I'm curious why the platforms chosen for Wiki and BBS are not more familiar, and widely deployed ones (MediaWiki and vBulletin or similar, respectively).
If you remember back before the redesign, the site was split into a number of different totally separate modules. There was DokuWiki for documentation, WordPress for news, and SMF for the forum posts. The plan had been to wait for SMF2, use Joomla! for its users, pages, and blog (news, for us) functionality, and JFusion to integrate Joomla!, DokuWiki, and SMF.
Considering the amount of time it was taking for SMF2 to be released as well as their sort-of-but-not-really-open-source license, we began to look elsewhere. (Note that SMF has gotten an accepted open source license in the last few months.. New BSD, which is what jME is licensed under)
At the time that we were looking to other ideas, many people were already using WordPress as a CMS. For a community site it was already attractive as BuddyPress and bbPress had large communities and were actively being developed. With the WordPress 3 integration of WP and WP-MU (multi-user), it really began to take shape of something that the entire community could use. Of course, the entire system being under GPL is a nice bonus.
There was even a built-in wiki in development that we spent a hefty amount of time testing and attempting to work with (an open-source utility
came out of it). Ultimately, that wiki system's development slowed and the current state of the art wasn't acceptable for use. After looking at a number of other wiki systems, it was agreed that staying with DokuWiki made the most sense as there would be no content conversion required and there was already documentation on dependable integration between WP and DokuWiki.
This is only touching the surface of months
of research, testing, utility/script/plugin development, and back and forth with various communities and developers. I hope it provides some insight on the thought process that went into the decision.
So what can we do now? (Why did we do it?)
- If you make an account on the forum, you immediately have an account on the wiki. Believe it or not, having to make another account resulted in lost wiki edits (there are indeed forum posts like "meh, maybe I'll make a wiki account at some point and update that")
- Any user can be given rights to post a news item on the front page. You may have seen an example of this with the development of TerraMonkey
- @ tags mean something. Being able to say something like "Hey, @normen might know the answer" can draw attention to a conversation in case @normen hasn't seen the thread. This is probably a bad example though as @normen seems to be telepathically linked to the forum index page.
- Standard WordPress plugins are compatible! No need to reinvent the SEO wheel, or site analytics tracking.. (jMonkeyEngine has been trending upwards overall in rankings)
- Easier maintenance. A single database runs the entire site. In the event of a catastrophic disaster, getting the site set back up is far easier than it once was. The creation of parallel test websites for new features, plugins, updates, etc is also much easier now. This means that we can invest more time in testing updates and applying them to the live site, reducing the risk of downtime or broken features.
I'd particularly like to see it made easier to edit the Javadoc (or at least annotate it for consideration for amendment) without the weight and responsibility of submitting source code changes to SVN.
This is a great idea.. Do you know of any other projects doing this? It would be interesting to see how others have implemented it.