Wiki Way, The: Collaboration and Sharing on the Internet: Quick Collaboration on the Web

Bo Leuf / Ward Cunningham  
Total pages
April 2001
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Table of Contents



Why This Book?

Why You Want to Read This.

Book Structure.

The Authors.

Contributors and Colleagues.

Errata and Omissions.

Contacting Us.

Read the Book, Use the Wiki!


1. Introduction to Discussion and Collaboration Servers.

In this Chapter.

Collaboration and Discussion Tools.

Collaboration Models.

Who Uses Collaborative Discussion Servers?

Whatever For?

Features of a Web-Based Collaboration.

On the Horizon: WebDAV.

Comparing Wiki to Other Collaboration Tools.

2. What's a “Wiki”?

The Wiki Concept.

The Essence of Wiki.

The User Experience.

Usefulness Criteria.

Wiki Basics.

Wiki Clones.

Wiki Implementations by Language.

Other Wiki Offerings.

Non-Wiki Servers.

Wiki Application.

Pros and Cons of a Wiki-Style Server.

Why Consider Setting Up a Wiki?

Other Issues.

3. Installing Wiki.

QuickiWiki--Instant Serve.

Installing Perl.

Installing QuickiWiki.

Multiple Instances.

Wiki and Webserver.

Wiki on IIS or PWS.

The Apache Webserver.

Installing Apache.

Reconfiguring Apache.

Testing Webserver Wiki.

Wrapper Scripts.

General Security Issues.

Security and Database Integrity.

Server Vulnerabilities.

Addressing wiki Vulnerabilities.

Configuring Your Browser Client.

Fonts, Size and Layout.

4. Using Wiki.

In this Chapter.

Quicki Quick-Start.

A Virtual Notebook.

Making Wiki Notes, A Walkthrough.

Wiki as PIM.

A Working Example.

The Content Model.

Internal and External Hyperlink Models.

Browsing Pages.

Editing Pages.

The Browser Editing Model.

Building Wiki Content.

Editing and Markup Conventions.

5. Structuring Wiki Content.

In this Chapter.

Wiki Structure.

Structure Types.

Only a Click Away.

How Hard to Try.

When to Impose Structure.

When Not to Impose Structure.

What is the Purpose of the Wiki?

Structure Patterns.

When to Spin Off New Wiki Servers.


6. Customizing Your Wiki.

In this Chapter.

Hacking Your Wiki Source.

Copyright and Open Source License Policy.

Why Customize?

What to Customize.

7. Wiki Components Examined.

In this Chapter.

Dissecting QuickiWiki.

QuickiWiki Component Model.

Core QuickiWiki Modules.

Sever Component.

Optional Extended Components.

Analyzing Page Content.

Managing User Access.

8. Alternatives and Extensions.

Parsing the Requests.

ClusterWiki Component Model.

The Library Module.

Special Features.

Spell Checking.

Uploading Files.

A Standard Wiki?

9. Wiki Administration and Tools.

In this Chapter.

Events History.

Tracking Page Edits.

Usage Statistics.

Abuse Management.

Access Management.

Permission Models.

Adding Authentication and Authorization.

Administering the Database.

Page Conversions.

Page Management.

Backup Issues.

Server Resources and Wiki Loading.

Avoiding User Waits.

Implementing Wiki Constraints.

Debugging a Wiki.

Programming Resources.


Low-Tech Debugging.

Higher-Level Debugging.


10. Insights and Other Voices.

In this Chapter.

Wiki Culture.

Wiki as Open Community.

Writing Style Contention.

Why Wiki Works.

The Open-Edit Issue.

When Wiki Doesn't Work.

Public Wiki Issues.

Wiki Style Guidelines.

Notifying About Update.

Design and Portability.

Wiki Trade-Offs.


The Future of Wiki.

11. Wiki Goes Edu.

In this Chapter.

CoWeb at Georgia Tech.

Introduction to CoWeb.

CoWeb Usage.

Supported CoWeb User Roles.

CoWeb Open Authoring Projects.

Overall Conclusions.

12. Wiki at Work.

In this Chapter.

Case Studies.


New York Times Digital.

TWiki at TakeFive.

TWiki at Motorola.

Kehei Wiki Case Studies.

A Rotary Wiki.

Wiki Workplace Essentials.

Why a Workplace Wiki?

Planning the Wiki.

Selection Stage.

Implementation Stage.

Day-to-Day Operations.

Appendix A: Syntax Comparisons.

Hyperlink Anchors.

Markup Conventions.

Escaped Blocks.

HTML Tag Inclusion.

Other Syntax Extensions Seen.

Appendix B: Wiki Resources.

Book Resources.

Internet Resources.

Appendix C: List of Tips.

Index. 020171499XTO5232001

Back Cover

WikiWikiWeb (aka Wiki) is an open source collaborative server technology that enables users to access, browse, and edit hypertext pages in a real-time context. Such servers are a critical tool for efficiently, and effectively, coordinating collaborative documents, databases, and projects. Unlike many alternatives, Wiki supports flexible, user-defined attributes and structure. It is easy to use, concordant with current technologies and standards, and requires little investment in hardware, software, or training.

The Wiki Way: Quick Collaboration on the Web compiles in one handy volume all of the information you need to set up, customize, and run a Wiki server. It offers an in-depth presentation of Wiki theory, practical implementation information, and many examples that demonstrate how to apply and adapt Wiki to the demands of various situations.

The book opens with a tutorial on setting up, running, and using a Wiki server, along with important background information on content structuring. It then presents a more detailed description of the core technology, Wiki server customization, and administration. The final section includes numerous case studies that showcase the Wiki technology in action.

Specific topics covered include:

  • An overview of the Wiki technology and Wiki clones
  • Installing Wiki (including coverage of Apache configuration and security issues)
  • Basic Wiki functionality, including browsing, editing, building content, and markup conventions
  • How to structure Wiki content, including self-maintaining topic lists, subheadings, and parent-child-sibling page trees
  • Customizing appearance, codes, change notification, navigation links, and search functionality
  • The QuickiWiki component model and modules
  • Managing members, user access, and passwords
  • Parsing requests
  • Wiki administration, including tracking page edits, database management, performance, and debugging
  • Collaboration issues, such as open edit, writing style guidelines, and update notification

Highlighted tips throughout the text will help you avoid trouble spots and enhance the quality of your Wiki server. Several fascinating case studies focus on the use of Wiki servers at Georgia Tech, The New York Times, Digital, Motorola, and the TRW Propulsion Center, among others.

The companion CD-ROM contains the public license Wiki sources discussed in the book, along with the means to run them--either stand-alone, or using the industry-strength Apache Web server. Complete Perl and Apache server packages for both Linux and Windows are also included.



Bo Leuf has extensive experience in technical communication and teaching, coupled with a deep understanding of cross-platform software product design, user interfaces and usability analysis. He maintains several professional and recreational Internet Web sites, including one that provides commercial Web hosting and Wiki services for others. An independent consultant in Sweden for more than 25 years, Bo has been responsible for software development and localization projects. He is currently a freelance consultant and technical writer, specializing in software documentation, translation, and design-team training. He is a regular contributor to a major Swedish computer magazine, and a frequent speaker at technical conferences.

Ward Cunningham is widely respected for his contributions to the practices of object-oriented development, Extreme Programming, and software agility. Cofounder of Cunningham & Cunningham, Inc., he has served as Director of R&D at Wyatt Software and as principal engineer at the Tektronix Computer Research Laboratory. Ward led the creation of Fit, and is responsible for innovations ranging from the CRC design method to WikiWikiWeb.