Created as a simple solution for managing documentation, DokuWiki has evolved into a powerful and flexible wiki suitable for most tasks involving collaborative editing. DokuWiki doesn't use a database back end (all pages are stored as plain text files), which makes it easy to install and maintain.
Wiki software is a kind of collaborative software that runs a wiki system. This usually allows web pages to be created and edited using a common web browser. It is generally implemented as a software engine that runs on one or more web servers, with the content stored in a file system, and content changes kept in a relational database management system.
Wikis are a great way to collaborate on text documents, but different wikis sometimes use incompatible wiki markup languages, and few wikis provide simple WYSIWYG editors to shorten the learning curve. Even for those fluent in wiki markup, using a word processor to create wiki content is often more convenient -- especially for publishing existing documents and for creating complex tables. Now the newly available Sun Wiki Publisher simplifies the process of publishing an OpenOffice.org Writer document directly to a compatible MediaWiki wiki from OpenOffice.org 2.4 or later without the need for a Web browser.
For a lot of programmers, writing an application is fun, but writing its manual is not. Adding new features, refining the product, and responding to users' input are all more rewarding than writing instructions on how to use the software. However, good documentation is necessary to have happy, informed users who can contribute meaningfully to future development. A few months ago, Gilbert Ashley, the author of src2pkg (Slackware's "magic package maker") invited me and two other people to help him manage the user documentation for his program. The process we used to create the src2pkg wiki may be a useful example for other free and open source software (FOSS) application developers.
One of the most welcome additions to OpenOffice.org 2.3 is a new export filter that allows you to save Writer documents as MediaWiki-formatted pages. That's all fine and dandy if you are using MediaWiki, but what about other wiki systems?
While you can quickly find an article about a particular topic using Wikipedia's search capabilities, there are other ways to explore the online encyclopedia that break away from the traditional search box approach. With Indywiki, for instance, once you've found the article you're looking for, you can continue to browse related topics visually, because Indywiki processes the current and related articles and extracts images from them. When you click on an image, Indywiki displays the article that the picture links to.