[Moin-user] Wiki for document management

R.Bauer rb.proj at gmail.com
Tue Oct 7 09:09:10 EDT 2008

Greg Ward schrieb:
> We are a small-but-growing software company that needs a good way to
> manage our software documentation (requirements, specs, designs, etc.).
> Because we write medical software, we are subject to regulation by
> various authorities (e.g. FDA in the US) -- so yes, we really do have to
> write these documents, keep track of them, be able to retrieve old
> versions, keep track of who has reviewed and approved them, ensure that
> they cannot be modified after they have been approved, etc.
> Currently, we are using our MoinMoin wiki for these documents.  The
> advantages of this should be obvious.  ;-)  The disadvantages:
>   * editing a large document with MoinMoin is awkward -- we're all
>     jealous of MediaWiki's "edit a single section" feature.
Hi Greg

the section feature can be currently only archieved by the Include
macro. Section edit will be possible after implementing the new storage
code and backends and of course some more refactoring.

>   * no way to work with a group of documents en masse.

that goal can be archieved by writing an action plugin which adds a
comment tag on each page.

> Let me clarify this last one.  E.g. for a single new feature, we will
> typically create four wiki pages:
>   NewFeature/BusinessRequirementsSpecification
>   NewFeature/SoftwareRequirementsSpecification
>   NewFeature/SoftwareDesignSpecification
>   NewFeature/DevelopmentTestPlan
> There are various operations we would like to be able to do on the whole
> group, but the critical one is the ability to link to (or print, or
> download, whatever) a specific version of the complete documentation for
> NewFeature.

that group of pages goal can be created by the CopyPage action from a
template NewFeature/ including all subpages.

to link to a specific version you can currently use the rev param on
your page link http://moinmo.in/HelpOnLinking e.g.

by writing a tag action it could be used to link to a comment

[[WikiSandBox|Example|&action=tag&comment=my special version]]

that action needs to map the comment to the revison and has to show the
selected revision.

You do print always the selected page.

> If we were using a tree of text files managed by a version control
> system, this would be obvious: create a tag and then use it to address
> the group of documents.  (Or, if using a modern VC system with global
> revision numbers, just use the revision number/hash/ID/whatever.  Tags
> are obviously nicer, though!)
> The problem is that MoinMoin versions individual pages and, as far as I
> can tell, there is no way to address a common snapshot of old versions.
> It's kind of like CVS without tags.
> Oh yeah, another disadvantage:
>   * no concept of review/approval -- this ties in with versioning, since
>     the whole point is to say, "Tom and Dick approved v3, so that is the
>     gold standard we will use -- the docs for NewFeature are frozen at
>     v3".

there is an approve plugin on

> This one is a bit unfair: it's really not something I would expect a
> wiki to have.  If we end up settling on a wiki as the answer (whether
> it's MoinMoin or not), I imagine we'll have to cobble something together
> for tracking reviews and approvals.
> Anyways, I'm just wondering if anyone else has similar problems and, if
> so, how you have addressed them.  I am aware that there is a whole
> category of software called "document management systems".  From what I
> have seen, they appear to be large, complex, expensive ways to wrap
> version control around your word processor.  Oy vey.  I'd much rather
> have a wiki with global version numbers.  Makes me wonder if anyone has
> written a wiki where the backend is just a
> Mercurial/git/Subversion/whatever repository.

we have had two successful summer of code project this year about
storage refactoring by http://moinmo.in/ChristopherDenter and
implementing a mercurial storage backend, see

Both will be merged after release of 1.9
into moins codebase next year.


> Thanks --
>         Greg
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