Discussion:
On the wiki
(too old to reply)
Jeremy Cowgar
2010-05-16 14:39:37 UTC
Permalink
I just want to throw this out there...

Since I began using Fossil, I've tried to evangelize it because I know
that the more users, the greater tool support, the longer life, the
greater the product. Do you know how many people I've got to use Fossil
for any length of time? 2 and one of them is my brother!

The conversation goes something like this. DSCM? Integrated Wiki?
Integrated Ticket System? Wow! Dude, I can replace my trac (others
redmine) install with one binary? It works w/o issues on Windows and
Unix variants? Wow! That's awesome, I'm going to download it now.

A bit later, hey Jeremy, how do I make the wiki work? I can only make
list items work but *bold*, //italic// doesn't work and how do I include
a block of code as an example? I respond, in Fossil you use,
<b>bold</b>, <i>italic</i> and <pre>code</pre>. Um, ok. is there
response. Later, how do I do nested lists? My response is, fossil only
supports the first depth for lists. If you want to use nested lists,
fossil supports HTML in it's wiki. Response = Really? Hm. Then it comes
to some other formatting, maybe tables.. as the conversation continues,
they say I think I'll stick with Trac/Redmine.

This is not an isolated occurrence. I have had at least 10 of these
conversations, so, 20% (really 10% because I forced my brother to use
it) of the people I've tried to convert have used it for at least one
project, the rest say no way, that wiki stinks. One person stated it
well, It's not a wiki, it's just editable HTML pages, and that's more
true than saying fossil has a wiki system, IMHO.

As time goes on and I see such a strong stance against any formal wiki
syntax I get less and less excited about using Fossil. For my main
project, Josl, I am just about to the point of dropping Fossil and using
Git|Darcs and Remine myself. I may be announcing this in this upcoming
week, why? 100% because of the wiki.

It's funny because people complain that why use Creole? Why use
Markdown? Neither are a standard, yet they are happy with the **very**
unstandard Fossil wiki markup, because it is a very weird mixture
between HTML and Wiki syntax, thus it's yet ANOTHER format that is NOT
shared between ANY wiki system. At least Creole and Markdown ARE shared
between MANY of wiki systems. So in the name of no standard wiki system,
instead of helping to solve the problem, Fossil seeks to further divide.

It's very, very, very discouraging to me. The more I think about it, the
more I think I'll be using git/darcs with trac/redmine. I'm very sorry
to report this, I like Fossil quite a bit but cannot deal with the wiki.
I can't deal with telling others about it. Why not just use Fossil as
the SCM and include a diff wiki system? How do the two integrate? Now I
have to setup themes in both? Now I have to mirror user accounts? How
can I reference a ticket number from the wiki? How can I reference a SCM
REV # from the wiki? How do I easily reference a ticket number from
Fossil? A wiki page? It's a mess.

The integration of Redmine/SCM or Trac/SCM is fantastic and it's what
Fossil could be but has clearly said it doesn't want to be.

Jeremy
Gour
2010-05-16 16:08:26 UTC
Permalink
On Sun, 16 May 2010 10:39:37 -0400
Jeremy> As time goes on and I see such a strong stance against any
Jeremy> formal wiki syntax I get less and less excited about using
Jeremy> Fossil.

Same here...I became so excited about Fossil and ready to leave darcs
(although being it's user since very beginning or sometime around
0.9.x release) to have one integrated solution with SCM, wiki &
tracker.

However, the joy did not last long, i.e. I quickly found the
'Markdown' thread. :-(

Jeremy> It's very, very, very discouraging to me. The more I think
Jeremy> about it, the more I think I'll be using git/darcs with
Jeremy> trac/redmine. I'm very sorry to report this, I like Fossil
Jeremy> quite a bit but cannot deal with the wiki. I can't deal with
Jeremy> telling others about it. Why not just use Fossil as the SCM and
Jeremy> include a diff wiki system? How do the two integrate? Now I
Jeremy> have to setup themes in both? Now I have to mirror user
Jeremy> accounts? How can I reference a ticket number from the wiki?
Jeremy> How can I reference a SCM REV # from the wiki? How do I easily
Jeremy> reference a ticket number from Fossil? A wiki page? It's a mess.

For some time I was thinking to just use distributed tracker, but I
gave up on it - it is not any longer integrated solution as Jeremy put
nicely together above.

Jeremy> The integration of Redmine/SCM or Trac/SCM is fantastic and
Jeremy> it's what Fossil could be but has clearly said it doesn't want
Jeremy> to be.

