Administrator Skills Assumptions

01 Oct 2015 - 13:47 | Version 1 |

Several skills (i.e. knowing how to do something) are needed to set up and maintenance of a Foswiki installation. Remember that several layers of technology are used for delivering one web page: Operating system, web server, CGI (or Fast CGI), internal Foswiki functions, templates, jQuery, HTML, etc, so general web computing knowledge is needed for Foswiki administration. The most important are the following:

  1. At an Operating System level, you should know how to:
    • use command line tools (even in Windows)
    • work on files, specially:
      • move/copy/delete
      • change permission
    • view logs
    • set environment variables
    • use a text editor
    • install system updates and software packages
    • [Only for Windows] know the mapping between Unix commands and Windows equivalent
  2. At the Web server level, you should know how to:
    • find the web server directory, and which system user runs the web server
    • make a basic setup, specifically:
      • editing configuration files
      • enabling CGI scripts in a directory
      • allowing or denying access to specific directories
    • debug/understand web server errors, by accessing and understanding the server logs
  3. at the Perl level, you should know how to:
    • install/upgrade Perl
    • launch Perl scripts
    • install Perl CPAN modules
  4. Depending of your context: your own server (with full access) or web hosting, you could need to know:
    • for own server, how to obtain root access; login passwords or the sudo command
    • for web hosting/shared server, you need to know how to investigate the configuration and/or be able to contact/discuss with the technical support for your web hosting service. Be careful, web hosting sites are sometimes challenging even for those with good OS and web server skills.
  5. For solving problems, you should know how to:
    • test and describe a problem by identifying which component failed
    • inspect error logs
    • talk to technical support (whether in an IT department or web hosting provider)
    • read documentation in order to help with diagnosing problems
  6. [rarely] Program compilation, you need to know how to:
    • compile a program (configure, make, ...)
    • install the program

Knowing HTML and web design are insufficient to install Foswiki. Unless you learn the above skills or team up with someone who can handle the installation, please consider the other solutions, listed below.

I don't know all of that, what can I do ?

Using Virtual Machine

If you don't know all of these administration skills, the Foswiki team provides a ready to use installation of Foswiki in a Virtual Machine (VM). Basically, this can be installed on Windows or Linux, and makes it possible to get a working Foswiki system within 5 minutes (after a fairly big download). See Foswiki:Download.OtherFoswikiInstallers for downloading the VM. This VM works well for personal installations, or for testing, but is not recommended for production environments.

Learn it!

If you don't know all of these skills, you can learn it! The Internet provides many sources of information about all these skills

There are many excellent resources for learning how to administer your OS and web server, including books, web sites, web forums, IM and e-mail lists. The Foswiki:Support web should not be depended on as a resource for this purpose - in other words, it is not there to answer basic questions about operating system and web server administration. Asking and answering questions is time consuming for all concerned and is best used for specific Foswiki related issues, rather than helping you learn the OS and web server.

Related Topics: AdminDocumentationCategory

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