One-man Wiki

This Web site used to be powered by plain old XHTML in part constructed by hand and in part converted automatically from LaTeX. This was (still is) a reasonable choice given the small nature of the site. However, I started working with a Wiki system (I was the ad-hoc maintainer of our departmental site, that uses Dokuwiki), which proved to be so much more convenient that I decided to do it for my site as well. This is the result.

What you see here is thus a one-man wiki! With few exceptions (on the PART side) I am the sole “contributor” so this is technically a Wiki but it is not really a Wiki. Still, the concept (and Dokuwiki in particular) is so convenient that I became an instant convert!

Beside the convenience of effecting changes from anywhere, I also appreciate the existence of access control lists which allows me to give editing permissions to selected users in selected areas and also to block access to the public altogether. These two features are used so that my research team has (selective!) editing privileges on the PART side and also exclusive access to PART's restricted area.

Technical information and acknowledgments

This site is powered by Dokuwiki, Apache, and Gentoo Linux. The SSL certificates are provided by Let's Encrypt (used to be StartCom until they got purchased by WoSign and started backdating certificates).

The look of this site is inspired from, though not identical to an older template used by Bishop's University (where I work). Their however indirect contribution is warmly acknowledged. In particular Julie Fradette (Bishop's Webmistress) and Bruno Lacasse (ITS Director at the time) have been very helpful and forthcoming in the process of converting the Bishop's Web template into a Dokuwiki template for our departmental site (and thus indirectly for this site).

Dokuwiki is a light-weight wiki system which is in particular easy to set up and configure and relatively easy to customize. A big plus is the storage of pages as plain text, which makes for easy backup, recovery, and off-line changes. I cannot recommend it strongly enough. The only criticism I have is that they started a couple of versions ago to be non-standard compliant in respect to their CSS.

The only non-trivial problem I encountered was having portions of the Wiki seen under different domains. I eventually solved this (though not thoroughly satisfactory) using Apache's mod_rewrite and mod_proxy.

I am an old Unix hand and I am fairly good at configuring and maintaining Linux. I am also a control freak, at least when it comes to computing. It is no wonder then that my favourite flavour of operating system is Gentoo Linux.