Home > Learning, Linux, Software Development, Tools > Personal Wiki: A Brief Opinionated Review of MoinMoin

Personal Wiki: A Brief Opinionated Review of MoinMoin


I have just started using MoinMoin as a personal wiki on my Kubuntu/Dell notebook. Why would I do such a preposterous thing?

I have been reading the book Pragmatic Thinking and Learning by Andy Hunt. I will have to review it one day, but suffice it to say that I am on my third reading*.

In Pragmatic Thinking and Learning, Andy Hunt mentions using a wiki to rapidly collect information in a connected, but non-linear, way. The second time I read the book I decided to learn deliberately and when I got to page 221 and read about wikis I started to research what wikis were available, what technology they used and how easy they were to use (wikis by defintion are easy to use, but you never know).**

After much hand-wringing and comparison shopping I decided to download MoinMoin. It is Python-based and does not rely on an external web server or database to work. Installing it was as easy as extracting the archive into my local bin directory and running the Python file wikiserver.py. It starts its own little web server sitting on port 8080 and running Firefox on http://localhost:8080 brought up the home page.

Just to be paranoid I created an account (why would I need to do that on my own local box? Did I mention I was paranoid?) and started creating pages. It was so easy a caveman user could do it.

If you know what a wiki is you don’t need much more information than this to convince you that I enjoyed using MoinMoin. Its use of Python, its ease of installation and ease of use made it almost a no-brainer. I am a Java guy from way back, and as much as I disagree with Python’s use of indentation as a measure of scope, I am quite happy with Python in general. MoinMoin made me even happier.

Give it a shot. Your ideas will thank you.

* Yes, third. The last book I read that many times was Domain-Driven Design by Eric Evans. That is another book that did such a great job of joining ideas that had been floating in my head for years that I recommend it to everyone every chance I get (my mother is still trying to understand what he is talking about, but I am sure she will get it one day. After all, she is 85.).

** Andy Hunt ended the section on wikis by recommending the use of an iPhone with a Ruby-based web server with wiki software to make the collecting of ideas as frictionless as possible. Four out of four dinosaurs disagree.

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  1. October 3, 2012 at 12:11 pm

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