help with new install?

B Root
  • B Root
    B Root

    I installed 1.2.11 as the latest stable release. Is there any documentation on this version?

    I see some traffic on the forums here but not a lot of active support. Is PhpWiki being actively supported? It seems like the kind of wiki I've been looking for but the "how to" and management capabilities in the version I have installed appear to be absent, or very opaque at the least, so I'm seeking advice.

    For example, how do I start a clean (virigin) wiki? How do I admin the site and allow users to work on the wiki? Etc.

    Appreciate the help.

    • B Root
      B Root

      I did some research following Mary Sue's response and narrowed my choices to PMWiki and DocuWiki. This wikimatrix compares them along with MediaWiki and TikiWiki CMS [ ].

      I plan to try both Doku and PMWiki since they both meet my criteria for being lightweight, easy to setup and use, customizable, documented and flat file based (eliminating MySQL hassles and reducing the burden on my hosting server support team).

      Right now I'm running DokuWiki standalone off a USB stick using the MicroApache server. So far it works great!

      I wish PhpWiki was more viable, but it's time for me to move on.


      • Bernard Bel
        Bernard Bel

        Looking at the matrix you linked with the background of my current use of PhpWiki, I found almost ten reasons for prefering PmWiki to DokuWiki. (Details would be off-topic here.)

        Even though I now feel confident using a MySQL database for storing hundreds of pages, it is worth anticipating problems. Many of us are used to driving a comfortable car on a highway. Simple, isn't it? Until the engine breaks on a rainy day and nobody is around to assist you! Dependency on a database system (when it's possible to do the same things without a database) must be kept in mind as a possible source of trouble. If the host of my wiki sites suddenly decides to upgrade MySQL to a version that turns out no longer being compatible with PhpWiki, it will be a bad scenario.

        Still it remains a matter of debate because a database might be more efficient than "flat files" in handling websites with thousands of pages.

        My colleagues urged me to move to a popular and well-supported environment. My preference would be PmWiki after hours of investigation today. On Wikipedia I found a page explaining how to convert PhpWiki pages to WikiMedia and the scripts can easily be hacked for other wikis. A great feature of PhpWiki (which compensates for the uncertainty of running it with a database) is that the Zip export provides (in a single click) all pages in text (UTF8) format with metadata on the top. This makes it very easy to script-modify all pages and export the whole set to another environment, including basic HTML.

        For this reason I don't feel panicked about a possible crash. Every night I store back-ups of my sites, carefully checking that the Zip archive is complete (which for some strange reason is not always the case). I store a whole week stack of back-ups. With this precaution I convinced my colleagues that we should continue using the nice PhpWiki environment until we get evidence that it is no longer actively supported. (For example, the toolbar in PhpWiki 1.3.14 editor works better than the similar one on PmWiki, as the latter fails to write certain tags around selected text... These are tiny differences that mean a lot to my colleagues!)

        As per today the latest release (1.3.14) was in July 2007:
        but I feel a bit tense noticing that no changes have been documented beyond 1.3.13:

        The protocol we decided for resolving this issue is the following:

        1) Check that a new version of PhpWiki has been released over a year, in the month of July;
        2) If not, move to another wiki environment during the month of August;
        3) Meanwhile, keep looking for and trying other wikis, and maintain all scripts ready for a quick migration.

        Bernard Bel

    • Bernard Bel
      Bernard Bel

      If your installation is based on MySQL I can share some of my experience.

      First I believe that it is best (and safe) to install 1.3.14. I have been running it for two years now on several sites hosted by different providers and it never crashed. At least one of my sites has grown very large and nothing bad ever happened. (Though you should know that there is an approx. 32,000 chars size limit for each page, otherwise they just get truncated.)

      1.3.14 has nice features in the page editor that the previous version was missing.

      I also checked moving PhpWiki websites using the ZIP snapshot and ZIP dump features. It worked perfectly. It is really great to back-up an entire site with a single click.

      To install 1.3.14 with MySQL you need to fix a few bugs in the distribution... I documented it here:

      Feel confident! When I installed PhpWiki I was still a beginner in PHP and MySQL, and I stayed alive. ;-)

      I can send you the config that I used for my sites if you get in touch directly: bernarbel(at)

      Currenly I am trying to hide strange debugging messages that are displayed on my installations (even though nothing ever seems to go wrong). A simple hack consists in inserting "define('DEBUG', false);" at the top of phpwiki/lib/main.php. I would like to find a more elegant solution.

      When you follow the installation scheme you get a default wiki site that contains the help pages in the installation language. Your name as an admin and your password are in the config file. To create a user, just sign in with a new name that should be a "wiki word", for instance "ThisIsMe". Then you become a "bogo user". To become a normal user go to the preferences and save a password. It is not nice to stay a bogo user because anybody can modify your pages and, worse, put their own password so that you no longer can log in!

