administrators (intermediate) There are many ways to configure PmWiki:WikiFarms, and some of the documentation uses different terminology to describe the same things. This page attempts to explain the terminology.

Why is this page needed?

  • to provide a place to find the preferred terminology with definitions
  • to explain where the term "farm" came from
  • to list various terms that have been deprecated but still exist in the docs
  • to suggest alternate terms for the deprecated ones

The origins of WikiFarms

The term WikiFarm was coined based on the similarity of a collection of wikis to a "server farm", which is a collection of servers usually supported by a common infrastructure. Some recipe and documentation authors began writing about WikiFarms using agricultural terms such as field, farmer, barn, crop, and tractor. In some cases, these additional terms and the attempt to make them fit an agricultural metaphor made the documentation more confusing.

It is suggested that documentation authors only use the term farm, and avoid any of the other agricultural terms, as tempting as they may be.

Wikis and components in a WikiFarm

All of the wikis in a wiki farm have more or less the same directory structure. If you have set up your farm following the instructions on WikiFarms, then the so-called "home wiki" is the one that contains the components shared by all the others. In particular, the home wiki contains pmwiki.php and local/farmconfig.php.

It is possible to move some of the shared components completely outside of the webroot and still have all the wikis in the farm share them. The general rule is: any component that is accessed by a file reference (such as a PHP include) can be located anywhere in the file system, while any component that is accessed by a URL (such as the skin definitions) must be in a servable directory.

Authors writing about these more complex farm set ups often have difficulty describing the components and their locations. However, it is probably not necessary or desireable to coin new terms for the components and their locations.

Suggested terms

A collection of two or more wikis running on the same web server and sharing a set of common components.
home wiki
The wiki in a farm that contains the components shared by all the others. In particular, the home wiki contains pmwiki.php and local/farmconfig.php
PmWiki engine
The software that makes PmWiki work, as opposed to the content of the wiki that readers see.
PmWiki installation directory
If you do a standard, single install of PmWiki, it goes into this directory.

Ambiguous terms

Installation directory
Installation of what? Some authors have used this to mean the directory that contains most of the shared components on a wiki farm. Others use it to mean a directory that has a complete standalone installation of PmWiki that is not part of a farm.
PmWiki installation
This is sometimes used to indicate a process, sometimes used to mean a single wiki in a farm, and sometimes refers only to the shared components of a farm.

Deprecated terms that should not be used

These terms still exist in the documentation (pending revisions), and will live forever in the PmWiki-Users list archive.

farm directory
The directory in which the home wiki lives or a directory where the shared components are stored.
Any wiki in a farm which is not the home wiki.
farm administrator
An administrator who has access to all of the wikis in a farm, particularly the home wiki.
field administrator
An administrator who has access to one or more wikis in a farm, but not the home wiki.
The place where common components are stored.
Packaged content and customizations that can be added to a wiki. See Cookbook:ListOfBundles for similar ideas.
The PmWiki engine or pmwiki.php itself.

Categories: WikiFarms

This page may have a more recent version on PmWiki:WikiFarmTerminology, and a talk page: PmWiki:WikiFarmTerminology-Talk.

Page last modified by NeilHerber, March 19, 2006, at 01:56 AM