a toolbox for faculty
Wee announcement at MPOW today about a new service we’re rolling out called the 2.0 Toolbox. It’s a suite of 2.0 tools we’re hosting for faculty which, at the moment, consists of installed blogs (using WordPress MU) and wikis (using PmWiki).
As you probably know, WordPress MU is a multi-user blogging environment (hence the “MU”) that allows users to set up their own blogs with a couple of clicks. It’s pretty sweet overall, but we’ve had our fair share of tussles over getting the admin end to work over SSL (thanks to Kevin Gilbertson at Wake Forest and Karen Coombs for putting up with my numerous questions and sharing their code! And to my super-patient colleague, John Fink, for being a troubleshooting superhero). PmWiki, on the other hand, has been nothing but golden, from an administrative perspective. Installation took all of 6 minutes and configuring the installation as a “wiki farm” took another 3 minutes.
The deal with PmWiki is that data is stored in html files (not databased), which is probably why administration is so lightweight. I’m trying to steer clear of local configurations on a per-wiki basis to keep upgrades streamlined, but we’ll see how long I can stay that course. The only real drawback with PmWiki is the lack of native support for wysiwyg editors like FCKeditor and TinyMCE. Strict adherence to wiki markup is actually part of the PmWiki “philosophy”, which means no one should be holding their breath for that native support. The wiki purist in me gets that wiki markup is way more flexible, but the part of me that has to support faculty use of wikis is a little worried. Looks to me like some attempts have been made to integrate a wysiwyg editor, but those attempts do not look altogether successful. It’s certainly something I’ll continue to fiddle with and I’ve got a keen ear tuned to the developers’ list for any wysiwyg chatter.
Overall, it’s been a fun project to work on and I’m glad it’s out there and ready for action. Project updates right here as progress warrants!