TWiki: Wikis


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Developer(s) Peter Thoeny with TWiki contributors
Initial release 23 Jul 1998
Stable release 4.3.2  (September 2, 2009) [+/−]
Preview release None  (None) [+/−]
Written in Perl
Operating system Cross-platform
Type Wiki
License GPL
Website and

TWiki is a Perl-based structured wiki application,[1] typically used to run a collaboration platform, knowledge or document management system, a knowledge base, or team portal. Users can create wiki applications using the TWiki Markup Language, and developers can extend its functionality with plugins.

The TWiki project was founded by Peter Thoeny in 1998 as an open source wiki-based application platform. In October 2008, the company, created by Thoeny, assumed full control over the TWiki project [2], while nearly all of the remainder of the developer community[3][4] forked off the Foswiki project [5].


Major features

  • Revision control - complete audit trail, also for meta data such as attachments and access control settings
  • Fine-grained access control - restrict read/write/rename on site level, web level, page level based on user groups
  • Extensible TWiki markup language
  • TinyMCE based WYSIWYG editor
  • Dynamic content generation with TWiki variables
  • Forms and reporting - capture structured content, report on it with searches embedded in pages
  • Built in database - users can create wiki applications using the TWiki Markup Language
  • Skinnable user interface
  • RSS/Atom feeds and e-mail notification
  • Over 400 Extensions and 200 Plugins

TWiki extensions

TWiki has a plugin API that has spawned over 400 extensions[6] to link into databases, create charts, tags, sort tables, write spreadsheets, create image gallery and slideshows, make drawings, write blogs, plot graphs, interface to many different authentication schemes, track Extreme Programming projects and so on.

TWiki application platform

TWiki as a structured wiki provides database-like manipulation of fields stored on pages[7], and offers a SQL-like query language to embed reports in wiki pages.[8]

Wiki applications are also called situational applications because they are created ad-hoc by the users for very specific needs. Users have built TWiki applications[9] that include call center status boards, to-do lists, inventory systems, employee handbooks, bug trackers, blog applications, discussion forums, status reports with rollups and more.

User interface

The interface of TWiki is completely skinnable in templates, themes and (per user) CSS. It includes support for internationalization ('I18N'), with support for multiple character sets, UTF-8 URLs, and the user interface has been translated into Bulgarian, Chinese, Czech, Danish, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Swedish [10].

TWiki deployment

TWiki is primarily used at the workplace as a corporate wiki[11] to coordinate team activities, track projects, implement workflows[12] and as an Intranet Wiki. The TWiki community estimates 40,000 corporate wiki sites as of March 2007, and 20,000 public TWiki sites[13].

TWiki customers include Fortune 500 such as Disney, Google, Motorola, Nokia, Oracle Corporation and Yahoo!, as well as small and medium enterprises[14], such as ARM Holdings[15] and DHL[16]. TWiki has also been used to create collaborative internet sites, such as the city of Melbourne site where citizens can collaborate on the future plan[17] for the city.


TWiki is implemented in Perl. Wiki pages are stored in plain text files. Everything, including meta such as access control settings, are version controlled using RCS. RCS is optional since an all-Perl version control system is provided.

TWiki scales reasonably well even though it uses plain text files and no relational database to store page data. Many corporate TWiki installations have several hundred thousand pages and tens of thousands of users. Load balancing and caching can be used to improve performance on high traffic sites[18].

TWiki has database features built into the engine. A TWiki Form[7] is attached to a page as meta data. This represents a database record. A set of pages that share the same type of form build a database table. A formatted search[19] with a SQL-like query[20] can be embedded into a page to construct dynamic presentation of data from multiple pages. This allows for building wiki applications and constitutes the TWiki's notion of a structured wiki.

TWiki release history

  • 1998-07-23: Initial version, based on JosWiki, an application created by Markus Peter and Dave Harris[21][22]
  • 2000-05-01: TWiki Release 01-May-2000
  • 2000-12-01: TWiki Release 01-Dec-2000
  • 2001-09-01: TWiki Release 01-Sep-2001
  • 2001-12-01: TWiki Release 01-Dec-2001 ("Athens")
  • 2003-02-01: TWiki Release 01-Feb-2003 ("Beijing")
  • 2004-09-01: TWiki Release 01-Sep-2004 ("Cairo")
  • 2006-02-01: TWiki Release 4.0.0 ("Dakar")
  • 2007-01-16: TWiki Release 4.1.0 ("Edinburgh")
  • 2008-01-22: TWiki Release 4.2.0 ("Freetown")
  • 2009-09-02: TWiki Release 4.3.2 ("Georgetown")

Forks of TWiki

Forks of TWiki include:

  • 2001: Spinner Wiki (abandoned)
  • 2003: O'Wiki fork (abandoned)
  • 2008: Foswiki[23] launched in October 2008 after TWiki adopted a community governance model that "based on the Ubuntu project",[24][25] resulting in the departure of key TWiki contributors.[2]


See also


  1. ^ "Everything You Need To Know To Get Started With Content Management Systems". InformationWeek. September 10, 2007. "TWiki is a structured wiki, which is a combination of a traditional freeform wiki and a more structured database" 
  2. ^ a b Matt Asay (October 29, 2008). "TWiki's hunt for cash fractures its community". CNET. 
  3. ^ "TWiki Watch: TWiki Contributors". 
  4. ^ "Development of Foswiki and TWiki - Get the Facts (Part 1)". 
  5. ^ R. Morin: TWiki and Foswiki: the road ahead
  6. ^ "extension repository". Retrieved 2009-07-07. 
  7. ^ a b "TWiki Forms". Retrieved 2009-07-07. 
  8. ^ SEARCH variable, formatted search, SQL-like query search
  9. ^ "Sample TWiki applications". Retrieved 2009-07-07. 
  10. ^ TWiki Contributors. "User Interface Localisation". Retrieved 2008-03-01. 
  11. ^ Paper on corporate wiki users (slides)
  12. ^ "The wiki as online conveyor belt" section in BusinessWeek article Make Some Noise - How web 2.0 tools can help you communicate with customers more effectively
  13. ^ "Estimated number of TWiki installations". Retrieved 2009-07-07. 
  14. ^ "What do TWiki users say?". Retrieved 2009-07-07. 
  15. ^ Financial Times article CASE STUDY: Wikis give ARM Holdings a leg-up
  16. ^ "TWiki success story of DHL Packstation". Retrieved 2009-07-07. 
  17. ^ Future of Melbourne City Plan
  18. ^ "TWiki Scalability". Retrieved 2009-07-07. 
  19. ^ "FormattedSearch < TWiki < TWiki". Retrieved 2009-07-08. 
  20. ^ "QuerySearch < TWiki < TWiki". Retrieved 2009-07-08. 
  21. ^ "TWiki Copyright Disclaimer". Retrieved 2008-10-30. 
  22. ^ "TWikiHistory page". Retrieved 2008-10-30. 
  23. ^ "Foswiki home page". Retrieved 2009-04-20. 
  24. ^ Thoeny, Peter; Tom Barton (2008-10-31). "Relaunch Project". Retrieved 2009-02-04. 
  25. ^ "Why this fork?". Foswiki. 2009-01-31. Retrieved 2009-02-04. 

External links

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