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May 04, 2007


Jeff Nolan

I think that wikis have advanced to being a standard offering in many collaboration environments, even if they just employ wiki-like characteristics.

A couple of examples you pointed out prove that when you give people "context" for editing or collaborating with others, the results are certain to be much better than a blank screen and "go figure it out".

PBwiki is a case in point, the "create new page" function gives users the options of selecting a prepackaged or custom template. The use of widgets in wiki pages increases functionality dramatically by integrating functionality and data from other applications in a predictable and reliable manner.

I like your point #3 very much and think that would be a great set of features in any wiki (or document editing tool for that matter).

The next stage for mature wiki products is to enable publishing of content from other applications, much like I can print to PDF today I would like to be able to turn a powerpoint presetation into a wiki or a Mind Manager map into a collection of wiki pages that are linked according to the connections of the map itself.

Leendert van der Bijl


Thanks for sharing your insights.

To embroider on what you said about the next stage: what we're looking for i think is basically a bi-directional collaboration and publishing platform. So eventually a wiki will need to have the power of providing access to the data of any local application - such as word or a web design platform - as well as the ability to combine data from multiple applications on a single page or in an interlinked fashion.

As an example: I could add to what I posted originally is that the way wiki's handle tables are sub-par. (The only thing that will satisfy me is essentially an excel-like table embedded in a word-like wiki page).

Tall orders these, of course. And now that I'm writing this down, I realize that I'm looking at wiki's as a kind of uber-application platform for collaboration.

I like your idea of being able to upload mindmaps as a set of interlinked pages. In terms of bi-directionality that would actually be a good way of making sense out of a disjointed set of pages right on a wiki-system. And allowing different folks to combine them differently would be great, interesting and maybe even useful.

This comment is already too long, but I also wanted to quickly say something about being able to take wiki-content off-line. One of Ray Ozzie' tenets with Groove was that not all users want to put their content online immediately for everyone to see. There are many other reasons for wanting to have wiki-content offline on a local system, and I miss not being able to do that even with Sharepoint's wiki, since WSS 3.0 and MOSS 2007 do allow offlining other content. (All of this probably comes back somewhat to being able to export wiki content to word, excel, pdf, openoffice etc.)


Gedan Zuki

Very interesting reading, Leendert.

I especially liek the idea of integrating with other software. Actually, the responsibility is on those software pacakges, is it not? Word's first foray in this realm (and maybe it's only foray) was to work with HTML. ANd granted, it didn't provide editable word files with selectively permissioned change areas, but the point is, maybe it's the application's responsibility to integrate with a wider standard.

Ooops, that brings up a reason for why, maybe, it hasn't happened. I haven't found a set standard for wiki syntax. It's all pretty close, but is it ((xxx)) or [[xxx]] for a link?

Full structure as you describe in #2 seems ideal, if not overpowerful. I do like tikiwiki's structure mechanism for overlaying multiple orders on a set of wiki pages. It's a little hard to administer, which is why I like your visual approach.

Leendert van der Bijl

hi Gedan,

you know, to get really specific, in theory it seems possible to me that already now integration between word 2007 and sharepoint 3.0 or 2007 is possible in the following way: i mark passages in a word document as editable and some as non-editable (maybe with a particular style). i save the doc to xml. then a web-part in sharepoint interprets those styles and displays the editable part in a wiki and the display-only parts on either side of the wiki. once the wiki is saved then the editable part is exported to xml and then used to reconstruct the the word 2007 document. et voila! :)

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