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Rings Rings Rings

posted Jul 24, 2011, 5:21 PM by Boyce Crownover   [ updated Jul 24, 2011, 5:22 PM ]
Monday, December 10, 2007, 07:58 AM
Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky,
Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,
Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die,
One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.
- J R R Tolkien

Around a year ago, I realized that hand coding my website was taking more time than it would to use a good CMS. I decided to replace the habits I had of using vim to build all my web pages and put the content into a different system. I wasn't happy about the overhead of the main wiki (MediaWiki) I'd been using, and found PMWiki to be a better option. MediaWiki is powerful and has a rich feature set and is widely adopted, but it relies on a database system, which I didn't really want. I know from past experience that a personal site with meager funding can't afford to be too picky about hosting and thus there is a chance that if I lock myself into a database system, one day it might not be there at all. PMWiki doesn't use a database system, instead it uses files to manage content and indexing. Its widely used (although not as widely as MediaWiki) and the syntax isn't too tough to learn. Overall, it has served me well.

The next step was to gather content and put it into the wiki, but there was a pretty ungainly bundle of web pages on the site, and a lot of them used common resources and customized scripts I'd written over the years. To deal with that, I started gathering them into three groups, computer stuff, general writing and entertainment. In the process, each got its own wiki system and eventually pretty much everything that could be bundled had been bundled.

Now I'm consolidating the three wikis into a single wiki. This should make the entire site much easier to manage and make it search friendly. It will take some time, but I'm well on my way now. The trickiest bit is maintaining old paths that have been linked to externally. I have previously been hand coding wiki-like pages to fill the locations, but I'm going to switch to redirects shortly.

So I'm taking my three wikis, which were essentially binding together the site and combining them under one new one. Tolkien would be flattered I think.