Several years ago, I tried to install a wiki. Back then, the most popular wiki was a horrible mess of spaghetti code, and I just couldn’t figure it out. The others all seemed to require too much setup and configuration.

So, I wrote my own wiki engine. I had my own goals, so I didn’t call it a wiki; I called it a Wala, which I believe is a Hawaiian word for “talk” (“wiki” is Hawaiian for “quick”). My Wala includes an “Add to this page” field at the bottom of each page, so that folks can quickly append information to a page. This creates a very different user interaction flow than a standard wiki, which requires users to navigate to a separate Edit page to change a page.

I released the code on various places, and Brennen picked it up. He went his own wonderful direction with it, and ended up with a much more powerful version. He wanted to release his own version, too.

After we discussed it a bit, he created WalaWiki.org, a website backed by a Subversion repository that hosts both of our versions of the Wala.

Wala is undoubtedly the most popular piece of code I’ve ever written, and I’m very happy with it: feature complete, easy to install, and easy to change, with clean code and essentially no bugs. Literally, you just have to put two files on your website, in a non-read-only directory, and your web hosting company has to support Perl.

So, if you want to install a wiki or wiki-like app, consider Wala. And let me know what you think.

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