Wikis are a popular family of tools for collaboration on content. They are used when a groups of people (most typically) wish to jointly extend and maintain some publication, documentation or the like. Wikis are similar to CVS, but they are not suitable for handling of code.
Several months ago I saw the potential of using Wikis as an alternative to E-mail messages that form a daily (and therefore slow) correspondence. E-mail just did not seem like a natural form for exchange of messages. Long tails of quoted text appeared in messages and one could easily lose track of the conversation, which had intervals of hours or days in between. What's more, backup, archiving and searching capabilities were poor. I then started working on a way which enables correspondence via a Wiki.
How it Works
Much of the work is handled by cascading style sheets. It is then required that all users of the Wiki edit the text of the page and obey the styles. Here is a sample CSS file. I chose PHPWiki as it is quite open-ended and easy to customise. Since it uses a database, it is also easy and quick to back up entirely.
The CSS file, in simple terms, defines the looks of different elements. If each user sticks to one such element, then blocks of text from different user are distinguishable. A Wiki treats a line of text beginning with
Ideas for Extension
When the page becomes large and heavy, secondary pages (archives) can be constructed and all text migrated (essentially copies and pasted) onto them.
Add some of your customised styles to make the Wiki page fit your taste or theme. Below is an example from my domain -- the pages where I converse with my parents. The Public Wiki is quite similar (and open for copying), yet it is not customised for correspondence.
|This page was last modified on May 16th, 2005||Maintained by Roy Schestowitz|