      I also have a little experience of the method for making a page invisible except for the owner - the SETACL procedure. It is poorly documented and I am certainly using a fraction of available features.

      Despite the lack of documentation I strongly recommend the use of PhpWiki. The groups of users sharing my wiki websites are quite happy with its appearance and editing facilities.

      A few of my sites:

      Enjoy it and share your experience!

      Bernard Bel

      • B Root
        B Root

        Bernard -

        Thank you. I guess I will try the 1.3 install, since you have had such good experience with it (judging from your websites).
        The lack of documentation is frustrating, though, and there has been such little activity on the forums that I was wondering if the code is still actively supported.
        Have you tried communicating with the principal developers/authors to improve on support?

        Thank you.


        • We recently converted our php wiki to another wiki because our server advised that we needed to have a wiki that was being actively supported. In the latest php upgrade by our server we lost it and even though we were able to get it so it could be read again, a lot of things didn't work and we were worried that with future php upgrades that would be the end of it. The sample php wiki to try out on still doesn't work.

          We had our php wiki for more than five years and it served us well. It was very disappointing to have to spend a great deal of time converting. If I were just starting with a wiki, I'd go with one where there are developers who are still interested in it.

          Mary Sue

          • Reini Urban
            Reini Urban

            The sample php wiki to try out on still doesn't work.

            Hi, as speaking as the admin and representing our active developers are probably are just very busy in getting 1.3.15 out.

            about 1.2: It's stable, so it is not developed anymore. stable is stable. Only serious bugfixes lead to a release update.

            about the situation: it is not possible to maintain our wiki there anymore. first they cut 1.3 because of database issues (persistent connections), then we had to move to a shared NFS drive for gdbm, then this didn't work anymore, then we lost our shell accounts, to maintain it properly, then we experienced proxy caching problems that are not experienced elsewhere, ... we are looking for two years for a new demo wiki hoster.

            about lack of active support: one guy sprang in to recommend you 1.3.14 which is a fine recommendation, thanks. nothing more to add from our side.
            see the phpwiki-checkins list archive if we are still active or not.

            • Bernard Bel
              Bernard Bel

              > see the phpwiki-checkins list archive if we are still active or not.

              The phpwiki-checkins forum is empty!

              The phpwiki-talk displays 8 postings, none of which has been replied, and the latest one dates back to January 2008...

              I had posted a message indicating several bugs in the 1.3.14 install files in November 2007
              but the distribution package is still unchanged

              Though I am extremely enthusiastic using PhpWiki, I have started investigating methods for converting my wiki sites to MediaWiki, and I will certainly do it next Summer unless I see proofs of activity on this project. I feel sorry about it but my colleagues would not appreciate that I take such a risk on their work.

              Bernard Bel

          • B Root
            B Root

            Mary Sue -

            Thank you for the feedback. The apparent lack of support / developer interest is my main concern about PhpWiki. Other than that, it seems to be just the thing I'm looking for.

            What are you using instead?

            • Bob
            • We switched to pmwiki,

              There are many people actively working on this wiki and a lot of instructions for how to use it. The basic package was installed by one of our users on his server so we could play with it before we committed. He said it took him about 5 seconds to get it working. It comes with just the basics and then there are more than 300 recipes you can add to it and quite a few skins you can choose from as well. Our wiki was really simple so we are started out with only a couple of extra recipes.

              When I was looking for for a new wiki when told I had to convert to I found these two pages really helpful:
              These sites show recent upgrades and activity for each of the wikis.

              Over the past few years there has been little traffic on this list and questions aren't always answered. On the new wiki there is daily traffic on their users list with many people working on solutions.

              Obviously I'm going to be unsubscribing from this list since I no longer need it. And I repeat that we loved our php wiki. We had over 900 pages however and didn't want to lose all our work in the future if it went down and there was no one available to help us figure out what to do to restore it.

              Mary Sue

          • Bernard Bel
            Bernard Bel

            Mary, before you quit this forum, can you suggest a method for converting PhpWiki to pmwiki ?

            Bernard Bel

        • Bernard Bel
          Bernard Bel

          I confirm that 1.3.14 is a stable release in the MySQL environment. If you get strange debugging messages we can hack the PHP code to prevent them from being displayed.

          Documentation is on the basic wiki site installed by default. There is even documentation in several languages, e.g. if a use sets up her navigation language in another language, then documentation pages will automatically be created in that language. I have seen it happen in French, Spanish, German... and I guess it would be the case for a few more languages. I also modified and created documentation pages on
 to explain how to insert pictures and embedded objects. See for instance

          (that can be translated to English)

          The PhpWiki code is supported at least by one person who replies on this forum when time permits. The project is active although I believe that it is progressing at a slow speed. For instance, bugs in the installation package that I had pointed out in the 1.3.14 version have not yet been fixed.

          Being myself a developer for a SourceForge project, I can tell that developers feel more like responding when they get users' comments... There is a lack on an active community of users for this software, no doubt!

          Bernard Bel