Is it viable to encapsulate wiki into phpbb

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SebastianOz
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Is it viable to encapsulate wiki into phpbb

Post by SebastianOz » Thu Jun 20, 2019 6:26 pm

The idea is to collectively write a book online with a community (wiki) while having full discussions (forum.)

It seems wise to use a wiki to write a book collectively, but wikis dont have full fledged forum features and dont allow threads outside of the wiki entry itself.

It seems wise to use a forum/bb because it facilitates an engaged community to help write the book, but also allows other free flowing discussions that are relevant to the topic.

They each have pros and cons, but a combination would be best. Is this viable? Would it be difficult? (The databases would likely be merged, or could be separate. The gui eould be merged like this... how it would work is below.)

My initial thought is that the book will be parsed into short sections. Each chapter will get its own sub-forum, and then short sections of chapters will get their own thread, with proactive discussion about potential edits. The reason i speak about a forum approach rather than a strictly wiki approach is because i would also like to host concurrent threads of general discussion and have all the extra features of a full fledged forum for this vs. the limited discussion in a wiki. This will also foster an active engaged community outside the book content. The reason i speak about a wiki approach is because that is the best way to have a community of people collectively write a document. In essence the combined approach i envision would be a wiki encapsulated within a forum, operating like this:

There would be a general introduction sub forum, another one where people who want to discuss but not be quoted in the book, and an off-topic area.

Each chapter would have it's own subforum.

Small chunks of chapters, such as a few related paragraphs, would be its own thread.

The original post in the thread (the chunk of a chapter) would be presented as a wiki entry.

The forum discussion below the original post of the thread (the wiki entry) would be about edits and also adding supporting links or references.

After a certain amount of discussion, the thread would be deprecated. It gets closed and the best edits would be incorporated.

A new thread with the edits would get posted as a new thread for discussion.

Repeat.

Publish the book at different points.

That is the basic operation of the most used part of the site. Note that the wiki entries themselves would be locked from editing except by me initially, and others later on as the project picks up steam. An advantage of a wiki approach is that in a separate section, you could have the book presented altogether, by compiling the individual wiki sections onto one page. The compiled page would be the latest version of the book. Another advantage of a wiki is that you would be able to see a history of all of the edits also.

It is a kind of forum wiki combination hybrid. This requirement automatically narrows down the choices to open source forums, with an active support community. I already know that wikis have a comment section but it is not adequate to be used as a full fledged forum. It is also unlikely that any off-the-shelf solution will do as i wish, or i have at least not found any in my search. I am open to hearing about which open source forum to explore, or at this early stage, I am also open to another approach, as a wiki does not necessarily have to be used, but then is this functionality able to be built into any existing full fledged forum software? A typical shared document manager also does not have the collective discussion feature of a forum.

Another reason I prefer this project to be a forum wiki hybrid is so that there is a way to present the content linearly as in a book for others to read, by compiling all of the wiki entries together, while also the book is enabled to be written in a non linear way by many people through discussion. A forum wiki implementation is also practically not limited in size. I seek to limit the size initially only to make it readable by the populace. 

I mostly don't care about the size of the book, as it will be mainly a free electronic book, and maybe a few printed copies to pass around. It is intended that the book will never be finished, but will instead become a living document, with snapshots of it at different times to be published. The use of a wiki and a forum will support all of these ideas. This book may easily become encyclopedia sized, especially the chapters talking about specific solutions.

With this information, here is a summary of my questions:

1. Is this approach of a wiki forum hybrid viable, or is there a better approach?
2. Will Phpbb allow levels of subforums and nested threads?
3. Is phpbb a good solution for the forum portion of the project?
4. Extra question for anyone who has the expertise: what open source WIKI software will be best to integrate with phobb in order to accomplish this?

I am considering mediawiki combined with phpbb. Does anyone have any experience here?

Any thoughts or recommendations are welcome.

Sincerely,
S.O.S.

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thecoalman
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Re: Is it viable to encapsulate wiki into phpbb

Post by thecoalman » Thu Jun 20, 2019 7:18 pm

Rube Goldberg, is that you? I'm kidding. :D

Anything is possible but it would be a substantial amount of work and I would try and work within either system. For example:
The original post in the thread (the chunk of a chapter) would be presented as a wiki entry.
Why do you need the wiki entry? This can be done as announcement on each of your subforums. An announcement sticks to the top of the page on every page of that subforum and is split from the rest of the posts. See the "Read me before posting" announcement?

viewforum.php?f=556

Click to page two it's still there.... Taking this step further if you carefully set up each forum so the forum ID coincides with the chapter ID you can edit the template so it says Chapter <forum/chapter ID number>.

There is lot of things you can do with phpBB if you know your way around. ;) If you have not installed it I'd suggest installing it and playing around with it a little to see what you can come up with.

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Re: Is it viable to encapsulate wiki into phpbb

Post by SebastianOz » Thu Jun 20, 2019 7:47 pm

The issue is that wiki has roll back, and edit hostory, and a natural way to compile all the wiki entries into one book in one place. Thats a whole lot of manual work if you have a few hundred people contributing. The idea of technology is to make it easier. I know it will be work upfront... to save a whole lot of manual work later.

