ZhurnalWiki Preview

The following note from 22 July has obviously been overtaken by events now ... should it be dropped? - MarkZimmermann

No, it is still of interest, and includes good data about Wiki - RadRob

Recently I've been working on an experiment with Wiki --- the simplest collaborative environment that could possibly work. ("Wikiwiki" means "quick" in Hawaiian.) A Wiki is a set of Web pages designed for extremely rapid evolution and extraordinarily productive use. Wiki was invented by Ward Cunningham in 1994. The book The Wiki Way: Quick Collaboration on the Web by Bo Leuf and Ward Cunningham (Addison-Wesley, 2001) explains Wiki and provides a stand-alone highly-customizable Perl-based Wiki server which runs on almost any computer system. (See [1] for a quick start via one of the oldest and largest Wikis.)

The ^zhurnal, with its ~600 interrelated entries over the past 2+ years, cries out for restructuring into a Wiki web. I'm learning as I go ... it's taking a lot of time and by-hand editing ... but I hope within a few weeks to have cleaned up and posted a static "snapshot" of the ZhurnalWiki which I've begun running on a laptop at home. Eventually it would be nice to have a dynamic ZhurnalWiki which anybody could add to and improve --- but to implement that will require a bit more computer privileges on the server (to run CGI scripts) than I have, as well as more time and cleverness. Maybe some day!

Meanwhile, for the record and to share an outline of what I've done and plan to do, the major steps are:

  1. Get Bo & Ward's "QuickiWiki" up and running on this Macintosh iBook under Apple's OS-X (using the UNIX Perl interpreter)
  2. Take Volumes 1-14 of the ^zhurnal since April 1999, merge the items into a big file (~1.1 MB) and, in a simple word processor, substitute Wiki-style mark-up for HTML tags
  3. Convert ^zhurnal entries one-at-a-time into Wiki pages using Wiki edit/save tools
  4. Fix typos and formatting oddities
  5. Add cross-links and index pages based on common topical themes
  6. Convert the ZhurnalWiki pages out of their dynamic Wiki form into a static HTML image
  7. Upload!

I've got the first few steps finished and am iteratively hacking away at the annotation and cross-linkage operation. But I must admit that I haven't written the program(s) to build a frozen web out of the live Wiki ... though I think it will be relatively straightforward to perform. Since the existing "wiki.cgi" script converts a file on-the-fly into HTML, putting a wrapper around that and letting it work its way through the ~600 ZhurnalWiki pages should do the job. I estimate it will only require a few lines of UNIX shell script and/or Perl. Famous last words? My time estimates for programming projects are generally optimistic by a factor of three --- even when I take into account my congenital optimism. So if the planned ZhurnalWiki doesn't materialize for public use before the next equinox, please forgive me....

Sunday, July 22, 2001 at 17:14:44 (EDT) = Datetag20010722

TopicZhurnal - TopicProgramming

(correlates: WikiWikiWeb, TheWikiWay, QuickiWiki, ...)