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Wiki - static or dynamic

 
HS Thomas
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Is Wiki a static or dynamic tool ?
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Lasse Koskela
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Well, most wikis are static and dynamic -- meaning that the content is rendered from static resources but those resources can be modified dynamically over a web user interface.
 
Pradeep bhatt
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Lasse
What is wiki and what is blog?
 
HS Thomas
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Can anyone describe these dynamic forces that act upon a Wiki ?

(The wiki on JavaRanch looks fairly static to me )
regards
 
Frank Carver
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In this context "dynamic" usually means that the page you see in your browser does not actually exist on a disk drive anywhere - it is built to order when the page is requested. In most Wiki implementations the content of the page is stored somewhere, typically in a filesystem or database, but the title, edit buttons, search box, logo, etc. etc. are added only when the page is requested by some remote machine.
The opposite of "dynamic" is "static", which indicates that no procesing is done when a page is requested other than to fetch the complete page from a file and send it out to the requester.
Does that make sense?
 
HS Thomas
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Thanks, Frank. That does make sense.
How about the content of a wiki page ?
Can it be used to drive a process dynamically if you see what I mean.
Take a simple problem :
Define a perfect square.
There are several definitions. (Never mind I know of only one at the moment. But I would like to make sure that I pick the right definition for
another problem.)
If I put this on a Wiki page what other forces do I need to invite to get to the other definitions? I suppose it depends on how many people know what the problem is to be defined and how to take it to a conclusion.
I'm not sure how Wiki works. Do you have a single thread running on and on from which posts of relevance are picked off and put into a new thread and only those people are allowed to contribute ?

regards
[ November 24, 2003: Message edited by: HS Thomas ]
 
Stan James
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To make things more exciting, Wiki pages can be EXECUTED. See http://fit.c2.com/. I integrated the fit package as a plugin to my own Wiki. I added functionality without touching the Wiki code, and that functionality reads and executes tests defined on Wiki pages. Surely that's pretty dynamic.
 
Pradeep bhatt
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Can some one tell me what wiki is all about?
 
Lasse Koskela
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What is wiki and what is blog?
A wiki is a collaborative web site where "anyone" (or a some limited set of users) can modify all content (i.e. not just their own messages) at will. The original wiki software was written by Ward Cunningham, but since there has been an explosion in the offerings -- there's a couple of wiki implementations for practically any language/platform that can be used for creating dynamic web applications (cgi/perl, jsp, php, .NET, python) and a couple which act as standalone web servers.
A blog (short for "weblog") is kind of like an online diary with an RSS feed. Blogs can be personal or team-blogs. The difference is that blogs are generally more publishing-oriented and dictate certain rules regarding the form of the content. Also, besides commenting existing bloggings, only the blog owner can create content (the act of blogging).
You can take a look at my blog and the JavaRanch Wiki for examples of what a blog and a wiki look like.
 
HS Thomas
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Stan James : Wiki pages can be EXECUTED.

ThatIS dynamic. So what changes after the execution, Stan ?
regards
 
Frank Carver
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So what changes after the execution?
The apparent content, usually. Imagine I have an "executable" page containing (somehow) the instructions "add", "2" and "3". I can usually view that page and see the instructions, but I can also click a button or follow a link to "execute" that page and see the result (in this case, presumably "5").
How this is done "under the hood" varies a lot, although the "fit" approach (see http://fit.c2.com/ ) is currently quite popular. For further research on this kind of thing you might also want to check out "zope" ( http://www.zope.org/ )
What is wiki and what is blog?
Wiki has been fairly adequetely described above, although if you would like to play with one, feel free to try my own implementation at http://tomcat.efsol.com/friki/ .
Strictly, these days, a "blog" is defined as any web site with frequently updated content, arranged with the most recent entries at the top. Most often this format is used for diary or journal style sites, but the name also applies to sites which "aggregate" news from other sources, or suggest interesting links and web sites.
Some people manage their "blogs" just by editing the HTML. Some people use special "blog" software. Some blogs allow comments and/or "trackback", some provide a summary of the content as RSS data, some allow links to specific articles or messages, some collect all the postings for a particular month together, and so on ...
I'm not sure how Wiki works. Do you have a single thread running on and on from which posts of relevance are picked off and put into a new thread and only those people are allowed to contribute ?
A wiki is just a place where you can make, link and edit pages of information. There are no "threads", and usually there are no administrators - just interested participants. If I find something which puzzles me on a Wiki, I'll usually make the name of whatever I'm interested in to a link (e.g. PerfectSquare ), which implicitly creates a page with that name, then put my question on the new page. If I'm lucky, someone will come by who knows the answer, and add it to the new page.
Still Puzzled? Honestly, the best way is to try it out.
 
