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Beginners guide to Dokuwiki

When I first started using Dokuwiki I had a lot of problems understanding the working environment and the unfamiliar underlying concepts such as "namespace" and even "wiki". None of it makes sense to a non programmer. The namespace concept and the way documents are stored in wikis and the lack of navigation are particularly disconcerting and probably off-putting. I always have to translate the latest jargon back into plain old English so I can understand it. Here is what I worked out so far. I hope this beginners guide helps anyone new to get started.

I'm assuming you know how to unzip and upload files and all that and you just want to get on and install and use the program.

Dokuwiki Installation

Installation, thankfully, is a breeze. So you've downloaded, unzipped and installed the program. Install into an Offline server first so you can play around, mess up, and delete the lot and start again.Now what? Here's what I think most people might want to do after the initial messing around.

Change the site style

Download a template

Go here: and download and unzip your choice into lib/tpl/ folder.

Configure the template

Go to the Admin Configuration screen and select the new template and save. Go back to your start page and refresh the browser cache. The 3 that have worked for me so far are: **mmClean, r7throot1 and 3**.

They produce a nice Website look and work in both Firefox and IExplorer. You can then mess around with the stylesheet to create your own look and feel.

Create new pages

Now the hard part for a beginner - creating new pages and sections. There is no obvious way to create a page or a section in a wiki once you have created the first one.


Docuwiki, confusingly, uses the namespace concept to create folders as document categories - like drawers in a filing cabinet. It might be that the Dokuwiki way makes more sense in the end than Mediawiki but it is still confusing to most of us users that Mediawiki does it differently but still uses the same concepts and system names. In practical terms a namespace is a physical folder that is shown as a Section in a menu. Click on the section and you will see the documents it contains. Because Dokuwiki does not use a database it is easy to find and see the pages you create. Very nice! Where do the pages go? In the actual folder space on your computer the pages are stored as text files here: \data\pages - but don't edit them from there because you will mess up the wiki indexing.

So how do you create a new folder/namespace?

Dokuwiki installs with a default namespace/section/folder called wiki which comes with a file on syntax and another one about the program. Each folder is a namespace and inside each folder you will see the documents or pages you created. In the beginning when I created documents they were all getting dumped into the root folder and I couldn't work out how to put them somewhere more organised. Some templates come with the Index function already installed and you can see a list of the current folders and documents.

1. From a point in a document you are writing in - [[folder name:document  name]]
2. Search for a page eg computer:dokuwiki. If it does not exist and you click on the Create button you will create a new folder/namespace and a document called dokuwiki
3. Create a new document in a subfolder with [[foldername:subfolder name:document name]]

Delete all documents and folders

If you edit a page and remove all its content then DokuWiki will delete the page, and the associated page name. Very nice!

Install Plugins

There are a lot of plugin enhancements and the first one you might like to install is a navigation system.

NsToC Syntax Plugin

The best (and simplest) I have found so far is NsToC Syntax Plugin which grabs the list of files stored in a section/namespace and presents them as a simple linked list - in fact it creates a navigable sitemap. I can't work without it right now.

addnewpage plugin

Next you might like the addnewpage plugin - which takes the sweat out of creating new pages. You have to add the template call Template:NEWPAGE to your start.txt file but manually via the backend by opening the file from your server via ftp. It won't work if you just add it to a page from the frontend. Alternatively, you can insert code into your template as follows: <?php echo p_render('xhtml',p_get_instructions('Template:NEWPAGE'),$info) ?> Finally, the excellent Blog plugin - creates an easy to use blog front end.

Insert newsfeeds

One other thing you might like to do is insert newsfeeds with the built-in function. The syntax is : {{rss>}}

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