[mod_python] Wiki for mod_python. Contributors welcome.

Deron Meranda deron.meranda at gmail.com
Tue Nov 28 13:58:08 EST 2006

I'm glad there seems to be some desire to build up the wiki now.
I had previously just set up a bare-bones page to try to link
to all the various important information, but had been holding off
on contributing much new stuff until more was sorted out or
more interest occured.

I'll be happy to help coordinate or organize content, if it's even needed,
or to help any willing contributors with how to use the wiki, etc.

But anybody is welcome to contribute if you think you can help
the mod_python community out.  Even if you're a new user and
can't write a complete article, just getting some feedback about
what things you think need more explanation or you found
confusing would allow others to know what needs addressing.

The initial discussions about the wiki on the dev mailing list a few
weeks ago had raised a few questions about what kinds of things
should go on the wiki and how to transition to using it more, so
I'll respond belately on the more public list so hopefully the wider
community of users can start participating...

Concerning whether mod_python documentation should be moved
to the wiki: generally, due to legal/licensing concerns of the Apache
Foundation, the "core" documentation can not be wikified (or at
least not open to unauthorized edits).  But questions were raised
about specific chapters which may not be "core" documentation...

> Sections 4, 5 and 6 (API, Apache Configuration Directives and Standard
> Handlers) of the current docs stay with in the source distribution.
> Everything else would be a candidate for the wiki. (We should likely
> decide which should go in the wiki vs the modpython.org website vs the
> httpd.apache.org/modules/mod_python website).

Yes, chapters 4-6 seem to be the core "official" documentation
and make sense to lock down similar to the source code.
If other chapters like the tutorials are separated at all, putting them
in a wiki seems to make the most sense to me.

Things like the release change notes should probably either be
read-only static web pages, or perhaps moved to a protected wiki
area.  Perhaps it would be sufficient to use MoinMoin ACLs for
this.  That way the content is fixed, but still easily linked to, etc.

Is this wiki effort a good time to finally separate somewhat the
core mod_python from PSP in how the documentation is

Now, concerning the different topics....
> News
> Roadmap

Perhpaps news and roadmaps should be on a protected wiki
page.  Of course for major news (like new releases) there
should continue to be good old-fashioned blurbs on the
modpython.org home page too (but perhaps with all details
linking to the corresponding wiki page).  I would be in favor of
the bulk of all textual content moving to wiki pages; and ACL
protected where there is a need to lock them down.

> Installation help for various OS platforms

This makes sense to put on the wiki (if allowed), since it is
the one piece of documentation that can really benefit from
end-user experience and contributions the most.
Though we probably need to keep some minimal amount
of instructions bundled in the distribution though; but perhaps
none of the platform-specific or advanced stuff.


I'd say lets move everything in the current FAQ to the wiki,
and then stop using the FAQ-o-matic altogether.  Wikis are
from my experience so much easier to keep up to date,
as well as being easier to navigate (if written well) and
cross-link with other information.

If there is a general consensus that this what we should do
I can actually do most of the tedium of moving and
organizing the content.

> Tutorials
> Examples

Definite wiki candidates.  Except perhaps you want to keep
just a very small set in the official documentation too (?)

> Security considerations
> Troubleshooting applications

Yes, wikify these.

> Mailing list information
> Developer information
> Bug reporting information

I've already put some links on the wiki for these.  But regardless
where this information goes, it should be linked-to from *all*
the main mod_python starting points (modpython.org,
wiki, httpd.org).

Unless of course we want to choose one place to be the
new primary home page.  Certainly you could do this
with the MoinMoin wiki (with security on some pages).
For example the Fedora project homepage is now a
MoinMoin wiki (http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/)

* * *

Infrastructure technical issues:  Concerning past discussions about
whether MoinMoin is the best choice of wiki engine, or if perhaps
we should look at Confluence, etc...  (I think the quotes below are

> > I know that MoinMoin
> > has fine grained access permissions as well, but from my experience
> > it is a bit harder to configure as it requires changes to a file based
> > configuration file to setup the default policy. Requiring this means
> > intervention of the ASF infrastructure people and they are possibly
> > too busy as it is.

The amount of file-based configuration you have to do in MoinMoin is
actually pretty minimal unless you're really doing something advanced.
Basically you just delegate at least one user (or group) admin privileges
and turn on ACLs.  After that all the security permissions can be done
via the wiki interface itself.  Granted though, somebody at ASF has to
do that initial setup.

Can Jim or somebody look into that?  I can provide technical
assistance if needed on how MoinMoin ACLs work.  See also

> > How individual page access and groups are setup
> > with MoinMoin is also a fiddly process.

It may not be intuitive, but it's not actually that hard.  Especially if
your security model is pretty simple as I suspect ours would be.  But
you still have to set the ACL on each page, so that may qualify as
fiddly to some people.

> > At lease with Confluence such
> > things are all controllable through the web interface and somewhat
> > easier to manage. That MoinMoin is fiddly to setup is possibly why
> > they recommend a separate wiki space for the protected documentation
> > as then the default policy can be just to let the selected users edit
> > the pages and one doesn't have to worry about manipulating
> > access on individual pages.

The separate wiki setup is recommended because it is the easiest
way to partition the wikispace into areas with different policies (they
are in fact not really separate wiki setups, but what in MoinMoin
are called wiki farms....they share most configuration but have
independent content).

You can set almost all MoinMoin access control via the web interface,
except for declaring the wiki-wide default policies.  But you currently
have to set access policies on a page by page basis.

There are some moinmoin patches to make this much easier, and
such a feature is being considered for the next major MoinMon
release. But ASF is already running a quite old version of monmoin
anyway, so installing custom patches is probably never going
to happen.

I sometimes participate in the MoinMoin dev group, so maybe
I'll take some feedback about it here back there, and maybe help
fix them.  Feel free to post Moin specific stuff to my MoinMoin
homepage (except if it's also mod_python related, then keep it
on this mailing list)  -- http://moinmoin.wikiwikiweb.de/DeronMeranda

If it is decided to move the official docs into Confluence, it would be
nice if the MoinMoin interwiki links were configured, so it would make
cross-linking between the two sets of pages much easier.  Surely
the Apache guys could do this. (?)

Some useful links to the mod_python wiki configuration:

Also it seems that the general Apache wiki front page has been
temporarily hidden/moved (perhaps to protect from spammers?).
So for more information on the wiki setup in general or a list of
all the other Apache-sponsored project wikis see (for now);

Deron Meranda

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