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Dokuwiki on NCF organizational websites

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This article shows how you can set up and use the Dokuwiki wiki system on an NCF organizational account web site.

Why Dokuwiki

Most people are familiar with the output of a wiki because of Wikipedia, though the understanding of how a wiki is useful is less common.

Essentially a wiki is a structured web-site that allows many users to view the content and (generally) fewer users to write or edit the content. The structure simplifies the process of adding and editing content. NCF uses the same software as Wikipedia, called Mediawiki, for the help database.

Wikis share the following features:

  • there is fairly simple formatting or markup to provide for some styling
  • there are many plugins to provide special features such as maths, music, etc.
  • there are a number of designs and templates to change the appearance, even if the content is unchanged.

Dokuwiki is a wiki system that has some particular merits for NCF users:

  • unlike Mediawiki, Dokuwiki does not need an SQL database to store content
  • all text is stored in plain text files
  • the entire directory of software and content may be backed up and, for the most part, put on a new system to migrate the wiki, or recover it if a server fails.

Basic information needed for NCF

Before you can begin, you need an organizational account for your organization, which we will call myorg. We will assume the username is yy999 with password yy999pw. The NCF administrator will give you:

  • The FTP login ID for myorg.ncf.ca as something like "yy999-123"
  • While not needed for Dokuwiki, you may also get database configuration info such as
    • Database host: localhost
    • Database user: e.g., yy999-321
    • Database password: e.g. T8234yuyp
    • Database name: myorg_ncf_ca
  • NCF keeps things pretty straightforward, and makes your website accessible via the URL myorg.ncf.ca. You can load content there with either the web file manager using your browser, or else with an ftp client.
    • you access the web file manager from start.ncf.ca using yy999 and yyy999pw.
    • you use yy999-123 and the same password for the ftp client.
    • There are a number of FTP clients for different platforms

Preparation for the wiki

It is recommended that the organization website have an index.html file and that the wiki be in a subdirectory. This allows for more flexibility in presenting information to site visitors. You may choose to have a completely closed wiki where the content is only visible to users who can log in using a username and password. These usernames and passwords are specific to the wiki. They are NOT related to the NCF usernames and passwords.

Here is a sample index.html file:

<!DOCTYPE html>
<meta charset="utf-8" />
<H1>Absolutely Marvelous Organization</H1>
<p>AMO is the most friendly Ottawa social society</p>
<p>This website is intended to serve its members and staff.</p>
<p>There is a repository of information on AMO at <a href="http://myorg.ncf.ca/wiki/">myorg.ncf.ca/wiki/</a></p>
<p>At this time, logins may be required for part of the content.</p>

Setting up a Dokuwiki

Note that there are other sources for this or related information, for example this tutorial.

Download the software into the website location

  1. Download the latest stable Dokuwiki software from the website to your local computer. This will be a tarball or .tgz file.
  2. Unpack the tarball on your local computer.
  3. Rename the directory in which the software unpacks to the name of the directory you wish for your wiki, e.g., wiki or ourwiki.
  4. Using your ftp client, copy this whole directory to the NCF file location of your website. This will be the directory where the index.html file is located.

Run the installer

Dokuwiki is written in the php computer language. NCF organizational members have php available in their website locations. Thus you simply point a web-browser (from your local machine) to:

  • http://myorg.ncf.ca/wiki/install.php

This will present a form that allows the wiki to be set up. Make sure you answer all the mandatory questions. You can then start the wiki.

Possible problems

Sometimes the wiki requires permissions to be set. This can be done using some of the ftp clients.

Adding content

When you get into the wiki, you should log in, using the Dokuwiki administrator name and password. Then you can search for a page such as Mainpage which will not exist, but you can choose to create it, then use the editing functions to provide content.

External links