In this class, we will talk about some advantages of wikis: which features or advantages make wikis so popular and useful?
What's so good about wikis?
- Wikis Simplify Editing Your Website: Each page on a wiki has an Edit link. If you want to change something on the page, click the link, and the wiki will display a simple editing screen. When you finish making changes, submit them by clicking a button, and, Voila! Your changes show up on the Website.
- Wikis Use Simple Markup: Even for geeky types like me, thinking about HTML and formatting gets in the way of good, clear writing. Wikis solve this problem by writing the HTML for you -- you only need to learn a few simple markup rules. These rules are designed to make wiki markup easy to write and read by real people.
- Wikis Record Document Histories: If you make a mistake, don't worry. A good wiki will save plenty of old copies of your pages and will let you revert to an older version of a page. In fact, many Wikis will display a comparison, called a diffˆ, which shows you the exact changes you have made to your page over time.
- Creating Links Is Simple With Wikis: Wikis store all your Website's content in an internal hypertext database. The wiki knows about every page you have and about every link you make. If you use a wiki, you don't have to worry about the location of files or the format of your tags. Simply name the page, and the wiki will automatically create a link for you.
- Many Wikis are Collaborative Communities: The original wiki allows anyone to click the Edit button and change the Website. While this may seem odd, many wikis are able to do this successfully without major issues in terms of vandalism. Remember, the wiki stores the history of each page. For each vandal, there are probably ten people who actually need the information that was there before, and who will take the time to click the button and reset the page to its former contents. Many of the wikis handle this challenge differently. Some are completely open, some restrict access, and one even has a democratic error/vandalism reporting system. How you deal with this challenge depends on what you plan to use the Wiki for, as we'll see.
- Wikis Keep Track of All Your Stuff: Because a wiki stores everything in an internal hypertext database, it knows about all your links and all your pages. So it's easy for the wiki to show back links, a list of all the pages that linking to the current page. Since the wiki stores your document history, it can also list recent changes. Advanced wikis like the Wikipedia can even show a list of recent changes to pages that link to the current page.
Tasks in this lesson
1. Understand the specialty of wikis
What is the part you do not like about wikis and do you have any ideas to improve it?