Wikify us
December 27, 2017 10:30 PM   Subscribe

My partner and I could really use a personal wiki that syncronizes an online copy with offline versions on multiple devices. What are our best options?

Features we want:
- web-based interface (I'd be willing to pay some for hosting)
- both a hosted web interface and an offline version
- support for many different platforms (our Linux laptops, public computers, mobile devices...)
- choice of WYSIWYG or a markup editor

If the web interface has access control (ability to differentiate between public pages and ones viewable only by us) that would be extra-awesome.

Already considered:
1) TiddlyWiki in Dropbox (or similar) - seems decent, but I don't think it will resolve conflicts well if we're both editing it offline. Also, it seems like it's starting to have issues in newer browsers.
2) NoteSelf - based on TiddlyWiki but appears to do per-tiddler revision history, so it would be a little better at conflict resolution. Disadvantage: requires that you provide your own couchdb server for sync, which is a little beyond me right now. They suggest cloudant, which seems to have been absorbed by IBM and no longer works the way it does in their tutorial. If you have a good couchdb service to recommend, this might be viable.
3) Gollum - based on git, so it should be fantastic at revision management... but also requires some willingness to deal with git. Seems like you have to run the gollum server (a ruby gem) locally to make it work, so it's not really suitable for mobile or public devices.
4) SimpleNote and nvPY - SimpleNote can't do links between notes. Plus, nvPY looks a little odd/old/clunky.

So... what's out there for hyperlinked notes that are accessible both on- and off-line?
posted by sibilatorix to Computers & Internet (11 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I think you may have trouble finding a browser-based Wiki that deals sanely with offline edits and conflicts. Usually that stuff is handled on the server side, so if the server is unreachable you're out of luck. Offline-support requires some client-side smarts (and therefore something like an app, which cuts into your chances of finding a truly cross-platform solution...)

My personal Wiki is in Trac, which does great at being a cross-platform multi-user wiki and todo list. It is also easy to self-host (I use a Raspberry Pi as a server). The downside for you would be that it doesn't support offline use. You'd have to use your favored web archiving tool to take a read-only snapshot, which then of course would be read-only. So, probably not good for you, but maybe worth a look anyway if ticket-tracking seems useful and you're willing to compromise on the offline accessibility?

I'll watch this thread... I'm always interested in learning about different Wikis. Good luck & hope you find something well-suited to your needs.
posted by edlinfan at 1:21 AM on December 28, 2017

Dropbox now has lots of edit conflict management stuff, so if you didn’t know about that, it may put tiddly back in the running.
posted by SaltySalticid at 7:16 AM on December 28, 2017

I think this is going to be a tough one for you. Confluence is a flat $100/year for your use. It is a fully featured wiki, alas with no offline mode. This is a very affordable price for cloud hosted enterprise software.

At this price point for SaaS solutions, traditional offline vendors will be crowded out of the market due to the ongoing expense of development (see also- browser compatibility issues with TiddlyWiki). That’s going to be a tough requirement to satisfy.

If you could get away without the offline requirement I’d suggest you buy Confluence and be done.
posted by crazycanuck at 8:18 AM on December 28, 2017

Or, if you have an Office 365 account, consider a SharePoint wiki.
posted by crazycanuck at 8:20 AM on December 28, 2017

Or, if you have an Office 365 account, consider a SharePoint wiki.
Just as a counterpoint: I would not do this. Sharepoint is a fiddly, weird, hard-to-manage hodgepodge.
posted by uberchet at 8:26 AM on December 28, 2017 [3 favorites]

TiddlyWiki in Dropbox (or similar) - seems decent, but I don't think it will resolve conflicts well if we're both editing it offline.

Would either of Dropbox's suggestions for avoiding sync conflicts work for you?

Also, it seems like it's starting to have issues in newer browsers.

TiddlyWiki is still under quite active development, so I would expect such issues to get resolved fairly quickly.
posted by flabdablet at 9:59 AM on December 28, 2017

This question keeps coming up and I'd like to know more too, so I'm having another go at this. Nothing ever was as useful as Confluence at work but I don't like their recent versions anymore so won't go for their $10 a year hosted service.
I had a read of some roundups of software. Reddit askmes too. One interesting point - why not use a CMS (like if you used Wordpress with the Private Pages plugin)? However I decided to try DokuWiki. I see there's hosting companies for that. However any standard cheap webhost should have a 1 click installer for it (under "Fantastico" or in my case plainly called "Install Software") and so did mine. I just tried on my own domain and it didn't nuke my existing site as I'm happy to report (though my main site's firewall was skeptical at first and briefly had to be set to learning mode while I did wiki stuff).
On my fresh DokuWiki it just took a few extra settings to make everything private (access can be finely controlled though, I could have public pages or for certain user groups). My host already does backup so that's covered. Of course security is only as good as whatever my webhost has going nevermind anything I might overlook myself (and the firewall shows this constant barrage mostly from russian IPs). So I'm not sure the extent of personal data I'd want to put up there in case it does get hacked. Security.
I couldn't find any up to date plugins to do offline editing and syncing with it but I found this editor. Good luck in your quest.
posted by yoHighness at 12:11 PM on December 28, 2017 [1 favorite]

You can do some of this in Evernote. It has a web-based interface available and works offline on lots of platforms. It will tell you if there are note conflicts.

* No markup editor. To style text, you either have to use keyboard shortcuts or a toolbar.
* Does not do Wiki linking (with brackets). You have to copy and paste Note Links to link between notes.
* Not suitable for setting up a public website, if that's what you're after.
posted by cnc at 1:28 PM on December 28, 2017

Response by poster: It seems like NoteSelf might be working after all - I got it set up with a one-month free CouchDB hosting trial on SmileUpps. I'm a little concerned that it isn't as actively developed as the main TiddlyWiki branch, but it seems worth a try.

DokuWiki looks like the other good option - I get a 404 error from yoHighness's link to an editor, but there's also the Sync plugin that allows you to synchronize a local DokuWiki with a remote one. It's probably more full-featured, but would require running a full-on local web server, where NoteSelf is just an HTML file.
posted by sibilatorix at 2:34 PM on January 4, 2018

I'm enjoying my DokuWiki install so far and using it with a bootcamp-based minimalist skin. Truth be told though everything feels a bit ... 2012... it feels like people have moved on from the project, maybe the idea of wikis in general.
posted by yoHighness at 1:39 AM on January 12, 2018

Response by poster: Conclusion: NoteSelf is it! I figured out how to set up an IBM Cloudant instance and add users to the database, and their lite plan should be sufficient for quite a while. Also, the developer of NoteSelf seems to be working on the project again/still and fixed a minor bug so it's now much easier to make a customized copy with the database connection details pre-filled.

The core TiddlyWiki code seems to be adapting to new browsers pretty well after all, and it looks like NoteSelf will do the same, especially if it continues to be maintained and developed... maybe I'll try to learn some stuff and get involved in the project so it isn't just a one-person endeavor.
posted by sibilatorix at 8:51 PM on January 21, 2018 [1 favorite]

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