Wikis and PDFs

I am getting near to the end of my conversion and I will go back to posting normal stuff with the occasionally interesting Nephilim RPG seed on my blog, probably to the relief of most everyone.  I’ve been thinking about what to do with the conversion that all two of you are reading and decided to a four step process — so complex it is almost a flowchart:

1. Collect the posts and populate a wiki.  Add lots of other “game”  information to the wiki, like a huge list of summonings and descriptions of the Major Arcana and Secret Societies and game seeds and that stuff.

2. Bang around with the conversion for a while in a playtest setting.

3. Occasionally scrape some of the cooler stuff and post it on the front page on Mr. Blog.

4. Once happy with conversion, produce a PDF for download linked too off my blog.

I am on step 0.5a: dither about technology.

I spent the entire week looking for a good way to put together a WP + Wiki combination with the WP as the root and the wiki as pages of the site. The best I can find is to set up an independent Wiki build in a /wiki directory under root and theme the wiki to look as close to the CSS running on the blog as possible.

I did look at the WP/Wiki embedded solutions and only found two that came near to working: WP-Wiki and WordPress Wiki.  They were both underpowered, slow, and had a difficult time linking across pages with wiki tags.  Neither were more powerful than writing flat pages and hand-crafting the URLs.  Neither provided much in a way of good Wiki functionality.  Wordpress Wiki might be better with the paid-for version, but why would I shell out $35 when the internet is littered with Wiki software?

Bluehost offers me four possibilities of wiki software:

  • MediaWiki, the Great Standard
  • PmWiki
  • DokuWiki
  • WikkaWiki

I have a comparison chart of the different systems generated over here on wiki matrix.  It sort of feels like a push between DokuWiki and MediaWiki.  The biggest difference seems to be that DokuWiki uses file storage and MediaWiki uses the database.  My gut tells me I should simply use the ANSI Standard and not fret even though it isn’t mobile friendly, but MediaWiki has terrible support for commenting systems.  (Although this may cure my issues.) On the other hand, DokuWiki only has simple tables.  Decisions, decisions.

If my aim was to give a full encyclopedia fronted by a blog, it might be worth migrating to a full-blown CMS like, yah, Drupal, but that’s more power than I really need.  I need a blog, I need an easy way to generate static content, I need comments on the static content, and that’s about it.  The WP wiki plugins are terrible and the static page authoring tools are too wimpy, so I need a wiki that works but I don’t need a huge moving van.

I do wish the WP Wiki plugins were more usable because they would have my life much simpler.  I was stunningly unimpressed.  Sure, I got my themes, but they worked spectacularly poorly with WP-Wiki surprisingly better than the WordPress Wiki plugin.  The WordPress Wiki plugin didn’t seem to do wikilinks at all and the WP-Wiki didn’t know how to build subdirectories.  I may give them another shot, though, before I bite the bullet and stand up a second system.

So that’s where I’m going with this.  I’ll have a report once it is up and running.