- Great Painters
- Accounting
- Fundamentals of Law
- Marketing
- Shorthand
- Concept Cars
- Videogames
- The World of Sports

- Blogs
- Free Software
- Google
- My Computer

- PHP Language and Applications
- Wikipedia
- Windows Vista

- Education
- Masterpieces of English Literature
- American English

- English Dictionaries
- The English Language

- Medical Emergencies
- The Theory of Memory
- The Beatles
- Dances
- Microphones
- Musical Notation
- Music Instruments
- Batteries
- Nanotechnology
- Cosmetics
- Diets
- Vegetarianism and Veganism
- Christmas Traditions
- Animals

- Fruits And Vegetables


  1. Adobe Reader
  2. Adware
  3. Altavista
  4. AOL
  5. Apple Macintosh
  6. Application software
  7. Arrow key
  8. Artificial Intelligence
  9. ASCII
  10. Assembly language
  11. Automatic translation
  12. Avatar
  13. Babylon
  14. Bandwidth
  15. Bit
  16. BitTorrent
  17. Black hat
  18. Blog
  19. Bluetooth
  20. Bulletin board system
  21. Byte
  22. Cache memory
  23. Celeron
  24. Central processing unit
  25. Chat room
  26. Client
  27. Command line interface
  28. Compiler
  29. Computer
  30. Computer bus
  31. Computer card
  32. Computer display
  33. Computer file
  34. Computer games
  35. Computer graphics
  36. Computer hardware
  37. Computer keyboard
  38. Computer networking
  39. Computer printer
  40. Computer program
  41. Computer programmer
  42. Computer science
  43. Computer security
  44. Computer software
  45. Computer storage
  46. Computer system
  47. Computer terminal
  48. Computer virus
  49. Computing
  50. Conference call
  51. Context menu
  52. Creative commons
  53. Creative Commons License
  54. Creative Technology
  55. Cursor
  56. Data
  57. Database
  58. Data storage device
  59. Debuggers
  60. Demo
  61. Desktop computer
  62. Digital divide
  63. Discussion groups
  64. DNS server
  65. Domain name
  66. DOS
  67. Download
  68. Download manager
  69. DVD-ROM
  70. DVD-RW
  71. E-mail
  72. E-mail spam
  73. File Transfer Protocol
  74. Firewall
  75. Firmware
  76. Flash memory
  77. Floppy disk drive
  78. GNU
  79. GNU General Public License
  80. GNU Project
  81. Google
  82. Google AdWords
  83. Google bomb
  84. Graphics
  85. Graphics card
  86. Hacker
  87. Hacker culture
  88. Hard disk
  89. High-level programming language
  90. Home computer
  91. HTML
  92. Hyperlink
  93. IBM
  94. Image processing
  95. Image scanner
  96. Instant messaging
  97. Instruction
  98. Intel
  99. Intel Core 2
  100. Interface
  101. Internet
  102. Internet bot
  103. Internet Explorer
  104. Internet protocols
  105. Internet service provider
  106. Interoperability
  107. IP addresses
  108. IPod
  109. Joystick
  110. JPEG
  111. Keyword
  112. Laptop computer
  113. Linux
  114. Linux kernel
  115. Liquid crystal display
  116. List of file formats
  117. List of Google products
  118. Local area network
  119. Logitech
  120. Machine language
  121. Mac OS X
  122. Macromedia Flash
  123. Mainframe computer
  124. Malware
  125. Media center
  126. Media player
  127. Megabyte
  128. Microsoft
  129. Microsoft Windows
  130. Microsoft Word
  131. Mirror site
  132. Modem
  133. Motherboard
  134. Mouse
  135. Mouse pad
  136. Mozilla Firefox
  137. Mp3
  138. MPEG
  139. MPEG-4
  140. Multimedia
  141. Musical Instrument Digital Interface
  142. Netscape
  143. Network card
  144. News ticker
  145. Office suite
  146. Online auction
  147. Online chat
  148. Open Directory Project
  149. Open source
  150. Open source software
  151. Opera
  152. Operating system
  153. Optical character recognition
  154. Optical disc
  155. output
  156. PageRank
  157. Password
  158. Pay-per-click
  159. PC speaker
  160. Peer-to-peer
  161. Pentium
  162. Peripheral
  163. Personal computer
  164. Personal digital assistant
  165. Phishing
  166. Pirated software
  167. Podcasting
  168. Pointing device
  169. POP3
  170. Programming language
  171. QuickTime
  172. Random access memory
  173. Routers
  174. Safari
  175. Scalability
  176. Scrollbar
  177. Scrolling
  178. Scroll wheel
  179. Search engine
  180. Security cracking
  181. Server
  182. Simple Mail Transfer Protocol
  183. Skype
  184. Social software
  185. Software bug
  186. Software cracker
  187. Software library
  188. Software utility
  189. Solaris Operating Environment
  190. Sound Blaster
  191. Soundcard
  192. Spam
  193. Spamdexing
  194. Spam in blogs
  195. Speech recognition
  196. Spoofing attack
  197. Spreadsheet
  198. Spyware
  199. Streaming media
  200. Supercomputer
  201. Tablet computer
  202. Telecommunications
  203. Text messaging
  204. Trackball
  205. Trojan horse
  206. TV card
  207. Unicode
  208. Uniform Resource Identifier
  209. Unix
  210. URL redirection
  211. USB flash drive
  212. USB port
  213. User interface
  214. Vlog
  215. Voice over IP
  216. Warez
  217. Wearable computer
  218. Web application
  219. Web banner
  220. Web browser
  221. Web crawler
  222. Web directories
  223. Web indexing
  224. Webmail
  225. Web page
  226. Website
  227. Wiki
  228. Wikipedia
  229. WIMP
  230. Windows CE
  231. Windows key
  232. Windows Media Player
  233. Windows Vista
  234. Word processor
  235. World Wide Web
  236. Worm
  237. XML
  238. X Window System
  239. Yahoo
  240. Zombie computer