Yeah, that's really pitiful. I'll stay with darcs and (most probably)
use Roundup tracker.

As far as wiki/docs is concerned, I'll continue using reST markup
allowing me to easily convert with Pandoc to HTML/PDF/...

Maybe, we'll even deploy Gitit (darcsit) which can use any
Pandoc-supported markup.

All in all, Fossil is very nice SCM, with good-enough tracker, and we
had fun exploring it.

However, we haver to say 'Goodbye' since its wiki is the example of
not following:

"Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler." (Albert
Einstein)


Sincerely,
Gour

p.s. Browsing the archives shows that Jeremy & myself are not the only
people leaving Fossil due to its wiki...
--
Gour | Hlapicina, Croatia | GPG key: F96FF5F6
----------------------------------------------------------------
Jeremy Cowgar
2010-05-16 16:23:07 UTC
Permalink
Oh, one more thing I wanted to say.... Fossil is awesome with not just
it's integrated ticket and wiki system but it's integrated and
DISTRIBUTED ticket and wiki system. That's huge. Other SCM's can't touch
it even with Redmine/Trac. One suggested just using a distributed ticket
system that stores it's tickets in the repo. That works for the
developers, but what if some user comes along on the web interface and
adds a new ticket? No one has been able to achieve that (yet).

But, for all that, the lack of a complete wiki syntax (i.e. wiki = quick
quick, not HTML!) still kills it for others and has just about killed it
for me. I still have about 2% of my heart in continuing with Fossil, but
that's not much.

Fossil has the potential to be a fantastic piece of software but is
shooting itself in the foot with a huge canon with it's so-called,
non-standard wiki syntax. Again, I'm not saying there is ONE wiki syntax
that EVERYONE uses, but I am saying there ARE a few STANDARD wiki
formats, of which Fossil wants nothing to do with for some reason that's
far beyond me.

Jeremy
Ron Aaron
2010-05-16 16:49:06 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jeremy Cowgar
Oh, one more thing I wanted to say.... Fossil is awesome with not just
it's integrated ticket and wiki system but it's integrated and
DISTRIBUTED ticket and wiki system. That's huge.
Yes.
Post by Jeremy Cowgar
But, for all that, the lack of a complete wiki syntax (i.e. wiki = quick
quick, not HTML!) still kills it for others and has just about killed it
for me. I still have about 2% of my heart in continuing with Fossil, but
that's not much.
I don't understand this at all.

If you want to use the wiki for documentation, you can. HTML gives you all
the flexibility you could possibly desire, without requiring one learn Yet
Another Markup Language. As an example of what's possible, just take a look
at a work-in-progress of mine: http://accord-sys.com/ -- (it's VERY much 'in
progress', but you get the idea).
Post by Jeremy Cowgar
that EVERYONE uses, but I am saying there ARE a few STANDARD wiki
formats, of which Fossil wants nothing to do with for some reason that's
far beyond me.
Exactly for the reason you mention: just what syntax should be used, or what
subset of that syntax? MediaWiki? Twiki? Joe's-excellent-wiki?

I agree there are things in the wiki syntax which are odd or unusual -- but
any additional wiki code adds to the complexity and size of Fossil (and makes
it more prone to problems).
--
Sending me something private?
Use my GPG public key: AD29415D
Ramon Ribó
2010-05-16 17:27:13 UTC
Permalink
Hello,

As I see that the wiki problem is becoming a hot topic, I would also give
my opinion. I do not have a strong point here, as we use the wiki pages only
for short notes, so it is not very important the wiki language to be used.
However, I understand that there are other usage patterns that give more
importance to it.

In my opinion, the solution is very easy: use the "creole" syntax. It is
already inside fossil, in a branch. Make it the default for wiki pages and
use some kind of compatibility mode for the old wiki format. Or just let
creole also support the old syntax. Are them really incompatible?

Advantages:

1- It is already there. The effort to make it the default should be fairly
short

2- It contains the two or three main points that people appreciate more on
wiki syntax:

==heading==, **bold**, //italic//, nested lists, some support for tables
and {{{}}} for preformatter.

3- It is creole. Nobody win. Everybody win

4- When adding a comment in a commit, it is nicer to write:

* my **important** modification

than:

* my <b>important</b> modificaton (I also do not like the double
spaces)

Disadvantages

1- We need some effort to convince DRH to use and enjoy the new syntax

2- We are not going to stop the weekend discussions on choosing creole,
markdown or mediawiki. But they are somewhat like emacs vs vi. A nice way of
burning free time.

