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TWiki on Memory Stick

usb.jpg Wouldn't it be cool to have TWiki installed on a memory stick (USB drive) so that you can take your TWiki data wherever you go? This topic is inspired by MediaWiki on a stick.

TWiki on a stick using TinyWeb

TWikiForWindowsPersonal is a TWiki 4.0.5 distribution for personal use that has everything ready to go on a Windows machine. There is no installation and no registry change; the unzipped package takes 41 MB on disk and can easily be copied to a memory stick.

TWiki on a stick using MicroWeb (old)

MicroWeb, http://www.indigostar.com/microweb.htm is a shareware program (not GPL) that allows you to create a working web site on a removable media, such as CD-ROM or memory stick.

The following instructions are by ScottHoge:

It is possible to set up TWIki on a USB drive using MicroWeb with mixed result:

  • smile possible to get a working install within a half-hour.
  • frown microweb is a bit inflexible in conforming to twiki. It will work, but the layout is non-intuitive.

Installation process:

  • at the top of the drive: unzip twiki, unzip microweb
    • You can delete the php and mysql directories to save space
  • setup twiki scripts:
    • copy all twiki scripts to the cgi-bin directory
    • add a .cgi suffix to all scripts
    • delete the -wT flag for perl in all scripts. (There is probably a way to add these flags to the microweb perl command)
  • configure twiki:
  • configure microweb:
    • set DocumentRoot = /, otherwise, the PatternSkin javascripts are not found.

Likes and dislikes of using MicroWeb:

  • smile TWiki on a stick is certainly good for quick demos.
  • smile The install size can be fairly small: after deleting the non-perl directories from microweb, it took roughly 35MB of space (twiki: 16 MB, perl: 17 MB, plus some extra).
  • smile all installed software is on the USB drive, giving true portability
  • frown having to disable the warning and taint flags.
  • frown lack of decent server debugging tools (it is possible to hang the server when running configure, unknown why.)

Bottom line: MicroWeb will work, and is very simple to set up. There may be better options, however.

-- Contributors: ScottHoge, PeterThoeny - 17 Dec 2006


Although I have not done this myself with TWiki, it could certainly be accomplished using the "Webserver on Stick" model. I've done such things previously with another CGI-based project using IndigoStar MicroWeb, which includes Perl. My recollection is that setting up CGI apps in MicroWeb is a breeze.

-- ScottHoge - 17 Dec 2006

cool! Nice idea! I copied above text from Support.WikiOnaStickTWiki

-- PeterThoeny - 17 Dec 2006

Very quick result Scott! smile

I took the liberty and folded your instructions into the document part above.

-- PeterThoeny - 17 Dec 2006

Great! (in a wiki way)

-- ScottHoge - 17 Dec 2006

MicroWeb looks like a good portable light-weight solution. A somewhat related more heavy-weight solution will also work on memory sticks: Running the full VMware image (see TWikiVMDebianStable). With 2GB memory stick models priced at $30 now and dropping, conserving those megabytes won't be mattering much in the near future. The only issue with the heavy-weight is a slight decrease in portability, because you have to have the VMware software installed on the PC's you'll be using (which I think also means having admin rights to let VMware install the necessary services).

All things considered, I guess it depends on how much of a purist you are when you're looking for portability smile

-- JoshuaJohnston - 17 Dec 2006

I've recently commissioned work and have gotten Puppy Linux running from a memory stick inside QEMU, a free VMware-like tool. The PuppyOS is tiny and, with QEMU, I can start it up as a regular Windows application by running a .bat file from the USB stick without installing any apps on the host. All in less than 85 Mb.

What I'd like to see next is a really good SyncContrib and then the TWikiOnMemoryStick becomes super attractive. It would be nice, for example, to "check out" the pages that you'd expect to be editing, or choose to sync all but without the attachments.

-- KeithHelfrich - 17 Dec 2006

How about adding a new "TWiki on a stick using PuppyOS" section on top?

-- PeterThoeny - 19 Dec 2006

So far I've just got the puppy on a stick. I'll add the new section when I get TWiki going, as well.

-- KeithHelfrich - 19 Dec 2006

Or, possibly create a new TWikiOnPuppyLinux topic, and link to it from here.

