I first heard about the Wiki when I found Wikipedia the online Encyclopedia. By December of 2005 I learned there was more to Wiki’s than Wikipedia. The technology behind a Wiki is pretty straight forward- it allows you to place content on a web site without learning HTML or using FTP to update your page…
Wiki pages look and act like normal web pages, except they have an “Edit” link that makes it easy to modify existing pages and add new pages into the web site, using basic editing rules. You do not need to know or use any HTML or CSS. Page editing can be left open to the public or restricted to small groups of authors. –PMwiki
All the magic takes place in your browser. Like blogging software there are two approaches: Free Wiki hosting and Wiki software for your server.
A Wiki uses a simple mark up language. Some Wiki’s have a toolbar so even the markup language isn’t needed, and you edit your entries much the way you’d edit a page in Word. Wiki’s are blurring the line between products like Google Docs and themselves. Because the markup language is so simple, I find it easy to generate formatted wiki pages from my databases.
I looked at various free Wiki hosting sites. The best of the bunch was PBwiki.com. I’ve been using them for almost 20 months. I really like the simple interface. The free hosting lets you pick from three template designs. It hosts my collection of notes, lists, and information I may need when I’m not at my computer.
PBwiki’s motto is “It’s as easy to make as a peanut butter sandwich.” It is little harder than that but not by much. They have been slowly adding features and guides to make setting up your first wiki as easy as that sandwich.
Another interesting concept is TiddlyWiki. This a portable single file Wiki. I haven’t found a use for it, but the concept is so interesting I keep thinking there has to be something I need it for. I could see putting a mini site on TiddlyWiki on a flash drive being able to have your own personal intranet in your pocket.
The final Wiki I looked at was PMwiki, which is a PHP package. I found it easy to install this package on my web server. It is a full featured Wiki with lots of themes and the ability to customize the package to your heart’s content. I have this running on my personal site hosting MaasMusicWiki a wiki dealing with my love of Pop and Rock Music.
Once you get a Wiki set up it can be used just like a web site- but one that doesn’t require HTML coding or FTP to post the pages.
This post is part six of a series on posting content to the Internet.