This article is from:

All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License: 


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

For other uses, see Wiki (disambiguation).
Talk page redirects here. For information about talk pages on Wikipedia, see Help:Talk page and the talk page guidelines.

A wiki (IPA: [ˈwɪ.kiː] <WICK-ee> or [ˈwiː.kiː] <WEE-kee>[1]) is a type of Web site that allows the visitors themselves to easily add, remove, and otherwise edit and change some available content, sometimes without the need for registration. This ease of interaction and operation makes a wiki an effective tool for collaborative authoring. The term wiki also can refer to the collaborative software itself (wiki engine) that facilitates the operation of such a Web site, or to certain specific wiki sites, including the computer science site (the original wiki) WikiWikiWeb and on-line encyclopedias such as Wikipedia.


Wiki Wiki sign at Honolulu International Airport
Wiki Wiki sign at Honolulu International Airport

The first such software to be called a wiki, WikiWikiWeb, was named by Ward Cunningham. Cunningham remembered a Honolulu International Airport counter employee telling him to take the so-called "Wiki Wiki" Chance RT-52 shuttle bus line that runs between the airport's terminals. According to Cunningham, "I chose wiki-wiki as an alliterative substitute for 'quick' and thereby avoided naming this stuff quick-web." "Wiki Wiki" is a reduplication of "wiki", a Hawaiian-language word for fast. The word wiki is a shorter form of wiki wiki (weekie, weekie). The word is sometimes interpreted as the backronym for "what I know is", which describes the knowledge contribution, storage, and exchange function.

According to Cunningham, the idea of 'wiki' can be traced back to a HyperCard stack he wrote in the late 1980s. In the late 1990s, wikis were increasingly recognized as a promising way to develop private and public knowledge bases,[citation needed] and this potential inspired the founders of the Nupedia encyclopedia project, which later became Wikipedia. In the early 2000s, wikis were increasingly adopted in the enterprise as collaborative software. Common uses included project communication, intranets, and documentation, initially for technical users. In December 2002, Socialtext launched the first commercial open-source wiki solution. Open-source wiki software was widely available, downloaded, and installed throughout these years. Today some companies use wikis as their only collaborative software and as a replacement for static intranets. There may be greater use of wikis behind firewalls than on the public Internet.

Key characteristics

A wiki enables documents to be written very collaboratively in a simple markup language using a web browser. A single page in a wiki is referred to as a "wiki page", while the entire body of pages, which are usually highly interconnected via hyperlinks, is "the wiki"; in effect, a wiki is actually a very simple, easy-to-use user-maintained database for searching or even creating information.

A defining characteristic of wiki technology is the ease with which pages can be created and updated. Generally, there is no review before modifications are accepted. Most wikis are open to the general public without the need to register any user account. Sometimes session log-in is requested to acquire a "wiki-signature" cookie for autosigning edits. Many edits, however, can be made in real-time, and appear almost instantaneously online. This can lead to abuse of the system. Private wiki servers require user authentication to edit, sometimes even to read pages.

Pages and editing

The source format, sometimes known as "wikitext'", is augmented with a simplified markup language to indicate various structural and visual conventions. An often used example of one such convention is to start a line of text with an asterisk ("*") in order to mark it as an item in a bulleted list. Style and syntax can vary a great deal among implementations, some of which also allow HTML tags.

The reasoning behind this design is that HTML, with its many cryptic tags, is not especially human-readable. Making typical HTML source visible makes the actual text content very hard to read and edit for most users. It is therefore better to promote plain-text editing with a few simple conventions for structure and style.

