Gitit and ikiwiki

About a year ago in a search for notes-taking software I chose git & haskell based wiki: gitit.

This wiki had certain advantages like:

  • git, mercury or darcs as a storage backend,
  • enhanced pandoc flavored markdown,
  • really lots of other markup languages (basically, anything supported by pandoc),
  • export of the wiki pages into any pandoc-supported format,
  • comes with a Happstack-based web-server, and by default is ready for you at localhost:5001,
  • highlighting support for various programming languages,
  • it’s quite fast, and doesn’t consume too much resources,

However, among the drawbacks I’ll mention:

  • installation of ghc+packages. Really, I need ghc on my system solely for gitit and git-annex,
  • only a few methods for authentication and access management,
  • not many plugins, however, most of the really needed things are already there.

I found wiki-based notes very handy, and soon we all used them for family planning in our home net. However, when I decided to move the wiki from my desktop to a small Raspberry Pi server, I faced some problems. The first and main one is memory constraints (256 or 512 Mb RAM). Well, it is possible to run ghc on a Pi, but it in the end it seems to me as an unnecessary thing there. So I decided to try out perl-based ikiwiki.

It is much more feature-rich than gitit:

  • more scm as a storage backend,
  • number of plugins (especially, ‘contrib’ ones) extending functionality far beyond gitit’s (and, yes!, pandoc support),
  • automatic page generation based on tags/posts etc…

However,

  • out of the box markdown is slightly weaker, than gitit’s,
  • page generation consumes considerable computing power. Raspberry Pi stumbles on it…
  • needs a web-server, (it’s not really a drawback).

It’s a bit difficult to compare these wiki-engines, as they target slightly different niches. Gitit is “stupid wiki content tracker”. It takes 3, no, 2 minutes to fire it up, and then it simply works. However, if you want something more elaborate, but not as large as doku- or mediawiki, ikiwiki is a best choice.
With some time spent for its tuning, it becomes multi-purpose site.

If you want to check these wikis functionality, but hesitate to install them, check out gitit and ikiwiki sandboxes or create your own ikiwiki driven site at branchable.

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