In brief, a wiki is a computer-based, collaboration system based on three major principles:
- Ease of Use: Users shouldn't have to learn HTML or deal with complicated file upload/download protocols, and the inevitable file format incompatibilities, in order to create and maintain documents collaboratively. Typically, wikis solve these problems by using their own, easy formatting syntax (called wiki syntax) and by enabling users to create and maintain documents with a web browser.
- Wide-Open Read/Write Access : If the purpose of a wiki is wide-open collaboration, then every document in the wiki should be instantly available for editing and revision and, what's more, anyone should be able to edit an existing wiki document (or create a new one) without having to get permission from authors or supervisors.
- Emergent Structure: In physics and biology, the term emergent structure is used to describe the striking (and often beautiful) patterns that emerge from fundamentally chaotic processes, such as the spiral arms of our galaxy. In a wiki, this term refers to the navigation structures that wiki users invent as they try to impose pattern and meaning on a collection of wiki pages.
Although nearly all would agree with the first principle, the second ("Wide-Open Read/Write Access") could sound risky to some people. But don't let a wiki's "open" nature scare you. With Tiki you have several options to protect, limit access to, and (if necessary) restore wiki pages:
- Permissions: Tiki has an extensive permissions hierarchy. You can restrict editing rights to specific groups of users, make pages read-only, or completely hide pages, as necessary.
- Lock Pages: As the site administrator (admin) or page author, you can "lock" a wiki page so its content can't be edited by others.
- Monitor Pages: You can monitor important pages. Anytime the page is edited, Tiki will send you an email notification.
- Restore from Page Histories: Tiki keeps a complete history of all changes to each wiki page. This detailed page history means that you can easily compare any two versions in order to see who changed what. You can also quickly restore a page to any prior version.
The term wiki is short for wiki-wiki, which means quick in Hawaiian. The first wiki was created (and dubbed "Wiki-Wiki") by Ward Cunningham, a Portland, Oregon, USA computer programmer, in 1995. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wiki for more information. The largest wiki is the remarkable Wikipedia, which contains more than 3,000,000 publicly-contributed collaboratively-authored articles. See also History.
Tiki's wiki feature enables users as well as admins to create virtually limitless numbers of readable, Web-accessible pages without the need to learn HTML or master complicated file uploading protocols. No matter who originally created a given wiki page, it is almost instantly accessible for editing, providing the user has the appropriate permissions and the page has not been locked.
When a wiki page is opened for editing, authors can make use of wiki syntax, a set of formatting codes that is designed for maximum ease of use. If they have the appropriate permissions, they can also use HTML. Even if they use no formatting at all, the saved page will still look pretty much as the author intended, because Tiki reproduces carriage returns and blank lines the way they look in the textarea input box. Optionally, wiki pages can include graphics, and users (with the appropriate permissions) can attach files of any type. Users can include three types of links in wiki pages: links to other wiki pages within the same Tiki site, links to external wikis, and web links (see Wiki Linking ). Users can also draw from a large and growing list of Wiki Plugin, which provide a variety of enhancements (including split-page formats, a Jabber client, automatically included article text, and many more). They can also categorize pages using the category feature, if these have been enabled and previously created by the site's administrator.
When a saved page is displayed, users (assuming they have the appropriate permissions) can save the page to their local systems, export the page to a PDF file, view the page in a format suitable for printing, or save the page to their MyAccount notepad. They can also monitor the page, which means that they'll receive email if a change is made to the page. They can view the page's history, including previous versions of the page and differences among the various versions. They can see an automatically generated list of similar pages, as well as a list of pages (called backlinks) that contain links to the current page.
Tiki's wiki is as full-featured as any other CMS (content management system). Its wiki syntax is simple to learn and use, yet enables you to create complex formatting... without having to learn HTML or upload special files. And by using built-in Wiki Plugins and Modules, you can extend the wiki syntax to create any type of page and contain any type of content that you want. With Tiki's wiki you can:
- Fullly control text formatting
- Upload and display graphics and images
- Embed or attach files
- Easily link to other pages or external sites (and Tiki automatically maintains "backlinks" from pages - even if you change the page name!)
- Complete page revision history history
- Create responsive, mobile-compatible pages that are printer-pretty
- Organize pages by category and tag
- Structure groups of pages into a hierarchy
- Have the security and usefulness of fine-grained permissions control
Site visitors (with permission) can review the page's wiki source, save the page to their local PC, or even export the page to their on-site notepad. Tiki can also show pages that are similar (or related) to any given page, based on tags and content.
Tiki's wiki is truly limitless.
- : Wiki settings
- : How to create shortcut links to external wikis
- : Group wiki pages into a navigable structure
- : Version control & Accountability
- : Redirect On Error
- Wiki entry at Wikipedia
- Wiki Design Principles
- Why Wiki Syntax is Important