Python Wiki & wiki Hosting?

Paul Boddie paul at boddie.net
Mon Jun 7 11:59:30 CEST 2004


"Eric S. Johansson" <esj at harvee.org> wrote in message news:<mailman.629.1086534578.6949.python-list at python.org>...
> 
> When I was CTO of a small startup, we used twiki to hold all of the
> development documentation.  It worked reasonably well until the pages became
> quite large. Eventually, we all noticed that we didn't update our pages as we
> should because it was too much like work.  Editing a markup language inside of
> a browser text area was lame.  Even the CEO complained and said something we
> all should have recognized:  "Why can't you edit wiki pages like you were in
> word".

Development documentation in Word? Welcome to a world of pain! Sounds
like exactly the sort of thing a CEO would want to have. (Yes, of
course I'm twisting the very meaning of the words, and perhaps the CEO
didn't actually want you to use Word.)

> with that simple statement, I realized that wikis are fundamentally good tools
> but they are hampered, horribly hampered by the user interface.

I'm not entirely in agreement. Certainly, the more arcane Wiki
syntaxes in use somehow make the most straightforward notes baroque,
whilst hardly scaling up to the level of sophistication required to do
things like tables, for example. But I'd argue that when using Wikis
to store information, minimalism is crucial, duplication of
information (as is common in more traditional documentation) should be
avoided, and linking should be used aggressively. Consequently, I'd
imagine that many "high end" presentation techniques could be avoided,
although the output might not, admittedly, look that good. Still, one
could always postprocess the results, offer multiple "views" of the
underlying data, and so on.

> the project would be figuring out how to manipulate a wiki using a WYSIWYG
> infrastructure components such as abiword.  The reason I suggest using abiword
> as the base is that it is a reasonable, lightweight word processor that can
> use plug-ins written in Python.

Why not use anything which can save documents in a half-decent
representation (possibly XML since the user shouldn't actually see it,
but it lends itself to deconstruction) and upload the documents to the
Wiki?

As far as I can tell, from looking at how various moderately large
public Wikis are used, the biggest problem (apart from filtering out
vandalism) is keeping the structure pertinent (so-called Wiki
refactoring) and up-to-date.

Paul



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