FAQ for people used to Wikipedia and other MediaWiki wikis


This page is a FAQ page for users used to Wikipedia and other MediaWiki [1] wikis. In Project Oekonux we chose MoinMoin because at the time of the decision there was a slight technological superiority opening more options for its use. If you are interested in the reasons you may want to consult the requirements which have been found then.

[1]MediaWiki is the name of the software used for Wikipedia and other Wikis. The software running this Wiki is called MoinMoin.

However, MediaWiki and it's use is widely known and thus Project Oekonux strives to make the use of this MoinMoin wiki as easy to MediaWiki users as possible. This FAQ is one attempt to do so. If you are a MediaWiki user and have questions not covered here feel free to contact projekt@oekonux.de.

Question and answers

Of all users

What about the namespace concept?

Most of the namespaces in MediaWiki are nothing else than a structuring facility establishing structure on a top level.

In MoinMoin there is no concept of namespaces in the sense of MediaWiki. However, there is the concept of sub pages [2] which have names containing one or more slashes (/).

[2]There are also sub pages in MediaWiki but they are rarely used in any area but the Users: namespace.

In MoinMoin we map the concept of namespaces to the top level sub pages of the wiki. So if you have a page named Oekonux:Project in MediaWiki it would be named Oekonux/Project in MoinMoin.

Please note that sub pages are more flexible than namespaces because they allow for more than one level or semantic hierarchy.

What about the Users: namespace?

Unfortunately the Users: namespace as such can not be easily modeled into MoinMoin. The homepages of users need to stay on the top level so the MediaWiki page Users:JohnDoe is mapped to JohnDoe in MoinMoin.

What about the Special: namespace?

The Special: namespace in MediaWiki does not lead to normal pages but to pages which are generated dynamically by the software.

In MoinMoin such pages (and a lot more) are modeled by macros. So what in MediaWiki reads Special:RecentChanges in MoinMoin is written [[RecentChanges]].

What about the Talk: namespace?

Actually the Talk: namespace in MediaWiki reachable by the Discussion tab is not a namespace in the sense of the other namespaces. Instead it is an add-on for pages in all namespaces.

In MoinMoin this is modeled by sub pages. However, instead of tagging the term Talk in the very front of the name of a page in MoinMoin this is added to the end. So for the MediaWiki page name Oekonux_Talk:Project in MoinMoin the name Oekonux/Project/Talk is used.

To foster similarity to MediaWiki wikis most of the page templates for this wiki contain a link to a /Talk sub page.

Of editors

I'm used to MediaWiki syntax. Can I use it in this Wiki?

By default MoinMoin has a slightly different syntax then MediaWiki. However, MoinMoin can support many languages if only a parser is available for it. There is a parser for MediaWiki syntax which can be used for this Wiki. All you have to do is to put

#format media

in the very first line of your document. From that point on MediaWiki syntax is recognized.

Currently the parser does not support the full MediaWiki syntax but a considerable subset of it. For most pages this subset is completely sufficient.

For an extensive list of supported and unsupported features please check the documentation of the parser. If you feel that some special feature is really missing from that parser please go to the FeatureRequests page.

Though I'm used to MediaWiki syntax I think it sucks. Any alternatives?

Because in principle MoinMoin supports different syntaxes the general answer is: Yes, you can use other syntaxes if and when the parser plug-in for it exists and is installed. The default parser for MoinMoin parses the MoinMoin syntax.

In this Wiki by default we use a variant without automatic CamelCase links and without InterWiki links without special markup. If you want CamelCase and InterWiki links put

#format wiki

in the first line of your page. The MoinMoin wiki markup language has more options than the MediaWiki markup language but still is quite illogical.

Otherwise a very promising ASCII based markup is reStructuredText. It is far more logical than any wiki markup language and it has a set of nice features. If you want to use it put

#format rst

in the first line of your page.

I tried to create a new page and ended up on this page offering templates. What's this?

In MoinMoin it is possible to have page templates. A page templates are an easy way to help people to conform to some style guide lines established for the given wiki. They are created by the maintainers of the wiki.

The name of a page template is build from the type of page the page template is for and the suffix Template (in English). So for instance a page template meant for talk pages is named TalkTemplate.

In a sense a page template bundles some general knowledge about the wiki ready to be used by the users of the wiki. Of course you can start a new page from scratch but usually it makes more sense to use an existing page template.

Page templates, ok. What about the MediaWiki templates?

In MoinMoin the term "template" is used differently than in MediaWiki. In MoinMoin a template is a page template [3] while in MediaWiki it is more like a function call in a programming language.

[3]The concept of page templates is probably not known in MediaWiki.

In general there are two ways to get the functionality of MediaWiki templates in MoinMoin. MediaWiki templates which are used as shortcuts for links are mapped to InterWiki links. For instance a link to the posting containing the requirements for this wiki in the archive of the project mailing list [pox] is named poxArchive:04957 which expands to the rather long link http://www.oekonux.de/projekt/liste/archive/msg04957.html. You probably agree that the former is easier to type :-) . Such a link can be used as any other link. In particular it can be used together with a display text. If your favorite link target is not yet supported by this wiki please contact projekt@oekonux.de about it.

MediaWiki templates not building shortcuts for links generally can be mapped to MoinMoin macros. If the functionality you need is not yet supported by this wiki please contact projekt@oekonux.de about it.


OekonuxWiki/Help/MediaWikiFAQ (last edited 2006-08-11 18:03:59 by StefanMerten)

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