The Wiki Way: Quick Collaboration on the Web

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ISBN-13: 078-5342714999
ISBN-10: 020171499X
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Editorial Reviews Review

Suitable for system administrators or managers seeking an affordable content-management solution, The Wiki Way shows off how to take advantage of Wiki collaborative software, which allows users to post and edit content remotely. This book is all you need to get up and running with this exciting (and free) way to build and manage content.

This text is first and foremost a guide to what Wiki software is and how to install, customize, and administer it within your organization. Early sections discuss the advantages of Wiki Web sites, which allow all users to add and edit content. While it might sound like a free-for-all, the authors suggest such Web sites have been used successfully in research, business, and education to document project designs, for brainstorming, and for otherwise creating content in a collaborative fashion. Case studies for such organizations as Georgia Tech, New York Times Digital, and Motorola give a glimpse of Wiki used in real settings, so you will get a sense of what to expect.

This book is also a guide to the nuts and bolts of downloading and installing Wiki and customizing it for your site. Sections on basic tweaks to Wiki's Perl scripts will let you customize your site to match your organization's needs. Standout material includes almost three dozen customization tips. This volume is illustrated with actual screen shots of Wiki, so you can get a sense of what it is like for users to work together in such an unrestricted fashion.

Throughout the text, the authors are suitably upbeat about Wiki's prospects for wider adoption, but they are realistic enough to note compromises (such as requiring passwords and restricting edit rights) required in business settings. They also survey the field of Wiki open-source projects and clones, as well as other similar content-management solutions (such as Zope and the emerging WebDAV standard).

While it's hard to predict whether Wiki-based Web sites are for everyone, this book presents the pros and cons of a potentially exciting and useful tool that promotes collaborative content creation. This title can help any organization get going with a Wiki Web site, from the standpoint of planning, deployment, and basic administration. --Richard Dragan

Topics covered:

  • Collaboration tools explained
  • Web-based collaboration
  • WebDAV
  • Introduction to Wiki
  • User conventions with Wiki
  • Survey of Wiki open-source projects and clones
  • Installing Wiki (including Apache Web Server and security issues)
  • Using Wiki (making notes, Wiki used as a PIM, content management and links, page editing)
  • How to structure Wiki content (suggested default structure: pros and cons)
  • Customizing Wiki
  • Tour of Wiki Perl scripts and tips for customizing your Wiki site
  • Wiki add-ons (including spellchecking and uploading files)
  • Administration in Wiki (viewing events, controlling access and authentication, database administration, and debugging techniques)
  • Guidelines for Wiki projects (dos and don'ts)
  • Wiki case studies for education
  • Business and research

From the Back Cover

WikiWikiWeb (aka Wiki) is an open source collaborative server technology that enables users to access, browse, and edit hypertext pages in a real-time context. Such servers are a critical tool for efficiently, and effectively, coordinating collaborative documents, databases, and projects. Unlike many alternatives, Wiki supports flexible, user-defined attributes and structure. It is easy to use, concordant with current technologies and standards, and requires little investment in hardware, software, or training.

The Wiki Way: Quick Collaboration on the Web compiles in one handy volume all of the information you need to set up, customize, and run a Wiki server. It offers an in-depth presentation of Wiki theory, practical implementation information, and many examples that demonstrate how to apply and adapt Wiki to the demands of various situations.

The book opens with a tutorial on setting up, running, and using a Wiki server, along with important background information on content structuring. It then presents a more detailed description of the core technology, Wiki server customization, and administration. The final section includes numerous case studies that showcase the Wiki technology in action.

Specific topics covered include:

  • An overview of the Wiki technology and Wiki clones
  • Installing Wiki (including coverage of Apache configuration and security issues)
  • Basic Wiki functionality, including browsing, editing, building content, and markup conventions
  • How to structure Wiki content, including self-maintaining topic lists, subheadings, and parent-child-sibling page trees
  • Customizing appearance, codes, change notification, navigation links, and search functionality
  • The QuickiWiki component model and modules
  • Managing members, user access, and passwords
  • Parsing requests
  • Wiki administration, including tracking page edits, database management, performance, and debugging
  • Collaboration issues, such as open edit, writing style guidelines, and update notification

Highlighted tips throughout the text will help you avoid trouble spots and enhance the quality of your Wiki server. Several fascinating case studies focus on the use of Wiki servers at Georgia Tech, The New York Times, Digital, Motorola, and the TRW Propulsion Center, among others.

