[Moin-user] MoinMoin Development Activity

Paul Boddie paul at boddie.org.uk
Thu Mar 24 07:42:56 EDT 2016

On Thursday 24. March 2016 02.06.27 John Hurst wrote:
> These are very relevant questions from my perspective.  I have been running
> a moin 1.9 site for 6 years or so, and having been promising people who
> comment on its weaker points that "Moin 2 is coming soon".  But I am
> starting to lose that argument, and there are those who suggest that
> moving to a more modern wiki would be advantageous.

Actually, I'm not particularly convinced by the other wiki solutions. There's 
MediaWiki if you want to go completely mainstream, but I've worked with that 
and it can be very annoying: it's written in PHP, didn't even have proper help 
pages to deploy when I was using it, essential extensions were downloadable 
via *user* pages on the MediaWiki site, and so on.

It seems to me that various more fashionable wikis than MediaWiki (the ones 
that appear to use Git as a storage engine - not necessarily a feature in my 
opinion) either don't provide the same usability as Moin or are often deployed 
so poorly so that the experience is half-broken. There are wikis that try to 
be something else - apparently things like TWiki went off and did this, and 
there's the proprietary Confluence which seems to be all about doing this - 
but again, the usability suffers according to what people have told me about 

So, Moin is still a good choice, but I feel that Moin 2 has drifted away 
without really bringing people with it. I did look at trying it out again 
recently but was put off by the huge number of dependencies and the apparent 
need to use a virtualenv (or whatever) to even try it out. I know that people 
should be using other people's code instead of writing their own, but most of 
that code should be mature and widely available. Otherwise, the effect is the 
same as the project delivering lots of code you don't already have installed 
and making it harder to adopt and deploy.

> I have explored how I might help the development of moin 1/2 flavours, but
> found that I tended to get rather frustrated when I went looking for
> documentation.  For example, I have had trouble in maintaining various
> home grown flavours of macros, but short of spending my waking hours
> reverse engineering code, found it difficult to make much progress (yes,
> what are the entities in a "request"?).

The Moin 1.8 to 1.9 transition introduced various problems with the request 
handling, and I still have to remember which subpackage the request attributes 
are really defined in, as opposed to the boilerplate subpackages which just 
add another abstraction layer. I have no idea what Moin 2 does for this, 
although I seem to remember it being an evolved form of 1.9.

> As a (now retired) academic, I spent years exhorting students to document
> their code, and trying to set a good example for them to follow
> (http://www.ajhurst.org/~ajh/teaching/fit2070/2014/labs/index.xml).

That's an interesting set of resources that I'll have to look at later!

> And I understand that the moin development is by volunteers, who receive
> little thanks and many complaints.  But if we can spread the load by
> encouraging others to join the development, then I would hope emails such as
> these would no longer be necessary.


> So can anyone help me to help you?  Where to I find the sort of
> documentation that would help a newbie to the inner workings of moin
> become more engaged?

I was fortunate enough to get a tour of Moin from Thomas back at a conference 
(ten years ago!), even though I wasn't really looking to do anything with Moin 
at the time, but I'll admit that my knowledge of Moin has been built up over 
time. It's very possible that the developer documentation really needs 
improving to match the changes over the years and to remove material that 
refers to hypothetical enhancements that were never made:


I've written a few extensions over the years [*], and perhaps I should be 
trying to document them a bit more. Practical guidance is usually better than 
just pointing someone at an API reference, after all.


[*] https://moinmo.in/PaulBoddie

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