Friday, February 10, 2006

WikiWikiWhat?!?

I love Wikipedia. It's my new source for everything I ever wanted to know from Geometric Algebra to what a schnorrers is. When it comes down to it, I love wikis.



I have started and failed many projects using a wiki. Not because of the wiki but because I suck. But wikis are powerful. They allow several people to add and organize content while tracking those changes all the while allowing quick formatting without having to know too much HTML.

I've used several wiki services in the past. Each range in price and service offered. I think the greatest part about wikis is the ease of use.



I've played around with PBWiki, Backpack (more than just a wiki), and StikiPad.

PBWiki was the first service I used. What I really liked about this it was really easy to get started. They have templates to get your look down and adding content in an organized manner was great. Also, there's a RSS feed to follow all the changes made and quick XML downloads of content. So you can walkaway with your project very easily. Oh! And I loved their sidebar. I found it very easy to link all content together in a nice little web.

More recently, I used Backpack. Backpack is the slimmed down version of Basecamp by 37signals. Signal vs. Noise is their insightful blog. And that's how I stumbled across Backpack. What I found really useful with Backpack is the functionality right at hand. I could add ToDo lists and forward relevant e-mails right to Backpack. Also, you get to edit the style sheets so your pages look all fancy. Kind of what I did with my background.

To be fair, I've just started playing around with StikiPad. But it seems really neat. The editting control is the first thing that catches my eye. Any edits that get made are highlighted. If more than one person edits it since your last visit, StikiPad highlights in different colors for each author.



Each are very similiar and difficult to tell which is best for you. Once you start to know how many people are working together and what type of involvement you need, then you can pick a system. It looks like Wikis are going to be an integral part of Web 2.0. I'm sure there's more services out there. I'm not sure what's going to set these services apart. Maybe collaborating with other, already established project sites.

What do you think about wikis? Have you played around with either your own privately run or publicly adminstered wiki?

PS I told you the word blog was stupid! Look! Everybody eJournal tonight!

2 Comments:

What the heck is a wiki?

By Blogger Jaimie, at 9:25 PM  

Oh no! I must have done a horrible job of explaining this. Wikis have two things going for it:
1. A lot of people can add content to a topic. Let's say you know a lot about Zora Neal Hurston. So you go to wikipedia and search for her. You take a look at what's written and you know more than what's there. So you go ahead and add more. Now someone else can come along and add to what you've added. So it promotes a community dialouge.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zora_Neal_Hurston

2. You don't have to know HTML to make it look pretty. Pretty easy to make something bold or italics.

Does that help?

By Blogger Mitesh, at 2:56 PM  

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