It is somewhat beneficial that users cannot directly use all the capabilities of HTML, such as JavaScript and Cascading Style Sheets. Consistency in look and feel is also achieved: In many wiki implementations, an active hyperlink is exactly as it is shown, unlike in HTML where the invisible hyperlink can have an arbitrary visible anchor text. This goes along with some extra safety for the user: Permitting users to write in HTML might allow harmful or annoying code (for example, JavaScript code that prevents the reader from marking part of the text).

(Quotation above from Foundation by Isaac Asimov)

Some recent wiki engines use a different method: they allow "WYSIWYG" editing, usually by means of JavaScript or an ActiveX control that translates graphically entered formatting instructions, such as "bold" and "italics", into the corresponding HTML tags. In those implementations, the markup of a newly-edited HTML version of the page is generated and submitted to the server transparently, and the user is shielded from this technical detail. Users who do not have the necessary plugin can generally edit the page, usually by directly editing the raw HTML code. More recently, wiki engines are generating wiki syntax instead of HTML. This way, users who are comfortable editing in wiki syntax can carry on.

Although for years the de facto standard was the syntax of the original WikiWikiWeb, currently the formatting instructions vary depending on the wiki engine. Simple wikis allow only basic text formatting, whereas more complex ones have support for tables, images, formulas, or even interactive elements such as polls and games. At present there is no standard for wiki markup.

Linking and creating pages

Wikis are a hypertext medium, with non-linear navigational structures. Each page typically contains a large number of links to other pages. Hierarchical navigation pages often exist in larger wikis, often a consequence of the original page creation process, but they do not have to be used. Links are created using a specific syntax, the so-called "link pattern".

Originally, most wikis used CamelCase when naming program identifiers, produced by capitalizing words in a phrase and removing the spaces between them (the word "CamelCase" is itself an example). While CamelCase makes linking very easy, it also leads to links which are written in a form that deviates from the standard spelling. CamelCase-based wikis are instantly recognizable because they have many links with names such as "TableOfContents" and "BeginnerQuestions". Note that it is possible for a wiki to render the visible anchor for such links "pretty" by reinserting spaces, and possibly also reverting to lower case. However, this reprocessing of the link to improve the readability of the anchor is limited by the loss of capitalization information caused by CamelCase reversal. For example, "RichardWagner" should be rendered as "Richard Wagner", whereas "PopularMusic" should be rendered as "popular music". There is no easy way to determine which capital letters should remain capitalized. As a result, many wikis now have "free linking" using brackets, and some disable CamelCase by default.


Most wikis offer at least a title search, and sometimes a full-text search. The scalability of the search depends on whether the wiki engine uses a database; indexed database access is necessary for high speed searches on large wikis.

Server-side versus client-side wiki

By far, the most common wiki systems are server-side. In essence, the edit, display and control functions are provided on the server through the wikiengine that renders the content into an HTML-based page for display in a web browser.

A client-side wiki system requires only that the server "serve" wiki files in much the same way that a web server allows HTML files to be retrieved using HTTP. In this type of wiki system, all the execution required to convert the underlying wiki text into an onscreen formatted display page resides in the client browser. Likewise, the editing tools and functionality reside in the browser.

The client-side wiki system parallels HTML in that the page becomes a rendering instruction for the browser to interpret. Client-side wiki systems may be little more than a code plugin to a more traditional web browser.

Web-based versus peer-to-peer

Most wikis are based on a web server. The server can be open to everybody on the Internet, or part of a private LAN, with limited access. There is also a version of wiki that can be shared between peers, with no need for a web server. Such Peer-to-peer wiki system is integrated with a P2P version-control system that takes care of versioning and distribution of pages.

Controlling changes

History comparison reports highlight the changes between two revisions of a page.
History comparison reports highlight the changes between two revisions of a page.

Wikis are generally designed with the philosophy of making it easy to correct mistakes, rather than making it difficult to make them. Thus while wikis are very open, they provide a means to verify the validity of recent additions to the body of pages. The most prominent, on almost every wiki, is the "Recent Changes" page—a specific list numbering recent edits, or a list of all the edits made within a given timeframe. Some wikis can filter the list to remove minor edits and edits made by automatic importing scripts ("bots").

From the change log, other functions are accessible in most wikis: the Revision History showing previous page versions; and the diff feature, highlighting the changes between two revisions. Using the Revision History, an editor can view and restore a previous version of the article. The diff feature can be used to decide whether or not this is necessary. A regular wiki user can view the diff of an edit listed on the "Recent Changes" page and, if it is an unacceptable edit, consult the history, restoring a previous revision; this process is more or less streamlined, depending on the wiki software used.

