What's the future of hosting MediaWiki?


What is to be the future of running one's own MediaWiki? Shall there be a dozen different services required (database, cache, search, parser, ...) all running with different technologies and different systems of upgrading and support? Or will we head back to the "old days" (in which things like WordPress still exist) where it's basically just a single PHP application, perhaps now with its own dependency manager (i.e. Composer), and nothing much else? Are people with shared hosting accounts going to still be able to get it running? Will they be able to get it running more easily than they can today? (Certainly, they're not often currently getting it running with Visual Editor, for example.)

I'd like to think that MediaWiki will become easier to install. Maybe that means going in the direction of Discourse, and only supporting deployment via Docker, in order to hide the complexities of all the required services. But that's got a whole lot of confusions of its own, that I think are perhaps too much. Is the future of self-hosting really going to be VPSs, or even "serverlessness"? I guess it could be. The security conundrums with shared hosts are bad, certainly... but perhaps not as bad as poorly-managed whole servers? At least Dreamhost and their ilk monitor for suspicious-looking stuff; Digital Ocean couldn't care less untill you're such a spam farm that you're interferring with other things.

Imagine if MediaWiki (with all the good bits as well) were super easy to install, that people could turn to it for any collaborative editing website! I guess I'm probably just showing my age though, and am harking back to 2002 when it seemed desirable that people would control their own bit of the web. Still, I do think MediaWiki does multiple-people-editing-multiple-pages-quickly rather well, and is still easier to use (once installed) than some combination of "Markdown files on Github and photos loaded from Instagram and embeds from Twitter" or "put it all on WordPress.com" (or God forbid "we don't need anything now we've got Slack").

MediaWiki, through it's structure and editing philosophy, really does encapsulate something great about the open web: we've got pages, they contain whatever you want, there are links between them, all changes are tracked, and beyond that lies an infinite field of human creativity and ingenuity. No algorithms to coorce your behaviour, nothing hidden and nothing prohibited. It still makes sense, and I think there's still a future for this sort of thing.

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