My favorite hosted wiki: MindTouch Wik.is

MindTouch Wik.is Back in May I started looking for a hosted wiki for the EdmontonTweetup. I wanted a wiki so that others could contribute and help to organize our meetups. I also wanted a hosted wiki, because I didn’t want to mess around with running yet another system with yet another database. My only other requirements were that I wanted it to be free or very low cost, and relatively simple and clean (I would have been fine with some advertising).

I tried a bunch, including Wetpaint, Wikidot, PBWiki, StikiPad, Wikispaces, and finally Wik.is. I’ve had experience with both PBWiki and Wikispaces and like them both, but it was the last one that turned out to be my favorite. We’ve been using Wik.is by MindTouch to power the EdmontonTweetup wiki ever since! And today, I setup another one for Edmonton Code Camp.

Wik.is is a hosted version of Deki, the enterprise wiki solution that MindTouch sells to businesses. There are two account levels – Basic which is free, and Pro which costs $99 USD/year. The Basic level includes:

  • 100 MB of storage.
  • WYSIWYG editing.
  • The ability to have a public or private wiki.
  • Themes and the ability to edit CSS to further customize the look of the wiki.
  • Integration with popular sites like YouTube and Flickr.
  • RSS feeds, templates, redirects, and other common wiki features.

The Pro level gives you 10 GB of storage, the ability to customize the HTML, and the ability to use your own domain name.

I love that Wik.is is fast and contains no advertising! It’s simple to get started – all you need to do is choose a domain name prefix, such as “edmontoncodecamp” in http://edmontoncodecamp.wik.is. After you’re logged in you can make your wiki public, upload your own logo, and choose from one of the 20 or so pre-installed themes (or you can customize your own). You can enable anonymous editing, or require users to create an account before they can edit pages.

When I first started with Wik.is, my only complaint was that the WYSIWYG editing didn’t work in Opera or really anything other than IE and Firefox. That was fixed quite a while ago though, so I was complaint-free until today. After setting up the second wiki, I realized that there’s no such thing as a “Wik.is account”, which means I have two “mastermaq” accounts – one for the tweetup wiki and one for the code camp wiki. It would be much better if I could use just one account to login to both.

That’s a fairly minor issue though! In general I’m really happy with Wik.is, and I highly recommend it if you’re looking for a hosted wiki solution. I’m also a fan of MindTouch! They have an active blog, and a few of them are quite active on Twitter, such as the founder, Aaron Roe Fulkerson. Keep it up!

Finally, here are a few things you probably didn’t know about Deki (the software that powers Wik.is):

  • It started in July 2006 as a fork of MediaWiki (the software that powers Wikipedia)
  • The frontend is built using PHP, while the API is written in C# for Mono and the .NET Framework
  • It powers the Mozilla Developer Wiki

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