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What is a Wiki?

“A wiki is a Web application whose content is collaboratively added, updated, and organized by its users.” (Mitchell)

The emphasis in a wiki is on:

  • Letting all users create pages quickly.
  • Making it easy to link pages to each other.

Open vs. closed

  • Wikis can be completely open–meaning anyone can edit pages.
  • A wiki can also be closed–meaning you must have an account to edit the wiki
  • Or private–meaning you must have an account to view the wiki.

History

“Wikis can be dated to 1995, when American computer programmer Ward Cunningham created a new collaborative technology for organizing information on Web sites. Using a Hawaiian term meaning 'quick,' he called this new software WikiWikiWeb.” (Britannica)

Typical wiki features

Easy writing

The central feature of a wiki is that it “supports hyperlinks and has a simple text syntax for creating new pages and crosslinks between internal pages on the fly.” (Wiki: What Is Wiki.)

  • wiki markup language: a simple text-based system for writing pages.
  • wiki engine: the program that runs a wiki
  • Each wiki engine tends to have its own markup language–but with similar features.
  • Creole: an attempt to create a standard markup language for wikis.

Easy writing

Sometimes, a toolbar will be provided on the editing screen with icons to insert the most commonly used markup.

Sometimes a wiki will supply a WYSIWYG interface for writing pages, similar to what you would find in a word processor.

Page history

Many wikis also maintain a history of your page editing.

  • Every change you make to a page is kept track of so you can compare the current version to an older one.
  • Especially important in an open wiki in case someone makes some really bad changes–on purpose or by accident.

Ways to get a wiki of your own

It is easy to create your own wiki.

You generally have two choices:

  • use a hosted service
  • install a service yourself

Hosted service

There are a number of services that let you create a wiki on their servers–many for no cost.

  • Pro:
    • They've done the hard work of setting up the service for you.
  • Cons:
    • Typically will insert advertising into your pages to make money
    • Many limit the number and/or size of pages in their free offerings.
    • May go out of business–and take your wiki with them!

Hosted service

Some popular hosted wiki services include:

Self-installed service

To install your own wiki service, you will need to have an account with a Web hosting service.Then you can usually install a wiki engine by uploading the needed files or sometimes just enabling an engine in the Web host's control panel.

  • Pro: your wiki will be free from advertising and won't have space and other limitations.
  • Con: you may have to fix any problems that come up and make backups yourself.

Self-installed service

Some popular and/or easy to install wiki engines include:

References

Mitchell, Scott. “Easy Wiki Hosting, Scott Hanselman's blog, and Snagging Screens.” MSDN | Microsoft Development, Subscriptions, Resources, and More. Microsoft, Inc., 1 July 2008. Web. 29 Mar. 2011. <http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/magazine/cc700339.aspx>.

“Wiki: What Is Wiki.” Wiki: Welcome Visitors. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Mar. 2011. <http://www.wiki.org/wiki.cgi?WhatIsWiki>.

“wiki (Web site) – Britannica Online Encyclopedia.” Encyclopedia - Britannica Online Encyclopedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Mar. 2011. <http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/1192819/wiki>.

computer_basics/what_is_a_wiki_slides.1351017718.txt.gz · Last modified: 2012/10/23 18:41 by mithat