Canda VON 2004 Presentation
Wiki - what is it?
A wiki is a web based group collaboration system.
- Extremely low barrier to participation
- Anyone with a web browser and internet access can participate
- Optional and very simple text based document markup tools
- Automatic Hyperlink creation
- Self-organizing links between pages
- Open editing — anyone can edit anything
- Page editing history automatically maintained
Ward Cunningham, describes his design goal when creating the first wiki:
"The simplest online database that could possibly work."
More here: What is a Wiki
Wiki was invented by Ward Cunningham
in 1995. This original wiki is still online has grown to over 25,000 pages.
More here: Wiki History
What can I do with a Wiki?
Wikis are in use by companies like:
- British Telecom
- many other small to large organizations
For things like:
- FAQ and knowledge base
- To design and document software projects
- To track issues, bugs, and features
- Document management
- Group collaboration
- Software archive
- Internal company intranet (phone directory, job listings, etc.)
The Wikipedia open-content encyclopedia is the largest known wiki.
It has over 600,000 articles in 83 languages contributed by site visitors and growing fast.
There are over 80 million words in the English Wikipedia compared to 55 million words in
the Encyclopedia Britannica.
The content quality varies, but much is of surprisingly high quality.
Software to implement a wiki is freely available in almost any language you can name.
Most wiki software is open source.
One directory of wiki software lists 118 publicly available wiki packages in implemented in
languages ranging from AWK to Visual Basic.
There are also Wiki hosting services, both free and pay:
The major wiki software:
- MediaWiki - Used for Wikipedia (PHP/Mysql)
- Twiki - Very feature rich (Perl/RCS)
- MoinMoin - Multi-platform (Python)
- PHPwiki - (PHP/Mysql)
- Tiki - wiki+forums+polls+blogs+kitchen sink (PHP/Mysql)
The first question that comes to mind when someone first hears about a wiki with its
free-for-all/open content editing and creation --
Why doesn't chaos reign?
Wikipedia.com has over 15,000 contributors that made over 800,000 changes last month
(April 2004). Yet in general, Wikipedia is well organized and has lots of high quality content.
Why doesn't it end up as the internet equivalent of a graffiti covered public wall?
Most people are polite and willing to work cooperatively.
There is community pressure to maintain the integrity of content.
Ease of monitoring
Most wiki's make it easy to monitor changes
- Users can subscribe to be notified via email when selected pages change.
- System reports show all recently changed pages
Ease of recovery
Almost all wikis have an easy way to revert a page to is previous content.
If a page is vandalized, it is very easy to roll back to a previous good version.
Many wikis can block updates from selected users. This feature is seldom needed.
Voip-info.org was started in September 2003 as a place to share the results of my
research on VOIP. Soon after that Olle E. Johansson saw one of my posts on the
Asterisk Mailing list and began posting large quantities of Asterisk Information.
Usage grew rapidly, currently the wiki has over 100,000 registered contributors,
contains over 50,000 pages and receives tens of thousands of visitors per day.
Come join us!
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