Wiki + mailing list + Shibb integration as a virtual organisation

Serge Aumont and Olivier Lumineau, Comité Réseau des Universités, France

Mailing lists are very old tools ; they are still widely used and it seems that they can’t be replaced. However, working groups need some more wider groupware environments, in particular in order to produce a public website (the production of the group is often made of documents, published on the web). These groups also need to share documents in an intranet to carry their collaborative work. Wiki is an appropriate tool to provide these two publishing services for a working group.

This poster was created to demonstrate how Dokuwiki and Sympa mailling list server can be integrated using middleware technologies, in order to provide an efficient groupware environment. A scheme will show how Shibboleth, Sympa and Dokuwiki can be integrated to provide a coherent service where the list server is used for pushing services and the wiki for a collaborative web platform. This integration allows both tools to share the same authentication service either based on Sympa soap server or, even better; based on Shibboleth infrastructure.
The authorisation in dokuwiki is based on a group concept. The goal of the proposed solution is to match dokuwiki group definition to Sympa list membership. This way, a list owner that controls subscriptions to the working group list, also controls the wiki privileges to view/edit the website of the same group. Adding a new member to the group consists in adding him/her to the associated mailing list, web access control are automatically inherited.

The integration did not require any change to the code of Dokuwiki nor to Sympa. It is based on a Dokuwiki plug in which acts as a SOAP client for the Sympa server. They will describe the plug in architecture and configuration to achieve both Single Sign-On and authorisation features. Dokuwiki, Sympa and the required plug in are free open source software.

This solution has been running for one year on the CRU website. They have recently generalised this solution to make it available for any working group hosted by the CRU. The last section of this poster shows how wiki farms can be coupled with the Sympa authentication and authorisation mechanism, to provide a generalised groupware service. As a result, list owners can create their own wiki with an appropriate web form and they become wiki administrator.