BostonPHP: MediaWiki in Production

Earlier this week, I was happy to have the chance for Optaros to host a BostonPHP meeting again – we used to do so in the old Canal St. offices but hadn’t done so in a while – certainly not since moving to Milk St.

The topic was MediaWiki in production, with presentations by Greg Rundlett of Harvard’s Initiative in Innovative Computing (IIC) and Daniel Barrett, who wrote the (O’Reilly) book on MediaWiki, and uses it in production at VistaPrint.

Greg Rundlett presents at BostonPHP
Greg Rundlett presents at BostonPHP

Dan Barrett gets ready to present at BostonPHP
Dan Barrett gets ready to present at BostonPHP

Greg’s presentation, appropriately enough, is in the format of a MediaWiki page. He provided an overview of wikis in general as well as some of the other activites of the MediaWiki Foundation, then got right into details of MedaWiki syntax, built in features, and plugins.

Daniel Barrett’s presentation (which he was kind enough to send to me and allow me to post – thanks Dan) focused more on how to deploy a successful wiki, including six lessons:

  1. It’s not about the technology
  2. Know the strengths and weaknesses of the platform
  3. Know the culture of the enterprise
  4. Pre-structure the wiki and write stubs
  5. Integrate with legacy systems
  6. Measure your results

There was also good time for Q & A at the end, including a number of questions that were as much about corporate culture as technology: how to handle “potentially dangerous” procedures, how to deal with employees who horde information in search of job security, and the like.

Looking forward to next month’s BostonPHP which will be Jesse Burns facilitating a “PHP IDE Bakeoff” – February 11th, 6:30 pm, at Optaros Boston (More detail on – please RSVP if you plan to attend).


  1. I wondered if I’d hear from you (and Ross) on this one – but remember it is the BostonPHP group, not the Boston Mono user’s group. ;)

    Of course anyone interested in wikis should consider all the available options . . .

  2. Haha…Have you seen that code base? I encourage you to download the source and check it out.

    While it is true MindTouch Deki is implemented largely in .NET/Mono the architecture is such that it can be, and is regularly, extended in any programming language. Indeed the most complete user interface to the services layer (business logic) of Deki is a decoupled PHP interface. Moreover, there are hooks in this “client” for PHP plugins.

    You’ll notice MindTouch Deki is designed to create an easy to use abstraction for other applications, data source and web services. Or as I like to say: MindTouch Deki is an open source enterprise collaboration and community platform that enables end users to connect and remix enterprise systems, social tools and web services. An example of this:

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