web applications

Migrating Multiple MediaWikis with Practically Perfect People Policies

I am setting up five MediaWiki instances in three domains on one server with three different security configurations. Each has its own MySQL database backend and its own separate home on the filesystem. All share the same MediaWiki code (from the standard Debian GNU/Linux 6.0 "Squeeze" package installation). All share the same extensions, including the Debian packaged extensions, and some others installed from source. And of course, I'm migrating content from my home LAN server to the web server. In this column, I'll explain how I'm doing this in 10 "easy" (okay, actually quite hard) steps.

Free software tools for designing productive community sites

These days there's a lot of buzz about "Web 2.0" and making websites more interactive, but what's really going on is a reconnection to the community nature of the internet. Collaboration, cooperation, and the information commons are all ideas that pre-dated the world wide web in the form of older internet technologies. In today's distributed computing environment, though, these technologies have really flourished. Here's a guide to eight that you should consider making use of in building a community around an information commons project of any kind, from multimedia, to hardware, to software.

Google App Engine: Is it evil?

The Google App Engine doesn't really advance the cause of evil all that much, but it's not exactly good, either. Google makes a big deal about its corporate motto, "Don't be evil", but at the end of the day, Google really is just another corporation, no matter how well-intentioned its founders may have been. Regardless of whether the corporation holding the carrot is called "Microsoft" or "Google", developers should think long and hard before following the primrose path towards lock-in to non-standard designs.

Book review: AJAX and PHP: Building Responsive Web Applications by Christian Darie, Bogdan Brinzarea, Flip Chereches-Tosa

The big unstoppable trendy Web 2.0 train is at full steam, allegedly knocking downing the walls of conventional website buildings. Sure, the technologies used may date back to the beginning of the century (wow that sounds like a long time ago!). However, thanks to the publicity and dare I say hype, we are now sitting at the beginning of the second internet bubble.

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