The companion CD-ROM contains the public license Wiki sources discussed in the book, along with the means to run them--either stand-alone, or using the industry-strength Apache Web server. Complete Perl and Apache server packages for both Linux and Windows are also included.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional (April 13, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 020171499X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0201714999
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.9 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #742,498 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

49 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Richard Leir on July 24, 2002
Format: Paperback
What creates the sense of community that you feel in certain newsgroups, mailing lists, or IRC's? What drives people to gather there? If you find this question interesting, then look at Wiki: it is an example of a strong community on the web.
Wiki (the collaboration tool) can be thought of as a lightweight WebDAV (web Distributed Authoring and Versioning)
without n levels of standards committees. In a Wiki site, every page can be edited by anybody, and new page links 'spring into existence' automatically just by RunningCapitalizedWordsTogether. This simple concept, created by Ward Cunningham, is surprisingly powerful. The technology behind it is also simple, and the wiki code that makes this work is written in perl, so if you want to add a feature or tweak it, then you can 'hack it'.
A visit to the original Wiki web site can be very rewarding, at [1]. At this site, the community includes many experts in Design Patterns and Extreme Programming (XP). You will find literate discussions on software and life in general.
Laird Cameron describes Wiki well in his Open Sources column [2].
This book is an overview of Wiki, and a detailed how-to look at the code. The book is casual and informal, well suited to the wiki culture. It explains the thought processes which went into the design of wiki planning, deployment, and basic administration. The book contains case studies from academia and the corporate world. The accompanying CD will get you going quickly.
You will want to read this book, if:
- In the corporate world, you want your group to pull together and create a knowledge base.
- For the design of your software product, you want to understand group dynamics.
- In the academic world, you want an online meeting place for course work or peer review.
Read more ›
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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Helmut Leitner on May 2, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book describes the technology and culture of the wiki open web authoring system. The CD-ROM contains all the necessary software to install a wiki and one third of the book explains how the software does it's magic and how it might be expanded to do even more. The first part contains a step-by-step introduction to the wiki ideas and culture and the last part tells about the wiki experiences in the corporate world and at universities.
The book is written extremely well and easy to follow, sometimes even entertaining. It touches all important aspects of installing and maintaining a wiki server and of running a wiki community. During the last 8 months I did many of the things described based on my own explorations and using a different software. This books would have saved me many weeks of labour. I may lack objectivity, but this book is bound to become the bible for the wiki world.
What's to criticize? First: there is almost no hype in this book, too little for the lots of enthusiastic users out there. Second: the book offers a baseline system, some clones and lots of optional extensions and invites to experiment. I think that most readers would prefer a full-featured proven standard system out of the box. Third: it's conservative approach about some features - like edit conflict resolution or page deletion - shows how quickly things are moving.
Is this criticism correct? I don't know, you decide. To me, it's an excellent book. It's the important, long awaited reference. It's the landmark showing that the wiki is about to change from an insider tip to an established technology. It clearly deserves 5 (*****) stars. If you are interested in wiki, online communities or knowledge management at all, you must know this book.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Frank Carver on September 9, 2003
Format: Paperback
A "Wiki" is a web site, where every page is editable, by anybody with a browser. It may seem wierd, but it's a very powerful, and successful, idea. The most well-known Wiki has been running since 1994 with thousands of users.
This book covers how and why Wiki works, case studies of use, and installing, configuring, and customizing an open-source Wiki supplied on CD. If you know a little about Wiki, and want more, this is a great book. It's sprinkled with practical advice and gives real code examples for enhancements. It can also be inspirational and has got me buzzing with ideas. It has a fine index and all the "tips" are listed for easy reference.
Wiki's obscurity is its greatest weakness, though. If you have never heard the term "Wiki", you would never think to pick up this book. I also found that the assumption of Perl in the example software sections clashed with the language independent nature of the theory and case-study sections. And beware that the book ignores or glosses over a few things which require more effort than in other systems.
If you find it clumsy or slow to get things on a web site, if you are looking for an easy way to let people collaborate, or if you just want to make sense of all your scattered notes, read this book.
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35 of 38 people found the following review helpful By K. C. JUN on May 14, 2001
Format: Paperback
WikiWiki has changed my life. It's not only the first-hand influence that I can organize my ideas more efficiently and effectively, but it also has changed the way I look at technology, society, and human collaboration as a whole. Though this book is specifically designed to give a good explanation of Wiki, seen generally, it's much more than that: it is about knowledge management. You'll benefit enormously from this book if you are anyhow involved in Knowledge Management, even if you are not going to use Wiki in your setting. The virtue of this book is that it's in DocumentMode so that the reader can grab the essence of the essences of a few millions of man-hour experiences in a few ticks of the clock; I even feel jealous of the readers who'll read this book as their starting point -- I had to experiment and trial-and-error for several months to get the real meaning of it and WikiMaster Mind. Thank you, Ward Cunningham for writing this wonderful book, and creating wonderful Wiki-Way.
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