-- PeterThoeny - 19 Dec 2006

Browsing the web tonight, I found a few possible replacements for MicroWeb, all open source (GPL or Perl Artistic License):

The Mandriva site lists more possibilities: http://club.mandriva.com/xwiki/bin/view/KB/DistribWeb

-- ScottHoge - 22 Dec 2006

I did some experimentation and got TWiki run on TinyWeb (http://www.ritlabs.com/en/products/tinyweb/), a small 53KB standalone webserver that does not require any installation script and registry change. I had to make a small change to TWiki.pm since the webserver produced an incorrect PATH_INFO. A small standalone distribution can be done with TinyWeb, a subset of IndigoPerl (for Perl) and GNU grep.

-- PeterThoeny - 24 Dec 2006

I'm curious about Peter's comment re. "installation script and registry change." Does this refer to Apache? Over the weekend, I put Apache 2.2 on a USB key without registry changes or an install script. Once I get TWiki running on the key as well, I'll post a HOWTO.

-- ScottHoge - 25 Dec 2006

Scott: I was refering to a small footprint webserver, perl & utilities that do not require an installation script and registry change. This is the case for TinyWeb, Perl of IndigoPerl, and GNU tools.

-- PeterThoeny - 26 Dec 2006

I created a TWikiForWindowsPersonal package that has everytjing you need to run TWiki on Windows for personal use - just unzip it into a USB flash drive. There is a severe bug left, could anyone help debug? Bug now fixed.

-- PeterThoeny - 26 Dec 2006

Keith's approach above of using Puppy Linux and QEMU is also quite interesting as a sort of "TWiki VM on a stick" approach.

-- RichardDonkin - 03 Jan 2007

this is almost exactly what i was looking for. but did you already think about a distribution (like the one coming based on tiny web) with xampp? this could be platform independent and all webserver functionalities would be available...

-- MarcoHug - 15 Jan 2007

XAMPP is certainly an alternative to TinyWeb, although a fatware with Apache, MySQL, PHP + PEAR, Perl, mod_php, mod_perl, mod_ssl, OpenSSL, phpMyAdmin, Webalizer, Mercury Mail, JpGraph, FileZilla FTP Server, mcrypt, eAccelerator, SQLite, and WEB-DAV + mod_auth_mysql. What is the unpacked size? (Does it fit into a memory stick?) What is the startup speed? What needed TWiki functionality would you gain by using XAMPP instead of TinyWeb?

-- PeterThoeny - 15 Jan 2007

You're right, xampp takes a lot of memory (xampp, zipped 28MB, installed 213 MB, xampp lite, 16 and 105 MB, the perl addon is 100MB!, on my 2GB stick it is no problem smile ) but it starts up as fast as TinyWeb. Using xampp one could choose if running twiki only for personal use or with all functionalities. I think a lot of windows people have difficulties installing twiki for testing purposes, me included.

-- MarcoHug - 16 Jan 2007

Has any thought been given to how you could work in the following scenario? I have a TWiki at work with much data, but I'd like to develop more pages for it. However, the only time I can seem to find for doing this is while riding the Light Rail between work and home. My problem is that the Light Rail is not Wifi-enabled, so I can't sign into the work TWiki and update it. My thought is to use a TWiki on a Stick on my laptop and then transfer the results to the TWiki at work.

Is there any possibility of making this work reasonably well or is it going to be a lot of cut-n-paste work? I would think that this type of scenario (2 or more wikis that you want to merge) is not a unique scenario.

-- DavidMasterson - 22 Mar 2007

David, as long as you don't need to "merge" your changes, and a simple overwrite can work, take a look at SyncContrib, or check out http://blog.wikiring.com/Blog/BlogEntry14.

-- RafaelAlvarez - 23 Mar 2007

Darn! I just found this, after creating TWikiOnUniformServer. smile Oh well, here's another server software option for folks to look at.

-- AmandaSmith - 03 May 2007

So, can the "TWiki-on-a-stick" model apply directly to installing TWikiPersonal as an offline wiki (except that you stick it all in a folder on your root drive, like this C:\TWiki)?

Hows about those step-by-step instructions for putting the LatexModePlugin and MathsModePlugins on the Twiki-on-a-Stick too?

Will all plugins work with it?

-- JackMacDaddy - 23 Jun 2008

Topic attachments
I Attachment History Action Size Date Who Comment
Unknown file formatcfg LocalSite.cfg r1 manage 2.4 K 2006-12-17 - 05:17 ScottHoge twiki config file for use with indigo microweb server
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Topic revision: r28 - 2008-06-23 - JackMacDaddy
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