We aim to create the best wiki ever and not the easiest-to-install wiki ever. Those two things are kind of in opposite to each other.
Ehm, hate to break the bubble for you here, but those two are far from opposites, they should rather go hand in hand! It all depends on the user-base you're aiming for. It's impossible to be the 'it' for one and all, which is where Wikidot has come to an ever so little crossroad here now. If you want the use of Wikidot to grow outside your own hosted community, you'll have to join the common playingfield instead of trying to invite everyone else to your own.
Anyways, if we hadn't release our code, would YOU be happier?
As a non-developer, yes, most definately. If you are indeed planning to make the wikidot install work as with any other popular web application in the end, then I would advise you to not make releases like this and give people like me the completely wrong idea. The first release should reflect the basics of how the application works, and the reflection of Wikidot as it stands does not appeal to me. I want to know what will be of this application right now, so that I can either start looking for a better alternative, or keep in waiting, knowing that it's not in vain, which is the opposite of what it's felt like up to this point. I regret waiting.
I'd like to make an example of what I always imagined Wikidot to be like in the end. I find Wordpress to be quite ideal for this purpose, seeing as blogs are to a great degree the equivalent of wikis, in the sense that people can join up, write and submit content freely, and have all these submissions sorted neatly by the application itself.
Scenario #1: Wordpress
By many, considered 'the best Blogging-solution out there', both as a free blog-provider, and as completely free, open source software. Wordpress' user-aim is on the average user, all the way up to the advanced, but that's where they sometimes fail at some areas. High-tech users have many more preferences and special features deciding what makes an application fit for them, whereas to the low, or really non-tech user, ease-of-use and the most popular features working nicely is all you'll look at.
Wordpress offers a nice range of different solutions for all these kinds of people who want a nice applicationg for free. You start off with basic blogging on their free server, then you start learning how to add extensions, add themes, and maybe even customize them a little bit. At some point you might feel like 'braking loose', and Wordpress is by no means trying to hold you back here, as they offer their software for free as well. All you have to do now is find a server, and learn the basics for installing a web application online. You are now entering the ranks of the slightly more techy. At this point you might be learning more about extensions, themes and web development in general. In the end, you'll even be ready for new applications, because many of the things you did when you used Wordpress are pretty much exactly the same for other similar and popular web applications out there.
Scenario #2: Wikidot
Different kinds of people would really end up on the same dead end here. Here are some examples of these people:
- That guy who used a couple of applications before this, figured out how to install them, and quickly realized that it's all pretty much the same. I'm that guy.
- That guy who joined some online communities, noticed that other communities were using the very same software, tries and grows fond of Wikidot, sees that it's free of charge and downloadable; comes to the conclusion that he wants to make his own little community site, like those other guys he'd seen did it.
- That guy who joined Wikidot.com as his first experience with a wiki and open source web applications. He plays around with wikidot for about a year, enjoying the hell out of all the features it offers, and doesn't see how it could be any better. His community grows, and he suddenly realizes that he'd like to buy his own domain with less restrictions, and so he educates himself about the basic web dev knowledge you need to install these other similar web applications and he's finally ready to give it a shot.
Oh bloody hell… It seems either requires a program we've never laid hands on before and then follow countless confusing steps that hardly seem to be the same for case, or we'll have to install and get used to Unix systems all of a sudden, and get a good enough understanding of both Unix systems and Wikidot in order to stand ready for any difficulties we might encounter on the way to the grand install…
Now this whole ordeal could probably be made a whole lot less frustrating if the famed creator of Wikidot could make one of his somewhat rare appearances at this forum.