As background, I'm the IT manager at Classpros dot com, and we design custom Wikis for hundreds of clients each month, from schools to companies, businesses, government, and even small entrepreneurs.
This book is LIGHT YEARS AHEAD of ANY other book on wikis today! It is up to date, thorough, and perfectly paced for both beginners and advanced users.
The mistake many people make in considering MediaWiki is missing the deep power of Mediawiki NOT for "traditional" wikis, but as a database, with CSS, PHP, HTML and numerous extensions, skins and plug ins. Frankly, if I wanted to start a DBMS foundation for web X.Y (ala Amazon!) with advanced semantic web and text processing, I'd seriously consider Mediawiki, and this is the ONLY text that details all of the key applications OTHER than (as well as) Wikipedia-type objectives.
If you're new to Wikis, you are very fortunate this was published-- get it now! If you're an old pro, perhaps you're like a seasoned Excel user who is brilliant at dashboard and spreadsheet deliverables, but has never touched VBA, deep macros or other features "below the surface" of the program. THIS BOOK gives you the "inside" features that will allow you to inductively project (generalize) to MANY other applications, including your own creative ideas! Much simpler and more powerful than SQL in many ways (but also able to work with it if you choose), this will at least open your mind to MW in many additional lights.
Quick example: I worked with a retired teacher who wanted to start an online database to do instant background screenings for moms, screening potential day care providers. After exploring all the options, she opted for MW and got the whole project done for under $2,000 with MW, a project with estimates as high as $50,000 with other databases! This might seem "far astray" from the Wikipedia applications, but is just an example of the lesser known power of this program that this author explores.
You don't HAVE to know CSS, PHP, HTML etc. to profit from this volume, but at some point you'll have to bring in those aspects and skills to fully customize and take advantage of MW in applications other than straight wikis. For straight Wiki objectives: you STILL need this book, as there are up to date details not available in any current book, with wonderful "follow on" web suggestions to get and keep you continually current. If you're a teacher, this technology is a MUST for educators "with it" in today's online and e-learning technologies.
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