I appreciate the joke, but it is very not rube goldberg. Someone has to have done this in some form or fashion. I even saw a deleted question online where someone asks this. But google search sucks. When i put in forum wiki combined or integrated i get a bunch of unrelated hits.
Last edited by SebastianOz on Thu Jun 20, 2019 7:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Is it viable to encapsulate wiki into phpbb

Post by SebastianOz » Thu Jun 20, 2019 7:51 pm

But the advantage of a wiki is the ability to roll back changes, and keep track of all versions. Also as a wiki, it is easy to compile all of the wikis into one space to make the complete book in one place as it grows. Otherwise this is a whole lot of manula work later. Yes there will be some work up front...to save from tons of manual work later. If i have to compile hundreds of individual entries together everytime i want to see the who,e book, i wont even get to write.

The main issue is that a forum does not have what a wiki has as far as doc control etc. and forums do not have a good way to write books collaboratively like wiki. A combo would work. Is it viable? Has anyone done it? Any clues?

I have set simple forums up before, and added code, even some of my own tweaks to code, but not a wiki. I also havent tried to integrate 2 disparate systems. Maybe i will be one of the first to try. Maybe someone has done it here and can chime in. The title is somewhat obvious to someone who has thought of this. Hopefully the right person sees it.

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Re: Is it viable to encapsulate wiki into phpbb

Post by thecoalman » Thu Jun 20, 2019 8:29 pm

SebastianOz wrote:
Thu Jun 20, 2019 7:47 pm
The issue is that wiki has roll back, and edit hostory, and a natural way to compile all the wiki entries into one book in one place.
Valid point and revisions is one thing I wish phpBB had. If that is the major hurdle you can request an extension or post in the wanted section for developer to provide one. There was one available for phpBB 3.0 but that is no longer supported here.
When i put in forum wiki combined or integrated i get a bunch of unrelated hits.
This has always been an issue if you wanted do something like this, there has been bridges in the past for various other platforms like Wikimedia and Drupal. Without that minimally you are going to have the issue of creating accounts on both systems. There is different coding standards/developers and inevitably the bridge is broken because of changes in phpBB or the other application. phpBB does support OAuth but it's not quite the same as a bridge.

I've actually had phpBB forum bridged to Wikimedia but that was years ago. I had to ditch it primarily because there is no active and consistent bridge. If you start going down this road it can be maintenance nightmare. ;) Been there, done that.

Alternatively you may want to consider something like Drupal, it has revisions on "pages" and a forum component but the forum is pretty basic and no where as feature rich as phpBB.

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Re: Is it viable to encapsulate wiki into phpbb

Post by SebastianOz » Thu Jun 20, 2019 9:38 pm

Thanks for your insight. Yes i did not consider the maintenance nightmare that may ensue. Perhaps i could avoid this by getting a version stable and keeping that.

I wonder if it would be possible to combine the account signups on a page that fills both databases, and then updates to the book are updated in both databases.
Last edited by SebastianOz on Thu Jun 20, 2019 9:53 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Is it viable to encapsulate wiki into phpbb

Post by SebastianOz » Thu Jun 20, 2019 9:43 pm

The main issue i am afraid of is not the database as i have some expertise their, but the combining of the gui and front end stuff.

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Re: Is it viable to encapsulate wiki into phpbb

Post by Lumpy Burgertushie » Thu Jun 20, 2019 10:09 pm

looks like maybe neither one of the applications is what you need.

have you looked around for applications that are designed for what you are trying to do without needing to combine two programs that neither one was designed for what you are wanting?


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Re: Is it viable to encapsulate wiki into phpbb

Post by thecoalman » Thu Jun 20, 2019 10:10 pm

Sebastian, there is six hour bump rule here. If no one has replied to your post in six hours please edit the previous post to add something new. Thanks.

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Re: Is it viable to encapsulate wiki into phpbb

Post by SebastianOz » Thu Jun 20, 2019 10:35 pm

Lumpy Burgertushie wrote:
Thu Jun 20, 2019 10:09 pm
have you looked around for applications that are designed for what you are trying to do without needing to combine two programs that neither one was designed for what you are wanting?
Yes i have looked around to no avail. I had a hard time figuring out what to search for, so i started reading up on pros and cons of forums and also wikis and settled on 2 that seemed to fit on the surface. I ended up asking these questions to both mediawiki and phpbb people. I also posted a question on techrepublic forums under open source and got deleted.

If you have any ideas or keywords of what to search for or know of anything for me to explore, let me know.

Sorry about breaking the bump rule. Unintentional.

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Re: Is it viable to encapsulate wiki into phpbb

Post by Lumpy Burgertushie » Thu Jun 20, 2019 10:40 pm

https://duckduckgo.com/?q=collaborative ... =h_&ia=web
the first two look interesting.

luck,
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Re: Is it viable to encapsulate wiki into phpbb

Post by thecoalman » Thu Jun 20, 2019 10:55 pm

SebastianOz wrote:
Thu Jun 20, 2019 9:43 pm
The main issue i am afraid of is not the database as i have some expertise their, but the combining of the gui and front end stuff.
I think there may be a lot more to it than you think. Passwords often are stored differently, sessions, cookies etc. If it was easy to do it would widely available, you're not the only one wanting something like this.
If you have any ideas or keywords of what to search for or know of anything for me to explore, let me know.
Have a look at Drupal, as I already noted it has forum component. You could even just utilize the comments that can be left on page. It's something that can do what you are trying to do. You can even look through the different distribution packages, they may have something similar too or exactly like what you are trying to do.

https://www.drupal.org/project/project_ ... ion?page=1

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