I’ve decided to put my knowledge on the web. The best tool for that it’s wiki with all its inter/hyperlinks, categorization, and bread-crumbs. To find which wiki is right for me I’ve tried different wikis. Most of them are good for some specific purposes, others are just terrible and I don’t understand why are they still alive. Anyway, for my scientific purposes, I need the following.
Minimum wiki requirements:
- Popularity – I’d like others to read my writings (well, probably I’m a conceited person). The popularity can be measured by google page rank, the number of indexed pages, and the number of unique users (per day).
- Enough web space to store a lot of images, which I use to explain difficult things.
- No inactivity limit (or reasonable limit, like >1 year)
- License – Since I’m the only owner of my knowledge, I don’t need others to contribute to my wiki. I don’t mind to share my knowledge with others, but I don’t want others to copy it without citation, to change it, or to use it commercially. Maybe I will use these wikis for my future books.
- Simple math support – Math or Latex support is a must, and I use it a lot. Any simple marking for Latex or MathML should be fine.
- Frequent backups + local storage – It is a big tragedy to lost all my “memory” at once. I believe in the efforts of wiki farms to keep safe all the information, but I prefer to keep it safe in at least 2 different places.
Additional (bonus) wishes:
- Infinite web space, infinite number of editions
- Video embedding
- History of all edits + restore to the previous edit
- Full HTML support
- WYSIWYG editor
Before I proceed with the comparison, I’d like to say something about my favorite choices: Wikidot and Wikispaces. They both more or less appropriate for my needs, and they have an educational version (free and ads free).
- Slightly faster loading time
- Advances search option (by tags, categories, etc.)
- Inline formulas: [[$…$]]
- Labeled equations
- Simple bibliography insertion
- Page parenting: categorizing with hierarchical page structure
- Beautiful themes
- Parents based breadcrumbs
- WYSIWYG editor
- Full HTML support
- Partial copy/paste from Word support
- Syntax compatible with other wikis
- MATLAB code highlighting
- PDF and HTML export
- MathJax can be supported by simple insertion of the script into the theme file, and then can be used at any place, inline “\(…\)“ or regular non-labeled formula “\[…\]“. By adding a few more lines in the theme file, the $ sign can be used for inline formulas too.
First of all, I’ve tried to install a well known and popular platforms like MediaWiki and DokuWiki. Since I’m not a happy owner of my own super fast server, I use a free alternatives. To tell you the truth, installing of such a soft on a free hosting is not so easy as they say it is ( if possible at all). Their instructions sound like “put all the files on your server, run install, and you’re done. Well, I did that. Guess what, you can input your text, but for formulas you need some sort of Latex installation on your server. How in the world should I install Latex if I don’t have even access to this server? In short, preinstalled wiki farms are easier and more convenient.
The largest wiki farm is Wikia. Everything is great there, mediawiki platform with full support for formulas, no inactivity limits, unlimited number of pages and storage space. Unfortunately, there are two unsolvable problems. First, is the counter intuitive interface and very wide ads margins. Any short note looks there like a long long post. Second, the license is like in Wikipedia, i.e., anybody can use your knowledge in any way he likes without citing.
The statistics have been obtained from: urlOz site.
I have tried the following wikis:
|Google indexed pages||54M||17M||3M||N/A|
|Yahoo indexed pages||17.7M||4.3M||797K||N/A|
|Storage quota||Unlimited||2GB (10MB file max)||300MB (5GB for educational)||Your own|
|Math formulas||<math>…</math>||[[math]]…[[math]]or add MathJax script at the beginning of each page, and use \(…\) and \[…\]||[[$…$]] and [[math]]…[[/math]]||/(…/) and /[…/] with MathJax plugin|
|Backups||Yes + WebDAV||All changes||Local|
|Embedded video||Yes||Yes||No||With plugin|
|What links here||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Data export||Partial||Yes with plugin|
|Ads||Ads – side bar(if not educational);||Ads – top and bottom banners inside page(if not educational);||No|
|Other||No copyright||slow; bad themes, but customizable||good themes; bibliography||Very customizable|
- TiddlyWiki Guides – TiddlyWikiGuides (tiddlywikiguides.org)
- Leaving Wikia (eugenam.wordpress.com)
- Pick a Winner: How to Choose the Right Wiki for Your Business (blogs.sitepoint.com)
- Create Your Own Wiki with the WordPress Wiki Plugin – Now Available for Free (pressography.com)
- Using a Wiki for the library (jeahil.wordpress.com)
- wiki my science! (ask.metafilter.com)
- Forget tricky wikis, Papyrs makes building intranet pages a snap (via GigaOM) (techweev.com)