Why JSP Wiki vs InsertAnyOtherWikiEngineHere???#

There are dozens of different WikiWiki engines out there. What makes JSPWiki special among them? In my opinion, three things. First, JSPWiki is written in Java. This is an important point to me as Java is the language I put eight hours of work to each workday. A side issue to this is that the code of JSPWiki is pretty well written - even though I disagree with some of Janne's coding standards.

The second good thing about JSPWiki is that it is the only actively developed Java-based WikiWiki engine[1]. This is important as things do change and there are never really enough features for everybody. An active development community is a must for any open source program, let alone a WikiWiki engine.

The third minor point is that the installation of JSPWiki is very painless. If you have a Debian system you can even use an unofficial Debian package but even the basic installation is almost trivial, if you already have Tomcat (with or without Apache) working.

Go ahead, add your reasons to this. --Killer


[#1] SourceForge hosts some java wiki engines, VeryQuickWiki and DevWiki are active projects now, but JSPWiki has more good features in my opinion. --JoseMRus.

There is also SnipSnap and XWiki

Actually, as of 6/29/2007, SnipSnap is no longer being developed, so that shouldn't be considered as an ACTIVE project any longer...
(Alhough Radeox, its underlying engine, is still being managed.) --SteveLin


How active is the development of JSPWiki? For projects in SourceForge I can get an idea of activity and popularity based on some metrics like CVS commits, date of releases, number of developers, page visits, downloads, etc.

About popularity, I looked for java wiki engines in SourceForge, FreshMeat, java.net and the "Product Announcements" section of JavaLobby, where JSPWiki has no presence. More marketing, more users.

--JoseMRus

A good way to see the activity is to read the ChangeLog of the daily releases, or to see the older releases -page. Since it's summer right now, things have been very quiet for the past few weeks, but perhaps we can pick up the speed again shortly.

I'll have to think about JavaLobby, etc. We'll probably announce the 2.2 release somewhere.

-- JanneJalkanen, 06-Aug-2003


I'm a very extensive Twiki user, and although it's not written in Java, I have to say that it's markup syntax is much superior to everything else I've seen. For example, you use asterisk quotes to create *bold* and slash quotes for /italics/ equals quotes for =monospaced= and headings are easy to read in plain text because you prepend them with ---+ for example, or ---+++ for a third level heading. HTML works. Stuff is linked implicitly; you don't have to bracket anything. There is a tag <nop> that prevents this behavior.

If there was a Java version of Twiki that behaved like this, that would be great. There are lots of other features that I haven't listed, but these are the ones that annoy me the most about this particular version of Wiki. Triple braces for a code block??? That seems particularly heinous.

--AnonymousCoward

Well, all Wikis have their own markup. I personally consider the TWiki markup powerful, yet immensely cryptic and error-prone :). IMX (In My Experience) the TWiki markup is the most difficult of all variants to pick up by inexperienced people, with perhaps the SocialText and MoinMoin style being the easiest. JSPWiki mostly follows the PhpWiki markup style (though they are now in the process of changing it). It's all a big WikiMarkupMess anyway, which we won't get rid of until we get WysiWygWikis.

--JanneJalkanen

The best could be anything like a WYSIWYG editor, in Java or so. Does someone know a simple java/applet based editor which could be used plugin-like? The next could be a facility which makes hyperlinking, navigation and retreiving a look to the contents easier and handier. If not the first place. I think JSPWiki is a good start and works nicely. Will go on with testing and perhaps trying to mess up a bit the code.

--Oliver

TinyMCE is a full wysiwyg editor written in javascript. It works well and can be plugged in easily because it is all javascript.

--Jerry

Regarding the WYSIWYG issue... PostNuke uses an applet to enable WYSIWYG editing, and BBCode as the markup. It's not perfect, but works pretty good. It even prompts you before enabling WYSIWYG, allowing you to work directly with the source.

--Paedagogus

I'm also interested in the ideas behind the basic markup, please check out WikiMarkupDevelopment. Concering the WYSIWYG, please have a look at the AdvancedEditingShowcase.

