What Is a Wiki?

Unlike a conventional content management system (CMS), which specializes in creating and managing multiple pages of a website, a wiki is a system designed for collaboration between multiple participants and where all changes are archived for future reference. While many of the core features of wikis have been integrated into other CMSs (like WordPress), Mediawiki remains arguably the best wiki software available1.

In this article we’ll cover:

The Same Engine That Powers Wikipedia

MediaWiki gives you the same functionality behind one of the world’s most widely visited websites, Wikipedia. Basically, if you use MediaWiki it’s like having your own Wikipedia.

Security Matters

MediaWiki comes with onboard security features that help you manage users. User control is critical to managing a successful wiki. A set of rules allows you to control which user has privileges to make changes, edits, or to protect pages. Controlling who can do what on your wiki will make sure you have the most accurate and complete information available on your site.

Do I Need MediaWiki?

It’s best to approach the issue this way: you can achieve many wiki-like features in other CMSs, but there’s a point at which augmenting your current CMS becomes limiting and you will get a better return on investment by simply installing Mediawiki.

MediaWiki Styles and “Skins”

All base installations of MediaWiki have the same look and feel. They basically look just like Wikipedia, because they use the same “skin.” But you’re not required to use the default skin. You can choose between multiple included skins, or design your own. Like any other website, your wiki is completely customizable. You can control the layout, colors, and functionality of your site.

Footnotes:

1
For a detailed history of wikis and further reference see MediaWiki 1.1 Beginner’s Guide by Jeff Orlof and Mizanur Rahman.

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