HS Thomas
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Most wiki pages seem to have very high pertinence to the subject.
What stops it turning into Meaningless Drivel ?
There must be some background process that moves irrelevant responses.
Thanks for the links, everyone. Shall seek and hopefully won't destroy.

regards
 
Frank Carver
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What stops it turning into Meaningless Drivel? There must be some background process that moves irrelevant responses.
It's the magic of numbers. For every person who messes up a page, there are hundreds (sometimes thousands) who can fix it. If even 1% of the passing visitors to a page spends a moment or two tidying and clarifying things, then the page soon becomes polished, accurate and informative. You might just as well ask how there are so many useful answers to questions here at the Ranch. Some people enjoy helping others, and do what they can.
A good "wikizen" closes gates, picks up litter, is careful not to start fires, and helps to keep the internet a beautiful place.
As an aside, it's often best not to think of wiki pages as a conversation - that works better in a "mailing list" or "bulletin board" format. Where wiki excels is in the collaborative creation of useful resources. Create an empty page about a topic you are interested in. Add what you know to the page. Others will come and add what they know, or maybe clarify, correct or simply tidy your comments. If a new visitor comes to the page they see an apparently static article, but it has been slowly assembled from the wisdom of several people, and is still growing and improving with each small addition or change.
The growth and character of a big wiki (such as c2.com) is almost mystical.
 
HS Thomas
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Thanks, Frank. And for the sig.
regards
 
Ilja Preuss
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Originally posted by HS Thomas:
Most wiki pages seem to have very high pertinence to the subject.
What stops it turning into Meaningless Drivel ?

As Frank already explained, its users.
For example, time and again there is someone misusing the FrontPage of the JavaRanch Wiki for his tests. If I find out, with the help of the page history it's easy to restore the previous state, so no permanent damage can be done. That's it...

There must be some background process that moves irrelevant responses.

Actually, it's the foreground process. As anybody can edit the page, if someone cares he can move the irrelevant content to a page where it is relevant, or remove it entirely. Again, the history feature makes sure that no permanent damage can be done.

Thanks for the links, everyone. Shall seek and hopefully won't destroy.

Another very interesting big wiki can be found at http://www.wikipedia.org/
 
HS Thomas
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Thanks Ilja.
Is wiki used as a design documentation anywhere ?
I was thinking that all those useful bits of UML can be wikied on an XP project. You might even get Eclipse to generate one from the code to compare with the designer generated one.
It will be a bad , bad idea for Eclipse to generate code from UML diagrams, though There are several degrees of separation between designing and programming, IMHO.
regards
[ November 26, 2003: Message edited by: HS Thomas ]
 
Ilja Preuss
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Originally posted by HS Thomas:
Is wiki used as a design documentation anywhere ?

Yes, we are using Wiki to hold documentation for our projects.

I was thinking that all those useful bits of UML can be wikied on an XP project.

Personally, I think that UML is better placed on a whiteboard. Of course you could archive photos of them in a wiki - interesting idea...
It will be a bad , bad idea for Eclipse to generate code from UML diagrams, though There are several degrees of separation between designing and programming, IMHO.

I agree. Obviously, UML can also be used as a kind of programming language, but I don't find this use to be very appealing.
 
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