October 30, 2006
Pro Wiki And Media Wiki


Strengths of MediaWiki

MediaWiki is scalable. It is able to run a gigantic page database of more than a million pages and support users all over the world. Of course this needs a mass of hardware (in late 2005 about hundred physical servers were needed to support WikiPedia).

ProWiki doesn't strive to support such scales, because none of our customers work in these dimensions.

MediaWiki is an excellent solution for the EncyclopediaWiki. If you want to write an encyclopedia or have a very similar application, you should definitely use MediaWiki.

ProWiki is the better choice for most other WikiApplications, especially for building communities and for all types of homepage systems and communication platforms.

Weaknesses of MediaWiki

MediaWiki has restricted the use and exploration of important wiki functions when they put a large computational burden on a large wiki system. This is very natural and probably unavoidable but it also reduces the usability of MediaWiki for typical wiki applications.

Approximately 99.9% of all wikis are neither gigantic in size nor encyclopedia-like. ProWiki targets the small, normal and moderately large wiki systems which most persons and organisations need.

The MediaWiki Search function is very restricted. It is not a true regular expression full text search but a limited search for article names and indexed words. WikiPedia often even restricts this even more for performance reasons and suggests to use Google. But Google is never up-to-date and practically useless to support wiki work.

ProWiki is specialized for ProWikiServers, supporting hundreds of wikis, each 100-10.000 pages in size. This situation leads to very different trade-offs that allows us to support all WikiStandardFunctions, especially the extremely important complex search functions.

Side-by-side Comparison

ProgrammingLanguagePHPPerlPHP and Perl are both languages that are more dirty and popular than clean. PHP is more web-oriented and appealing to the WebDesigner, Perl probably more of a multi-purpose programming language and therefore more appealing to the programmer.
targeted CustomerTypeWikiOwnerWikiProviderLike most wiki engines MediaWiki targets the single-wiki market while ProWiki was written for the needs of WikiService supporting 100+ wiki projects.
product philosophywikis are basically all like encyclopediaswikis are flexible tools for many purposes (see WikiApplications)WikiPedia does not use the wiki as the main communication system, the real community processes are in MailingLists. ProWiki really uses and develops the wiki as the unifying plattform for the community and its work.
Ideologystrong ideology - free contentno ideology - partner for everyone who wants to use wikiWikiPedia draws a lot of energy from ideological sources, which is fine. ProWiki is different. It wants to support all users that want to use wiki, whether they choose to work openly or need closedness and security.
InterWikiTechnologieshardly any featuresrich set of featuresWikiPedia very much concentrates on itself and its own ideology and projects. It hardly cooperated with other projects. ProWiki is rooted in the world-wide wiki community and supports many ways to connect wikis. This eases the building of communities.

Of course all this is my subjective view and open for discussion. -- HelmutLeitner