give the negative 
impression that the yellow provides.

Second, I don't think the "features" page for PmWiki is the place to 
state so boldly what it doesn't do (yet). The feature set has been 
arrived at by a form of consensus as to what PmWiki should do "out of 
the box" and people have created recipes to solve other problems. 
There are places I have tried to introduce PmWiki where the local 
nay-sayers are ready to leap in with comments like "But it can't do 
CAPTCHAs and they are our corporate standard!" These guys don't need 
any extra ammunition.

Third, I think focusing so strongly on a feature list loses the 
essential *benefits* of PmWiki. It is very lean. It does a lot out of 
the box. You can customize it with ready made recipes. You can write 
your own recipes. You can design your own skins. You can make it fit 
in to your corporate look and feel. You can make security as tight or 
as loose as you want.

My fourth and final point is easy to address: the bullet lists of 
features and the descriptions that appear below them are not in the 
same order. In fact, they aren't in any detectable order!

Neil Herber
Corporate info at http://www.eton.ca/ 

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