Architecture / Installation

Architecture / Installation

General User Help

posts: 5

I recently managed to install TikiWiki 1.8 on my server via FTP (no shell access). Having accomplished that, I begin to wonder why I did.

I do not understand the general layout of the "community" here, and am also at a loss to figure out where a non-programer (like myself) might ask questions or get help. I subscribed to the FreshMeat discussion set-up, as requested, and don't really know how to navigate that.

With such a wonderful (in theory) software package, can anyone suggest the correct place in this endless maze to figure out how to use 1.8? Why is there no "support" forum (at least that I've been able to find so far) where relatively simple questions might be asked?

As a tech-writer rather than a programmer, I might at least be able to help with rewrites of docs if I could ever figure out how to use the software. From a user standpoint, it isn't just the lack of docs but the lack of avenues for support that make my investment of five or six hours getting it installed questionable.

"Release" implies that the software is usable. This is not the case without docs and support. I can make some basic features work, but without some kind of help it seems like a futile project. I'd like to use the software. I would suggest making things usable before adding tons of features that no one except programmers can use (at least in "release" versions).

The only way the "community" can really grow is by attracting not only programmers, but users.

posts: 175 Canada

Congrats on your tikiwiki install and welcome to the community!

You make several good points about the community that I agree with. I am also more end user then techie. but first, Support.

There is a tremendus amount of info on this site about using tikiwiki. It can be a challendge to find it though. My approach is to search using the search feature at the top right of the page. This will show all kinds of neat stuff.

There is also a site just for Documentation, this is at doc.tikiwiki.org. This is a site in development and has tons of info. (good place if you want to help with rewrites of docs) Again the trick is finding what you want.

The forums are here for help as well. If you have questions from the simple to complex you will find help here. Although I believe the correct forum for these questions is "Features/Usability". Make your questions clear with an indication of your level of understanding and you will get feedback!

If you have a really quick question you may also use the "Shout box" to the right.

And of course there is a place for bug reports at sourceforge which is really handy when we are not sure if it is tikiwiki or us that are making things not work.

Now as far as the community goes I think you are partly right in that it really is not all that user friendly. This is something that has been talked about and that has been on my mind as well. This is a very young project and is still maturing in many ways. I hope that the user friendly part of this will blossom as well.

I have a little rant about this at the forum. Although I guess this really was not the direction the poster had in mind at Noble warriors of Tiki rollout development UNITE

One thing that does seem for sure is that for the most part the members, both users and devs are friendly, helpfull folk. The devs will try to help on a level that we users can understand. As well, our fellow users are also ready to give a hand if they have experienced simular problems.

I believe that it would not take much to make this site a little easy to use. A little encouragement is probably all that would be needed. There has been some movement in this direction. Perhaps a New user introduction page would be a good start.

Any way, hope this helps, James

posts: 5

Thanks for your reply, James. I have searched both here and on the docs site regarding the problems I've been having. In every case I've ended up on either a blank or unhelpful page.

Eventually, I'll start asking specific questions now that I know that someone is actually here. The old dates on most of the messages had me scared.

One thing I didn't make clear in my sort of "introduction" message is that I really love this software's potential. It has everything that I could ever ask for, if I can get it to work. It's the last part that troubles me-- not being a programmer is what makes it seem questionable. I muck around a little bit in code, but I certainly wouldn't call myself a programmer.

It seems like most of the problems I've encountered are "growing pains"-- it may be easy for a programmer to figure out where to go to fix a problem, but it isn't for end users. I do fairly well with vague or complex docs, but nonexistant docs... well, that's another story.

To post in the forums (given the current layout) is sort of daunting for a non-programmer. The "issues" are described in programer rather than user terms. A simple "How do I..." FAQ layout would solve a lot of problems. Most of the docs I've located are more like changelogs "what is different now" instead of "how do I..." The docs for old versions are no different.

Having the table of contents on page 50 or so of the document is another usability problem. Real users will get frustrated with that really fast.

I could go on and on about this stuff, but I'd rather figure out how to use the software. I think it has a lot of potential, if I can ever get it working right. Of course, by then their will probably be a new version with no docs.

posts: 1001 Canada

Hi Jeff,
you are bad to complain about Tiki!
OK, it was just a joke razz
I just wanted to confirm that james is right, Tiki is just too young to avoid getting such feedback. When you learn a bit about project's history, you'll see that a single man did most of the job during the first 6-7 months of the project (Luis Argerich). This changed now, fortunately. This very Tiki-based website didn't appear before july.

FAQs are totally unmaintained and messy. Forums area lost their administrator since monthes. I'll probably ask mose for administrator right here to fix that. A simple "How do I.." forum doesn'T exist neither although we already take those How do I qestions here and in Features/Usability. I'll ask mose if he agrees to create one, I think the time has come. The documentation can also do much better. Currently it's split between this site, doc.tw.o and the 1.6 PDF document (just a bit there).
You can already help about this documentation part. It will necessarily take time.

In the meantime, you can still learn. The hidden key there is our IRC channel #tikiwiki which probably kept the project from dying when Luis Argerich stopped to massively code. You'll always find 30 to 40 people there (although many are AFK). I estimate that about half of Tiki community communications happen there.

See you at #tikiwiki (and hopefully in the team wink )

posts: 8516 Israel

If i may...

No doubt that Tiki is realy a piece of work and there is not enought lines here to thanks the community who put together all the part. (sincerely (!)

But, there is always room for improvement...confused

If i have to test a lot as admin to understand how things goes, the "stupid user" (no offense) don't understand a lot about it.

I began to fill the FAQ section of my Tiki trying to answer simples use questions (kind of things like size, .gif, .jpg how to post in a forum cause peoples simply don't know (!) before they come forwarding my own understanding.

I'm sure i'm not the only one.

May be we can create or regroup all the faq's we've done or wished and create a "standard" set of faq's for the users of our tiki ?

(mine are in french :-))

If this cooperation is allready under way to bas i didn't find it easely !razz

Have a nice day