-- BorisFolgmann


Regarding WIKI with WYSIWYG editor issue... \ In my experience the BEST one is; http://www.seedwiki.com/page.cfm \ You can choose 1 of 4 editors, the default choice is the best one to me,\ You can switch to HTML representation of what you have,\ You can Download a page to your PC,\ You can have security administration on pages,\ It is hosted, hence you don't need to worry about installation etc (viewed as a disadvantage by some)\ And other normal WIKI features.\ I beleive its strongest point is its Editor being just like MSWord.\ Check it out (I'm not related to seedwiki folks by any means).\

Peace,\ -- ilker


I think the WYSIWYG approach is fine and dandy but not a complete solution for a couple reasons:
  1. It's always slower to click than to type. Some people will prefer to be able to type in their markup.
  2. It should be simple to paste in content from other sources

The only real solution would be a MeatballWiki:WikiMarkupStandard, but in the meantime a good route to go might be editors that let you toggle between markup standards. I wonder if a single ECMAScript routine could do client-side conversion of the editor window textbox between standards? Then you could edit as you please and submit in the standard used by the underlying engine.

--LorrinNelson


I did some tests with javascript to enhance the current editor. It makes it easier for people that don't use the editor every day to learn the formatting. I'd like to create a JavascriptEditor for this

-- GeertVanDamme


The way jsp wiki has been set up with preview doesn't work with my web browser. You type something in, preview it to check it for typos, are told to backspace on your browser and all you entered is gone so you have to re-enter. Hmm. AndrewCates

Which browser are you using? It works for me in IE, Mozilla, and Safari. -- MichaelGentry

Mozilla. It works ok in IE. I'd have to say that otherwise JSP is pretty good and I've tried a lot of wikis AndrewCates


JanneJalkanen,I have a question:Xwiki Wiki is also a wiki engine written in java. What do you think about Xwiki wiki,in comparison with the JspWiki? -- Joe

I think XWiki looks more like a full-blown content management system than a wiki. I'm sure it's great ;-)

-- JanneJalkanen


Hi all, XWiki is actually a real wiki, and believe me it is great, although I do have a bias since I'm working with Ludovic on the project. Actually XWiki is much more than a wiki, you're right, but the idea is to apply the wiki approach to other domains. So for instance, in XWiki you can define XWiki classes and object instances, and use velocity or groovy to make that structured data come alive in a small application by working directly in wiki pages in a collaborative manner. So its also a development platform that hides a lot of complexity and doesn't force you to go through java to develop new and interesting features. For instance, our blog application was written using this XWiki technology.

-- Luis

Hi Luis, i choose JSPWiki because i don't have to know all of that frameworks like velocity, or pico or sutff like that. Just Servlets and JSP. And still I think it's hiding a lot of complexity as well. Too many developers moving to PHP because the entry barrier to contribute is just lower. JSPWiki shows that simplicity can work with Java too.

-- ChristophSauer

I am using XWiki in a test mode. It's a nice wiki, but severely lacking from a documentation, security and admin perspective. I prefer a Java because every system we have runs Java - I don't have to jump thru flaming hoops to install PHP on systems I don't have admin rights to. They have an "unstable" distro which runs Hypersonic and Jetty, theoretically just drop it in a directory & it will run, but it doesn't. I'm running a "stable" MySQL/Tomcat version, but it crashes IE on occasion. Basically, great potential in a 0.9 version which simply needs a lot more work before it's ready for a 1.0 release. Think I'll try JSP Wiki to see if it's any better... but I'm not uninstalling XWiki just yet...

If anyone has input into a better wiki than JSP- or X-, please let me know. My main requirements are doing developer collaboration and online documentation. It has to be locally installable for security & control issues. -- Kevyn

:On webconexion shared hosting XWIKI is very slow (5 to 15 seconds per page) compared to JSPWiki (<1 to 2 seconds). Xwiki has a very nice looking skin though. Documentation of XWiki is a lot worse than that for JSPWiki.


Another Java-based Wiki: JAMWiki

--J��rgenWeber, 10-Feb-2008


I had to do some wiki-shopping for a documentation server. I'd researched several wiki's and found JSPwiki to be superior to both MediaWiki and Dokuwiki.

JSPWiki advantages:

  • Wikiwizard editor - This hybrid WYSIWYG editor alone puts JSPwiki in a league of it's own.
  • Written in Java - This means it's modular, easy to extend, and professional. So many PHP based wiki's are sloppy and amateur.
  • Easy to deploy. No database, unless you want one. Awesome.
  • Highly customizable thanks to a few well documented config files.
  • Web 2.0 interface features.
  • Most elegant attachment handling I've seen.
  • Active development - JSPwiki is being actively developed and improved.
  • Easy to use. JSPwiki makes editing pages simple.

--Brad Bender, May 2008

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