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Userguide Introduction

Page history last edited by PBworks 16 years, 1 month ago




Definition of wiki


A wiki is a collection of web pages which are created in a web browser using simple text. Links to new pages are created by surrounding words with square brackets; for example [my new page]. Wikis make it easy to create interlinked HTML pages. You can concentrate on the task of writing actual content without worrying about HTML tags or how to create the navigation links.


A wiki is meant to be fast and easy to edit. Intuitive text formatting rules are used to simplify the process of writing and linking pages. The idea is to keep the text that people edit simple, so it's readable as is, and, most importantly, editable by anyone, without sacrificing attractive presentation.


A wiki is also a database. Unlike a normal website, all the pages in a wiki can be searched for any word. This expands the usefulness of wikis.


A wiki provides a place for people to collaborate. Any visitor who is given the password can contribute to the wiki, by adding text to existing pages and by adding new pages if necessary. In this way, information and knowledge can be shared by users. When one user is editing a page, that page is locked out and cannot be edited by other users, until the original user saves his changes.


Brief history


Wiki technology was invented by software guru, Ward Cunningham. The first wiki was the Portland Pattern Respository and is devoted to identifying best practices for software development. This first wiki allowed software developers from all over the world to collaborate in one place and share their ideas. Ward Cunningham called his new technology Wiki which means quick in Hawaian. The orignal wiki was written in the Perl programming language. Once software developers discovered the usefullness of a wiki, many wrote their own versions of wikis in different programming languages. Today you can find many wikis, some with minimal features and others which you can modify with plugins to do many tasks. One popular wiki Wikipedia is an on line encylopedia, written by wiki enthusiasts. Ward Cunningham has written a book on wikis called "The Wiki Way: Quick Collaboration on the Web".


Add a few lines on history of PBwiki here.


Typical wiki features


Most wikis share the following basic features:


  • Easy editing inside browser - no need to start a separate program to edit a page
  • Easy creation and linking of pages - typing the name of a page in link format automatically creates a new page with the same name.
  • Full search of wiki database - the user can quickly search all the pages in a wiki for information
  • Changes - this provides a listing of the changes to wiki by page, in reverse chronological order.


Some wikis, such as PBwiki, offer additional features (needs a link).


Some things which can be done with a wiki


Wikis are so flexible they can be used for many purposes, including:



You can browse a number of wikis at PBwiki Central


Navigating a wiki


Navigate a wiki by following the links, the same as any web page. Additional wiki features include

  • "Changes" which provides a list of the pages which have been edited recently, the name of the person who made the edit and the text which was added or changed
  • The ability to search the entire website by using the Search box
  • Selecting the wiki name in the upper left corner of any page, will return you to the Front Page of the wiki
  • The "Show all pages" link at the bottom of each wiki page, also provides an alphabetical and chronological listing of wiki pages.



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