Maybe some of the strong supporters of the new wiki syntax are going to
volunteer to make the changes in the fossil source code to make this happen.

Ramon Ribó
Jeremy Cowgar
2010-05-16 17:34:00 UTC
Permalink
Post by Ramon Ribó
Hello,
As I see that the wiki problem is becoming a hot topic, I would also
give my opinion. I do not have a strong point here, as we use the wiki
pages only for short notes, so it is not very important the wiki
language to be used.
This is simply your opinion as to what a wiki is used for. Look at the
Tcl wiki, the Emacs wiki, Wikipedia, c2.com, clearly none of those are
short notes yet they are all valid uses of a wiki. Each project may use
the wiki differently.
Post by Ramon Ribó
However, I understand that there are other usage patterns that give
more importance to it.
In my opinion, the solution is very easy: use the "creole" syntax. It
is already inside fossil, in a branch. Make it the default for wiki
pages and use some kind of compatibility mode for the old wiki format.
Or just let creole also support the old syntax. Are them really
incompatible?
I'd suggest changing the checkbox option that exists right now "Use HTML
as the Wiki format" to a drop down, "HTML" or "Fossil Wiki" or "Creole".

Jeremy

Jeremy Cowgar
2010-05-16 17:31:42 UTC
Permalink
Post by Ron Aaron
Post by Jeremy Cowgar
Oh, one more thing I wanted to say.... Fossil is awesome with not just
it's integrated ticket and wiki system but it's integrated and
DISTRIBUTED ticket and wiki system. That's huge.
Yes.
Post by Jeremy Cowgar
But, for all that, the lack of a complete wiki syntax (i.e. wiki = quick
quick, not HTML!) still kills it for others and has just about killed it
for me. I still have about 2% of my heart in continuing with Fossil, but
that's not much.
I don't understand this at all.
Documentation is one use, but currently for one project I have over 450
pages of documentation, tables, references, footnotes, lists, indents,
code formatting, italic, bold, etc... There is no way under the sun I
want to format that using HTML! Wow, what a mess. HTML is NOT a human
language and it was NEVER intended on being so. It's a markup language.
A wiki syntax is so much easier than HTML that I cannot understand how
anyone would say they don't understand why you would want to use a wiki
syntax.
Post by Ron Aaron
If you want to use the wiki for documentation, you can. HTML gives you all
the flexibility you could possibly desire, without requiring one learn Yet
Another Markup Language. As an example of what's possible, just take a look
at a work-in-progress of mine: http://accord-sys.com/ -- (it's VERY much 'in
progress', but you get the idea).
Um, HTML can do anything, no one said it's limited. It's verbose, that's
the complaint. And no, you cannot do everything with HTML in Fossil. It
strips different attributes/style tags/ class tags, etc... Thus, in
situations where you want your typewriter to display a menu entry to be
different than when you display a key sequence (which is standard in
computer documentation), you cannot do it with Fossil's HTML markup. You
can with a wiki markup. Thus, in that case, Wiki is more powerful than
HTML, but that's not the point.
Post by Ron Aaron
Post by Jeremy Cowgar
that EVERYONE uses, but I am saying there ARE a few STANDARD wiki
formats, of which Fossil wants nothing to do with for some reason that's
far beyond me.
Exactly for the reason you mention: just what syntax should be used, or what
subset of that syntax? MediaWiki? Twiki? Joe's-excellent-wiki?
Who cares which one it is? Any is better than Fossil-Wiki (tm). Wiki
syntaxes are so simple I can't imagine there is anyone here that can't
learn it if they want. Further, if you don't want to use it, don't use
it! Right now there is an option that says "Use HTML syntax for
rendering instead of wiki syntax." It's a checkbox. With the addition of
a wiki format, I imagine this would just change to a drop down selection:

Wiki Syntax: HTML, FossilWiki, Markdown.

Then if you want to stick with the verbose HTML, you can, if you wanted
limited support for lists only, then use Fossil Wiki, if you want a full
featured format, then use Markdown for your project.
Post by Ron Aaron
I agree there are things in the wiki syntax which are odd or unusual -- but
any additional wiki code adds to the complexity and size of Fossil (and makes
it more prone to problems).
Not really. Once the wiki syntax is created, it should remain pretty
stable. Initially there will be some bugs to work through, I'm sure, but
once done, it's not as though the wiki syntax changes often.

Jeremy
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