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Spinner Wiki

Spinner Wiki is a variant of Dolphin Wiki Web, which itself is a continuation of JOS Wiki. Dolphin Wiki Web is still in production, as is another JOS derivative: TWiki. So, why did I write Spinner Wiki?

Well, the TWiki project doesn't share its source code freely - although the product is under GPL (like all JOS Wiki derivatives), they require you to submit some personal information before you can get it. This adheres to the letter of the GPL, but not to its spirit. I didn't like this, so I didn't look at TWiki very closely. In retrospect, I have since gotten a copy of TWiki from another source (legitimate under GPL), and I found it too big, excessively feature-laden. Some people don't mind giving up their personal information, and want a very feature-laden Wiki. If you're one of those, you might find TWiki interesting.

Dolphin Wiki Web looked like a great start in the direction I wanted to go. It didn't have all the features I wanted, but it was close enough that I didn't need to add much before I could start using it. The source code was easy enough to understand so that I could remove features that I didn't want, and gradually add the features that I thought would be useful. Since I was interested in working on a Wiki mainly for the fun of it, Dolphin was ideal.

I've noticed that, although Object Arts regularly updates the content on Dolphin Wiki Web, they don't change the way their Wiki works. This is probably because it already works pretty well and meets the needs for which they built it. They don't want to break existing pages by introducing too many new formatting rules.

My philosophy is a little different - I felt that Dolphin's Wiki markup needed to be made a little more sophisticated. I wanted to add some new Wiki formatting rules, reducing the need for HTML tags in Wiki pages. I didn't mind breaking a few existing pages during the transition. (Now that the major changes have been made, the risk of breaking pages is quite low, but still, if I need to, I'll introduce new markup that breaks existing pages. This isn't a big deal because it's so easy to update / correct the pages.)

New to Wiki?

Wiki (pronounced "wicky") might be a foreign concept to some, but it's really simple. Think of it as a geek's virtual town hall. The name comes from the Hawaian word for quick (wiki-wiki). As in, quick and easy for me to set up; quick and easy for you to use. To understand how it works, you may wish to check out the Getting Started guide: Getting Started With Wiki. You may also want to check the FAQ, or ask questions there.

Once you're familiar with the how it works, and have browsed the site, you may wish to edit some of the content or add some pages of your own. You don't have to be fancy; you can just type in plain text and it will pretty much work. However, if you want make your pages look better, use Wiki Text Formatting Rules as a reference. (You may want to print out a copy of that page.) Feel free to edit the Wiki Playground page if you want to practice before changing any existing pages. Or just dive right in!

In order to organize your topics, this Wiki uses a loose Category system to maintain a consistent Wiki Structure. Please follow this convention where appropriate; in any case, it's very easy to assign categories later.

By the way, here's the original WikiWiki Wiki Web, and here is something more modern, the ASP-based OpenWikiOpen Wiki.

Related pages: Unclassified

This page last edited on 1 May 2004 at 03:19 GMT