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TWiki Success Story of MSCS at Victoria University of Wellington

I have programmed and overseen the deployment of TWiki 4.2 as a content management system for the official web site of the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. Our site receives thousands of hits a day, and is the main conduit for communication between staff and students.

Deploying TWiki for the purpose of a content management system, rather than an open wiki, presented unique challenges that TWiki is well-placed to solve.

Authentication and Editing

We use an in-house authentication system that interoperates with Apache. A basic UserMapper ensures that users' existing UNIX groups and privileges can be easily shared with TWiki. Some tweaks to the templates and a simple plugin to extend TWiki's authentication contexts allows us to only show the Edit button for users that have permission to edit the page. This essentially hides away the "administrative" interface from students and visitors, who do not see any of the wiki functionality. Access control lists provide fine-grained permissions controls that were not available with our UNIX systems.

Plugins

The range of powerful plugins for TWiki enables us to perform tasks previously impossible or time-consuming. LatexModePlugin and DpSyntaxHighlighterPlugin are particular favourites, and have helped to achieve "buy-in" to the wiki from the staff that edit pages with it.

Speed

A vanilla installation of TWiki was slightly troubling speed-wise. We moved from serving static HTML (essentially instantly across the intranet) to having TWiki dynamically generate every page. Once we moved TWiki's view script to PersistentPerl, staff members and visitors have not noticed a difference in load times. Client-side caching of the Javascript and CSS files also helps considerably.

Conclusion

We're extremely happy with our TWiki install. It's given our site much more flexibility and power than we would have had with static HTML or from normal CMSs. The wiki ideology allows for rapid content generation, but the strength of TWiki's authentication system allows us to keep that content generation to trusted individuals.

-- ChrisFLewis - 31 Mar 2008

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Topic revision: r2 - 2010-07-04 - PeterThoeny
 
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