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Mindtouch Open Source Wiki

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When I am not toiling away on QualityLogic’s testing projects, my passion is hiking in the outdoors. As part of that passion, about 5 years ago I developed a classic ASP website that became one of the most visited outdoors sites on the Internet.

The model behind the site was to recruit volunteer reporters around the country to post hikes on the website, and in order to facilitate this, I developed a desktop application called HikeReporter that allowed reporters to post information to the site via web services.

While this scheme did result in thousands of hikes being posted to the site, it really wasn’t very scalable. If a reporter became inactive and his posts needed updating, I’d need to find a volunteer reporter in the reporter’s area familiar with the hike he posted. I have long wanted to port the site over to a Wiki framework to facilitate a broader base of volunteers without the need to provide a desktop application for posting hikes.

While I had prototyped a state of the art ASP.NET update to the Localhikes site, including the latest AJAX controls and Google maps, I never cut the prototype over live as I didn’t have the Wiki solution that I had envisioned.

Then I had the good fortune to discover an open-source Wiki from a company called Mindtouch. At first, I considered using their Wiki as a back-end for reporters and simply pull hike data from the wiki using their REST web services for display on the outward-facing website. But as I drilled into the Mindtouch product I discovered its rich scripting language, DikiScript, a robust configurable architecture, and an awesome framework for simplifying mashups.

I became convinced that the Mindtouch Wiki platform could also serve as my outward-facing consumer website. Over the next couple of months, I plan to use this blog to chronicle my experiences porting the LocalHikes site over to this new environment and sharing with you my insights into the implementation and testing challenges we face along the way.

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