Today Foswiki 1.0 has been released. Foswiki is an enterprise wiki and was started as a fork from TWiki back in October 20081.
With the 1.0 release the software has been re-branded in order to remove any trademark violations that could potentially be sued by the TWiki trademark holders. There has also been a number of bug fixes (~120)2 from the version of TWiki that it was forked from (TWiki 4.2.3).
Foswiki 1.0 vs TWiki 4.2.4
The significant difference between Foswiki 1.0 and TWiki 4.2.4 is the branding. With TWiki being a trademarked name, the fork needed to rebrand the namespace of the code and many of the topics. For example, in TWiki all the documentation is stored in the TWiki web. This has had to be renamed to the System web.
Although there are no differences in main features between the two, Foswiki includes all the bug fixes from TWiki up to 4.2.4, plus the others that have been submitted by the Foswiki community. Therefore it could be said that Foswiki 1.0 is slightly more mature than TWiki 4.2.4.
Compatibility with TWiki
Nothing has changed in the way data is stored in Foswiki. Therefore webs and topics can easily be moved between the two software. However, as the namespace of the code has had to be re-branded, TWiki plugins are no longer compatible. This is why the TWikiCompatabilityPlugin has been written. It enables you to install any plugins available on TWiki.org on Foswiki (well, as long as they used the official plugins API). The other option is to port the TWiki plugins over to the Foswiki namespace.
On Foswiki.org you are able to download plugins that have been ported to the Foswiki namespace. There are also plugins available to download that are still in the TWiki namespace. This is because a lot of developers have been locked out of TWiki.org and so they can only contribute to the fork, but they still need to support their TWiki installs until the time is right for them to be upgraded. Therefore they are able to contribute upgraded versions of their extensions while keeping them compatible with TWiki.
Foswiki or TWiki?
If you are new to both these projects then I would recommend Foswiki. Having been subscribed to both mailing lists it is clear that there is much more activity in the Foswiki community and many more checkins to their Subversion repository3. On the other hand there has been hardly any activity on the TWiki mailing lists, with many days the only emails sent out is the warning of unit test failures4.
If you are comming from TWiki and are wondering if you should move with the fork, then its a tough decision. While there is clearly more activity on Foswiki, at the end of the day both of these have the same features and a stable code base. So for the moment the best thing is probably to wait until Foswiki has had time to innovate and release some new features and/or extensions that TWiki does not have. If/when this happens then it may be time to move with the fork.
So what’s the future for TWiki? Well, it recently had its 10th birthday when project leader (and TWIKI.NET founder) Peter Theony promised a new release in January or February that will “advance TWiki as a web 2.0 player”5. It will be interesting to see if they meet that release target and what new features it has. Who knows, perhaps he has something special up his sleeve that will bring back some developers and activity to the TWiki project? Only time will tell.