August 14, 2006
Pro Wiki And Moin Moin

MoinMoin is a wiki engine we have always admired and we were eager to learn from. In this comparison - which may be biased - we will not argue that ProWiki is better than MoinMoin (although we believe so) but we want to make clear the specific strengths, weaknesses and fundamental differences.

Strengths of MoinMoin

MoinMoin once, probably in 2001-2002, was the best wiki engine in the world. It was the first to support UTF-8 and therefore became very popular in Asia and the Arab countries. It used the modern programming language Python and had a good looking user interface with lots of nice icons.

There were two reason why we didn't use MoinMoin or used it instead of UseMod for developing ProWiki. The first was that we had already invested a lot of work into UseMod at that time. The second reason was the language Python, which was not easily available from providers at that time and - although modern - was not my taste. -- HelmutLeitner

Weaknesses of MoinMoin

When one looks at MoinMoin today it is weird: it is clear that MoinMoin has technically improved over time and many features were added. But at the same time, these features show and they make MoinMoin complex to use.

Part of this is that MoinMoin tries to emulate the Wikipedia design and philosophy. But the philosophy and features of MoinMoin and MediaWiki don't match, MoinMoin doesn't have the natural feeling and polish of Wikipedia, so it doesn't feel good to use it anymore. MoinMoin seems to have lost the confidence in its own strength and individuality. It has lost its direction and stagnates, which is a pity.


This is not a feature-by-feature comparison but concentrates on the important aspects and differences.

ProgrammingLanguagePythonPerlPython is object-oriented and modern. Perl is powerful and dirty. This is a matter of taste, discussions are useless, just make your decision.
LanguageSupportI18nGerman > English > French > I18nMoinMoin always targeted the international market while ProWiki fully adapted to the German market (it's #1 there). Now the ProWiki translations lag behind but when they exist they are more complete and feel better.
targeted CustomerTypeWikiOwnerWikiProviderLike most wiki engines MoinMoin targeted the single-wiki market while ProWiki was written for the needs of WikiService supporting 100+ wiki projects. This shows: it's easier to install and maintain one MoinMoin than one ProWiki, but on the other hand it's very much easier to support 10-100 ProWikis than the same number of MoinMoins.
ProductPhilosophyTechnical ToolSocial - Technical - SystemMoinMoin was always a pure technical tool and - it was up to the user to be successful. The experience of WikiService showed that the technical tool doesn't work without a lot of social knowledge, so the social aspects and the social feedback much more influenced the technical development and specific quality of ProWiki.

Of course all this is my subjective view and open for discussion. -- HelmutLeitner