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“A swiki (Squeak WIKI) is a wiki written in Squeak. They are fairly commonly used by the Georgia Institute of Technology's College of Computing as collaborative group web pages. It is also used in K-12 education and has been used successfully with 4th graders and higher. A Swiki has its own web server that can be set to run on ports 80, 8000, 8080 or 8888.” (Wikipedia, retrieved 16:51, 5 November 2009 (UTC)).

At TECFA, we have been using Swikis for several purposes, e.g. as Intranet meeting note taking software or with schools. Unlike PHP-based wikis, they have been running for many years without need for upgrading. A swiki server allows to run several independant wikis, each with different permissions.

There exist several themes for the User Interface. Wiki syntax is different from MediaWikis for example. Overally speaking a much easier to use wiki.

“Plug-in tags allow you to include special features in your Swiki page. The tags and attributes are processed like HTML tags (attributes and tag names are case insensitive). The file and image tags allows you to reference uploaded files. The changes tag inlines the recent changes to the site. The calendar tag embeds a calendar with dates linking to pages. The blog tag embeds the calendar entries into a page. The graph and vote tags create graphs tabulating the votes of visitors. The rss tag embeds information from another site published through really simple syndication. The inline tag embeds the content of another page. The since and until tags embed a measurement of time.” (Swiki 1.5 help page)

Installation and upgrading tips

It is fairly easy to install and run a swiki server. If you have an existing webserver on the same machine, you will have to run the wiki on another port (e.g. 88 or 8000). That may cause problems if your users learn or work in organization with unfriendly network administrators.


However, on nov 2009 I run into a problem: "key not found" when I wanted to upgrade an old 1.3 version Squeak 3.7 :: Comanche 7.0.2 :: Swiki 1.5. Some things needed be done in the right order.

(0) Move the old ComSwiki directory to ComSwiki.old

(1) Download and unpack in the old place (since you probably have a startup script that just works fine ..)

(2) Run ./squeak first. You will see an admin console with the initial password.

  • Change the port number,
  • Star the server, change the admin password
  • Then stop it,
  • Then save it

(3)The "docs" swiki is no longer maintained. If you have been using the docs parent for your wikis, you need to edit all setup.xml files and change the line

 <s name="parent" type="text">docs</s>


 <s name="parent" type="text">refs</s>

(4) Then only, copy all the other swiki/sub directories from the old wiki to the new one. Do not copy the old default and refs directory or you will deeply regret and loose an afternoon (or more)