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wiki

Page history last edited by PBworks 14 years, 4 months ago

What is a wiki?

 

A wiki is a particular sort of website. Wiki is short for wikiwiki which is Hawaiian for very quick. (Wiki also means quick in Hawaiian, but pedantically, the software concept is named after WikiWiki, one of the early wiki programs, not directly from wiki.)

 

The motto of all wikis is if you can see it, then you can change it. That's not quite true, but true enough to be pandemonium. It's a collaboration tool gone wild. No control. Chaos.

 

And surprisingly to some, productivity. Community. Many big corporates are using wiki programs such as Zwiki or TWiki. Wikipedia has written its own wiki program.

 

The ability to change things isn't just a matter of permission of course. There's also the matter of convenience. A wiki makes it easy to change things.

 

It does this in two ways:

 

Firstly, a wiki is written in a simplified web design language called wikitext. There are many varieties of wikitext, but they all look a little but similar and are intended to be used by people who are not computer specialists.

Secondly, a wiki has, on (nearly) every page, a link that says Edit this page or something similar. You need to be logged in to see these links on this wiki, but you don't on many, such as Wikipedia.

 

Click the view wiki source link at the bottom of this page to see how easily it was written. That's the code that you modify to change it. If you've ever looked at the HTML code in which some other websites are written, you'll notice a big difference. HTML is designed to be read by computers, not people. On a wiki website, the HTML is also written for you by the computer.

 

Many web authoring tools will write HTML for you of course. But a wiki doesn't store this HTML. It generates it, from the wikisource, every time anyone views the page. It's kinda cute.

 

Here, we are using a wiki to maintain a website, and also to provide a community space. There's a password that allows you to see the community space, or to edit any page at all. That's the only control we have or think we need.

 

This addresses the perennial problem of church websites (websites in general in fact), How can we keep it up to date?, and provides the community discussion spaces as a bonus. Access is not a matter of need. It's by default.

 

So that's what a wiki is. We hope you like ours. We do.

 

See also neatness.

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