Those of you who speak techie will probably already have heard of wiki, a relatively recent innovation web-publishing technology. Those of you who do not, bear with me for a moment – I think you’ll be intrigued.
Wiki is a way of publishing content on the web which both simplifies the process – similar to the way a blogging app does – and makes the published content immediately available for annotation or editing by anyone in the audience.
A wiki author may chose to activate or design levels of access, naturally. However, it’s not been common yet to create layered editing privileges among wiki users. http://c2.com/cgi/wiki is the site of the original team that developed wiki.
As is the case with all things computerly, early adopters of this publishing approach tended to be computer progammers and their ilk; wiki is obviously immediately attractive in a distributed collaborative environment, such as an open-source software development project. It’s looking like wiki will become the standard way of creating process and progress documentation for such projects.
My friend Chris Dent is one of many creators of wiki variations, which emulate the fundamental features of wiki but which add to or alter that feature set in intriguing, creative ways. Chris’s implementation of wiki is called warp, and its’ distinct functionality is that where wiki enables you to edit content or add a link to a new page, Chris’s system primarily asks you to contribute definitions of individual words within the warp space.
Once you’ve added a definition, every appearance of that word in the warp database links to that definition.
Here’s Chris’ original warp, SLISWarp; and here is the public warp he offers to the world, GlobalWarp. Chris has kindly set up a wiki for a projcet I keep meaning to do, which is essentially wikiwarping Jason Webley’s lyrics. I’ll get there eventually.
I suspect that we’ll see the addition of XML-based data-portal hooks to wiki-hosting environments soon, such that the wiki administrator could set their wiki to automagically adopt the linksets generated by, for example, Chris’ warps, or the wikipedia. My buddy Adam thinks that there’s a possible industry in wikihosting. He may be right.
I think that in order for wikis to move to the next stage of popular adoption, several hurdles must be cleared.
- simplification of installation; provision of support for installation
- the addition of security and authorial privilege layers
- base-wide linking of terms a la Warp while retaining page and topic linking a la Wiki
- a visible commercial success built around Wiki-style interactive authoring
- XML data-pass as mentioned above
Start your thinking caps!