How to Get in on the Wiki Revolution

How to Get in on the Wiki Revolution



If all this talk of initializing databases and hacking config files has dashed your wiki dreams, buck up - there's a much easier way. Take advantage of one of the numerous free wiki-hosting services (there's a long list here: You may have to put up with a banner ad or two on your free wiki, but you'll be spared all the setup geekery. We like ElWiki (free with discreet Google text ads, and (free for up to 25MB storage,


If you just want to use the thing, rather than futz around setting it up, consider a prefab, hosted wiki.


BONUS TIP: Wiki for One
If your needs are more modest - say, you just need a place to organize your own thoughts, WikityWidget (free, is a slick wiki kit that, once installed, lives in your Mac OS 10.4 Dashboard. WikityWidget was partially influenced by TiddlyWiki, a righteously cool, completely portable wiki kit that's based on HTML, CSS, and JavaScript - so there's no messy server installation or configuration required. Check it out at, and see how easy it is to create your own WikiOnAStick (where the stick is a USB flash drive)


Look, Ma: Wiki in a widget!


WIKI 101

The concept of the wiki can seem confusing - in fact, even after using the mighty Wikipedia for years, you might not have a clue how it all comes together. Here's a quickie on the ways of wiki.


Hyper Hypertext: Wikis are based on hyperlinks, which organize the pages of a wiki together in a browsable format. Yep, just like on the Web, with the key difference that wikis can be open, in the sense that anyone can edit, add to, or delete the content through a Web browser.


Link First, Edit Later: Since wikis are link based, creating a new page starts with creating a new link. Simply add a page name to the end of the URL string in your Web browser's address bar. To create a page called New Page, for example, you'd type www.localhost:8888/wiki/index.php/New_Page.html and then click the Edit This Page link and have at it. Alternately, use the Search box - enter a term or page name in the field and then click Go (not Search). If a wiki can't find the page, it'll offer to create a blank page named after your search term.


Link, Interlink: Wikis use a markup language all their own, and also support some standard HTML conventions. Since wikis are all about links, here's how they work: While editing a page, you can create a link to a related page in the wiki by entering the target page's title in double brackets, like so: [[pigdog]]. If the pigdog page hasn't been created yet, clicking the pigdog link that you just created will bring up the new-page editor so you can create the page. MediaWiki's handbook covers it all; find it linked on your wiki's main page or at


The Massive Undo: The wiki's open-authoring setup is ripe for abuse - a good case for keeping your personal wiki behind your company- or home-network firewall. Ultimately, wikis support massive undo - in the form of manually combing through pages to edit or delete erroneous content.


Hmm, no page about the mythical pigdog? We'll fix that, wikity split.




+ Add a Comment


It worked perfectly - thanks so much!!!


Bin Hu

It works well. Thanks.

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