Keeping a busy web site up-to-date with fresh, engaging content is hard work. There are time lines, multiple contributors, editing of content, and the graphical layout of the site. Content Management System (CMS) is a class of software that is suppose to make all these chores easy. SourceForge.net’s July project of the month, Tiki, is a project that executes on this promise and sports the latest content management features including: Wikis, Forums, Article/Submissions, Journals, templates and 370 other features. Tiki has been on SourceForge.net since October, 2002 and currently enjoys an activity ranking in the top ten of our 65,000 projects. The code is licensed under the LGPL and will run on any web server supporting PHP. The SF.NET is proud to make Tiki project of the month.
Tiki is a powerful CMS (Content Management System) and Groupware solution. Features: article, forum, newsletter, blog, file/image gallery, Wiki, drawing, tracker, directory, poll/survey and quiz, FAQ, chat, banner, webmail, calendar, category, ACL in single sign-on or LDAP. Written in PHP, using MySQL database backend and Smarty for templating.
Tiki runs on any operating system running a web server with PHP and MySQL support.
How did Tiki get started?
Luis: While there were a lot of open-source CMSes at the time Tiki was started, none really fulfilled the list of features we wanted; there were also a lot of problems with licensing and the way the projects were handled. Some CMSes started as free products and then started to offer paid releases. We wanted a completely free CMS without license restrictions and a huge list of features — Tiki was created.
Garland: When we started, there were very nice pieces of software written in PHP, some good CMS systems, nice forums, blogs and even nice Wikis. We wanted all of those features in a single package, so users, permissions and administration can be shared. We wanted to provide a catch-all super-free application knowing that time was on our side. That’s how Tiki was started and we can’t stop it now — it’s a gigantic snowball.
What is your intended audience?
Any website (wow), companies running intranets or extranets, universities and schools (we have a strong hope to use Tiki in education), online communities, hobbyists, and your own home.
What does Tiki do?
Tiki is a general-purpose content management system; it can be used in intranets, online communities, portals, forums, education and many other applications.
What makes Tiki unique?
Tiki is a full-featured content management system (CMS) with many features; it has a lot of unique details. We have a workflow engine, graphic creation and editing using jGraphPad, XML-RPC interface to edit blogs using desktop tools, graph generation of Wiki pages, pdf generation, Wiki structures, quizzes, configurable trackers, a caching system to cache external links in any object, categories, themes that can be changed for individual sections and object support.
What gave you an indication that your project was becoming successful?
Garland: When someone downloaded 0.9, our first release. As long as Tiki can be useful to at least one single user, we are being successful.
What has been your biggest challenge?
Luis: World domination.
Garland: Keeping the balance between number of features and quality of features. We decided to start adding as many features as we could, as fast as possible, so more and more users can help us to refine the features. We will start to be focused on making features better, more often than adding new features (expand first, conquer later). Maintaining the documentation and the translations to different languages is also a big challenge.
What are you most proud of?
The Tiki online community; we are constantly getting ideas, feedback and suggestions from the mailing lists and SF.net forums. Somehow, we were lucky enough to find a group of very intelligent and nice people interested in Tiki.
Why do you think your project has been so well received?
Luis: Tiki is an application with a zillion features; and yet, a simple and friendly approach to the user. It’s easy to install, easy to use and has very complete documentation. You can turn off all the features (but one) and have a nice Wiki, Forum software or blogging software, etc. If you need to add a feature to your site, you don’t need to download another PHP product; just enable the feature and roll. Another key aspect is the use of Smarty and templates, so you can easily customize Tiki to look as anything you want without touching a single line of PHP code.
Garland: We have a very friendly and open-minded approach to open-source development, we welcome everybody to help us and discuss Tiki features and implementation. I have found that elitism is a very common disease in Open Source communities and we want to avoid that by all means.
Where do you see your project going?
Luis: Our goal is to produce an application that you really want to use to make whatever you do easier. We are releasing a full-fledged Workflow engine with 1.7 and, as usual, we have a lot of new features and interesting improvements planned for future versions.
Garland: Our next version 1.7 -Eta Carinae- (scheduled for mid-July 2003) will add some new features and dramatically improve others as well as usability, it will be a bigger release much more usable and nice to the user. Then for 1.8 we want to target the enterprise and education areas, we’ll be adding features and improving others to make Tiki attractive in companies, schools and universities. The workflow engine, quizzes and other important areas will be extensively surveyed to improve them.
Garland (continued): In 1.9, we’ll focus on performance and scalability to make Tiki very attractive to hosting companies and big websites as well as hobbyists that have a large user base. The 2.0 version will be the result of testing, fixing and improving the 1.6-1.9 releases we may not add any feature to 2.0 but concentrate in making it very fast, stable and usable. Then we’ll start to survey the extensive list of RFEs and plan new features for 2.1.
How can others contribute?
Luis: Tiki has so many features, and so many planned features, that anyone can help. We need developers, artists, translators and more developers. If you think you can help us making this product better just contact us, write to firstname.lastname@example.org to get started.
Do you work on the Tiki project full-time, or do you have another job?
Somehow, I need some money to survive, so I do have a full-time paid job; Tiki is a part-time occupation.
How do you coordinate the project?
Developers are free to do whatever they want so long as they don’t dramatically change an existing feature. They have to make whatever they add optional. They can fix bugs or develop planned features as they want. We have a task list of things to do for each new version and developers can pick things they would like from the list and begin coding. We have an ordered chaos.
What is your development environment like?
I use a Linux box and a Windows XP box; I use Eclipse to code.
What’s on your project wish list?
Luis: I’d really like to have a developer or group of developers in charge of different Tiki features so they can focus in making each Tiki feature as good as any ad-hoc PHP application in that field. It would be really nice to make Tiki an application that you can use instead of a lot of different PHP applications. Some artists contributing to make a better user interface are also needed.
Garland: In my opinion, it would be great to get some company to sponsor the project so we can get more time from our key developers, organize meetings and present Tiki in some events.
- Oct-09-2002 0.9 -Spica-
- Oct-29-2002 1.0 -Ras Alghetti-
- Nov-01-2002 1.1 -Capella-
- Nov-19-2002 1.2 -Antares-
- Dec-05-2002 1.3 -Pollux-
- Dec-19-2002 1.4 -Mira-
- Feb-18-2003 1.5 -Regulus-
- May-25-2003 1.6 -Tau Ceti-
- Jul-16-2003 1.7 -Eta Carinae-