Aug 22 2021

gsoclogo.png    xwiki logo.png

About me

I am Sanchita Singh, an undergraduate student at Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur. This was my first time participating for GSoC and I got the opportunity to work under XWiki for developing an easy installation method of production instance of XWiki in AWS account.


The project was aimed to increase the number of active installs in XWiki by providing the end-users with the flexibility to use Cloud Computing or services provided by Amazon Web Services (AWS). There are Three Different parts of this project, three different ways of installing XWiki.

  • XWiki installation using Cloudformtion template (This method is for non-developers who want an easy 1-click installation solution, where you can install your production-ready XWiki in a couple of clicks on AWS)
  • XWiki installation using CDK code (this installation method is also straightforward, but This method is specifically for developers as they will be able to tweak the configurations of the system as per their need since CDK provides a high-level interface where developers can use high-level languages to interact with lower-level Cfn classes)
  • XWiki installation by using AMI on the marketplace (Since marketplace supports only AMI-based templates, we could not use the system design we created for Cloudformation based and CDK-based installation and had to restrict ourselves to EC2 + server-less apps)

Preparation for GSoC

I was going through the list of organizations selected for GSoC 2021 and found XWiki there. While going over the list of proposed projects, the “Amazon AMI for Wiki” got my attention as the requirements of the project align with my experience in the field of Cloud Computing. I started familiarizing myself with community guidelines and made my first forum post introducing myself. I contacted mentors assigned to the project and showed my interest. 

During the application period, I tried to understand the technical knowledge that was required for the project and made 3 pull requests according to Jira issues that my mentor raised. I tried different ways of installing XWiki that were already available and started to figure out what AWS resources would be required for XWiki to run. My mentor suggested me to use CDK as it will be easy to replicate Infrastructure as a code and also to keep track of the work being done. Then I started working on my proposal. I wrote whatever I understood to be required for the project and got it reviewed by mentors. Fortunately to my surprise, I was selected for GSoC 2021 under XWiki. 

Work Summary

For me, The most challenging part of the project was to decide on the architecture to use to run XWiki without interfering with other servers that might be running in the user's AWS account. With the help of my mentor, I finalized the system design for production-based installations on AWS and created the design wiki for the same. The next step was implementation. But before implementing the design via CDK code I started working on making AMI or EC2 instance using AWS console. @Fawad Ali helped a lot while I was getting repeatedly stuck. After that, I started working on CDK code to deploy XWiki demo/test (with a portable database (HSQLDB) and a lightweight Java container (Jetty)) instance on the user's AWS account. It was just coding the process that I did manually on the console. I also added an easy to edit config-file to change the XWiki version and AWS region according to the user's need. This installation method will require to use of AWS Command Line Interface. 

The next step was writing  CDK code for installing the production instance of XWiki, without interfering with the already deployed resources in the user's AWS account. Since we will need a VPC so I created a stack for VPC(Virtual private cloud) that will contain all of the other resources. The job zero would be to create encryption keys as they will be needed later for storing the passwords of resources. For hosting XWiki we will need to store files so for that I created a stack for AWS EFS (Elastic File System) This storage was encrypted by using previously created encryption keys and was located in the private subnet part of the VPC. For the database, I chose to use AWS fully managed Aurora DB with MySQL engine. Then I made a stack for ECS( Elastic container service) and the environment variables for connecting to the database from the ones given in XWiki container documentation and Adding the XWiki Docker image from Docker Hub. For ECS fargate service we needed a task definition that involved specifying vCPU resources available to our XWIKI container, RAM resources available to our XWIKI container, and Volumes available to our XWIKI container. The CPU and RAM specification was specified aligned to the XWiki official documentation. and for volume, It basically the connection of the XWiki container to the EFS previously made. after connecting all the resources the last step was to create the ingress layer or connection layer. I then created a stack for AWS loadbalancer which will be open to the world for outbound connectivity and for the target I added ECS fargate service to make the XWiki installation available to the world. 

Based on the same architecture I created  AWS cloudformation template for XWiki installation using AWS console. This installation method won't require AWS Command Line Interface and can be done in few clicks, by taking user-chosen version XWiki as parameter input. This was done for people with not much technical knowledge to install XWiki without installing anything on the local machine and just by using the AWS console.

Made Amazon Machine Image from EC2 instance running production XWiki (Had to do this because of constraints provided by AWS marketplace). The AMI was not published to the marketplace due to concerns regarding ownership of the project due to credit card requirements for AWS account to publish the AMI from. The AMI has been created in the XWiki SAS AWS account. The AMI has been tested and verified and the XWiki SAS can take it further as per their requirements.

Next, I made Documentation explaining the project and user guide providing a step-by-step guide to deploy XWiki by using cloudformation template and CDK code. also for a better understanding of the project, I Made videos explaining each method and step to deploy XWiki using both installation methods that is CDK code and cloudformation template to put on XWiki's you tube channel to provide better visibility.


Future Plans

I intended to improve this project and also it can act as the starting point for anyone who would be interested in contributing to the project further. A few of the improvements and new features could be the following:

  • Automating the AMI building process for every new version release of XWiki.
  • Extending infrastructure as code for supporting XWiki with PostgreSQL and MariaDB. Currently, it supports MySQL only.
  • Providing installation methods for other cloud-providing platforms, like GCP and Azure.


I had a fun and learning experience while working under XWiki. I was afraid of asking questions initially which I overcame to some extent in the whole journey. I loved the XWiki community and I got guidance and help whenever I got stuck. i would like to thank especially @Sachin Chopra​​@Vincent Massol, @Fawad Ali, @Thomas Mortagne, @Eduard Moraru, Mr. Clément @Ludovic Dubost



Created by Sanchita Singh on 2021/08/20

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