What’s a Wiki
In response to a recent comment, What on earth is a Wiki?, I thought I’d go ahead and create a post about it, including links to more information, resources, and examples.
I think of a Wiki as a collaborative website in which anyone can add or edit the content. They’re growing in popularity for sharing information, working on projects, and more. As Ward Cunningham, creator of the wiki, explains:
“Any information can be changed or deleted by anyone. Wiki pages represent consensus because it’s much easier to delete flames and spam than indulge them. What remains is naturally meaningful.
“Anyone can play. This sounds like a recipe for low signal - Wiki gets hit by the great unwashed as often as any other site - but to make an impact on Wiki, you need to generate real content. Anything else will be removed. So anyone can play, but only good players last.”
Wiki Explanations, Information
- OneMinuteWiki provides a brief explanation.
- The Wiki Way is a book review by Eugene E. Kim but it provides a terrific explanation of Wikis and how they work.
- Why Wiki Works is a fascinating article about why this approach works. By Ward Cunningham, creator of the wiki.
- Wiki History explains how and why the wiki idea and programming was created and founded in 1995 as an automated supplemented to the PortlandPatternRepository. Written by Ward Cunningham, creator of the wiki.
Wiki: A Few Examples
- Atom Wiki is a wiki for 'syndicating, archiving and editing episodic web sites' including the hotly debated syndication format.
- css-discuss Wiki is a terrific example of a community effort to provide and share helpful information and resources about CSS. Provided by the css-discuss discussion email list.
- IA wiki is a fantastic wiki devoted to Information Architecture.
- Javapedia is Sun’s wiki devoted to all things Java.
- Joi Ito’s Wiki is a community-oriented wiki where you’ll find many things going on and is ever-changing.
- WikiPedia is a fabulous collaborative online encyclopedia.
Innovative and Imaginative Use of Wiki Programming
Matt Haughey takes the wiki to an impressive new level by modifying phpwiki to suit his purposes as a backend for a fresh new and gorgeous design of his website. He describes his thoughts behind his approach and what he did in his September 1 post, CSS wiki zen garden. See also Matt’s About page for more of his thoughts. Then by request he’s now generously providing all his changed phpwiki files with some notes via his September 4 post, Behind the Wiki.
I find Matt’s use of the wiki programming highly creative, even if it ventures away from Cunningham’s idea of collaboration. Matt’s taken the technology and figured out a way to use it to make his site development and maintenance easier while also adhering to W3C Recommendations.
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