DokuWiki Yak Shaving


Yak Shaving is described as “any seemingly pointless activity which is actually necessary to solve a problem which solves a problem which, several levels of recursion later, solves the real problem you’re working on” or something like that.

I’m not 100% sure this would be considered yak shaving, but I’m working on something that requires random pages to be served from DokuWiki, just like the built-in function that MediaWiki has. (I used to use MediaWiki, but switched to DokuWiki, and like it much better. We also use it for the Milwaukee Makerspace wiki.)

There is a random page plugin for DokuWiki, which did not work. So I took the existing code, poked at it a bit, mainly by comparing to other plugins that did work and making simple edits, and got it working. (YMMV obviously.)

Because I’m a believer in “doing the right thing” and helping other people in their quest to not reinvent the wheel and stay DRY, I figured there was more to do…

So I emailed the original author of the plugin. I’ve not gotten an email back yet. Also, he (or she) appears to be French, and I’m a stupid American who can’t read French. (I’m not even sure why I mentioned that part.)

Anyway, I was happy that I fixed something so I figured I’d toss it on the old GitHub in case someone else was looking for a random page plugin for DokuWiki that (seems to) work.

Oh, and not content to not mention something I did, I posted the link on Google+, which was picked up by Nils Hitze who mentioned it to Andreas Gohr, who happens to be the author of DokuWiki (who I follow anyway, because he’s a RepRapper too) and he suggested I adopt the (possibly orphaned) plugin.

tl;dr → I fixed the Random Page plugin for DokuWiki. You can grab it from GitHub.

Also, this is how the f’ing Internet works!


WordPress Plugin Rundown

Adam Chernow has a blog on his own site, but tends to use Tumblr more… He also asked me what plugins I use.

chernowachernowa @raster WP is what I have my blog on right now… What plugins are you running to do everything?

So I thought I’d give the rundown of the current plugins I’m using. Many of these were added fairly recently. As a bit of history, I started this blog in 1997, first using UserLand Frontier as the publishing tool, and later using a Perl-based system I developed, until about 2005 when I moved to WordPress. I used my own custom theme since then and just within the past few months got around to fixing a few issues that prevented a few plugins from working properly.

So… here’s the list:

  • Akismet – stops comment spam. (From the fine folks at WordPress.)
  • Clean Archives Reloaded – used on the Archives page – it works. Not much more to say.
  • Comments with OpenID – it seems to work. Is there a better one? I don’t know…
  • Configure SMTP – my mail goes through an SMTP server.
  • Foursquare – provides a widget in the sidebar with my most recent check-ins.
  • Google XML Sitemaps – generates a sitemap.xml file used by Google to assist in indexing the site.
  • I Like This – provides a ‘Like’ button on each post. I didn’t want to outsource the ‘liking’ of posts to FaceBook, so I added my own thinking people who didn’t want to leave a comment might use it. (Almost no one uses it.)
  • Inline Tag Thing – I use this on occasion when I go through old posts adding tags. I hacked up my version a bit…
  • OpenID – supporting OpenID. (Thanks DiSo!)
  • Subscribe To Comments – pretty basic functionality that should be included with pretty much any blog nowadays. (Even though everyone says “email is dead.”)
  • Stats – added recently, just testing it out. I go on these kicks where I keep a close eye on stats, and then I completely ignore them for months at time.
  • WordPress Gravatars – adds Gravatar avatars to comments.
  • WP Simple AdSense Insertion – I’ve been experimenting with adding ads to old blog posts that get a lot of views. We’ll see how it goes.
  • WP Super Cache – great caching plugin to speed up page delivery. (I even donated some cash for this one!)
  • WPtouch iPhone Theme – provides a more mobile-friendly version of the site.
  • XRDS-Simple – I think the OpenID plugin required this to work properly…

I am by no means a WordPress expert (though I know a few!) and this is just the current snapshot of what plugins I’m using here. As I said, some have been added pretty recently, or I’m sort of “test driving” them for a while.

(I’d love a BarCamp session talking about WordPress, and it’s plugins, and overall best practices…)