In case unacceptable edits are missed on the "Recent Changes" page, some wiki engines provide additional content control. It can be monitored to ensure that a page, or a set of pages, keeps its quality. A person willing to maintain pages will be warned of modifications to the pages, allowing him or her to verify the validity of new editions quickly.


The open philosophy of most wikis—of allowing anyone to edit content—does not ensure that editors are well intentioned. The approach of making damage easy to undo rather than attempting to prevent damage has been characterized as soft security. Many editors of wiki sites tend to have good intentions, although on larger wiki sites, vandalism can go unnoticed for a period of time. Another bothersome feature in wikis is trolling.

Wiki communities

Many wiki communities are private, particularly within enterprises as collaborative software. They are often used as internal documentation for in-house systems and applications. The democratic, all-encompassing nature of Wikipedia is a significant factor in its growth, while many other wikis are highly specialized.

There also exist WikiNodes which are pages on wikis that describe related wikis. They are usually organized as neighbors and delegates. A neighbor wiki is simply a wiki that may discuss similar content or may otherwise be of interest. A delegate wiki is a wiki that agrees to have certain content delegated to that wiki.

One way of finding a wiki on a specific subject is to follow the wiki-node network from wiki to wiki; another is to take a Wiki "bus tour," for example: Wikipedia's Tour Bus Stop. Domain names containing "wiki" are growing in popularity to support specific niches.

For those interested in creating their own wiki, there are many publicly available "wiki farms", some of which can also make private, password-protected wikis. PeanutButterWiki, BrainKeeper, Socialtext, Wetpaint, and Wikia are popular examples of such services. For more info, see List of wiki farms.

Some wikis have been created without much user input. For example, Richdex the Open Free Online Directory is the world's largest wiki by total number of articles, however most articles appear to be computer generated hyperlinks that consist mainly of Google Ad-Sense advertisements. The English-language Wikipedia is the second-largest, but is by far the largest wiki created by individual users. The other Wikipedias fill many of the remaining upper slots. Other large wikis include the WikiWikiWeb, Memory Alpha, Wikitravel, World66 and, a Swedish-language knowledge base. The largest wikis are listed and updated on Mediawiki. Many public wikis are listed at WikiIndex which is a wiki of wikis.

Wikis and content management systems

Wikis have shared, and encouraged, several features with generalized content management systems (CMS) which are used by enterprises and communities-of-practice. Those looking to compare a CMS with an enterprise wiki should consider these basic features:

  1. The name of an article is embedded in the hyperlink.
  2. Articles can be created or edited at anytime by anyone (with certain limitations for protected articles).
  3. Articles are editable through the web browser.
  4. Each article provides one-click access to the history/versioning page, which also supports version differencing ("diff") and retrieving prior versions.
  5. Each article provides one-click access to a discussion page particular to that article.
  6. The most recent additions/modifications of articles can be monitored actively or passively.

None of these are particular to a wiki, and some have developed independently. Still the concept of a wiki unequivocally refers to this core set of features. Taken together, they fit the generative nature of the Internet (as scholar Jonathan Zittrain has labeled it), in encouraging each user to help build it. It is yet to be studied whether an enterprise wiki encourages more usage, or leads to more knowledgeable community members, than other content management systems.

See also

Find more information on wiki by searching Wikipedia's sister projects:

 Dictionary definitions from Wiktionary
 Textbooks from Wikibooks
 Quotations from Wikiquote
 Source texts from Wikisource
 Images and media from Commons
 News stories from Wikinews
 Learning resources from Wikiversity

  • Comparison of wiki farms
  • Comparison of wiki software
  • Bliki
  • List of wikis
  • List of wiki software
  • Massively distributed collaboration
  • Wiki farm
  • Wiki help
  • Semantic wiki
  • Social software
  • Content management
  • Content management system


  1. ^ according to Don Perrin


  • Aigrain, Philippe (2003). The Individual and the Collective in Open Information Communities. Invited talk at the 16th Bled Electronic Commerce Conference, Bled, Slovenia, June 11, 2003.
  • Aronsson, Lars (2002). Operation of a Large Scale, General Purpose Wiki Website: Experience from's first nine months in service. Paper presented at the 6th International ICCC/IFIP Conference on Electronic Publishing, November 8, 2002, Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic.
  • Benkler, Yochai (2002). Coase's penguin, or, Linux and The Nature of the Firm. The Yale Law Journal. v.112, n.3, pp.369–446.
  • Choate, Mark (2006). What makes an enterprise wiki? CMS Watch. April 28, 2006.
  • Cunningham, Ward and Leuf, Bo (2001): The Wiki Way. Quick Collaboration on the Web. Addison-Wesley, ISBN 0-201-71499-X.
  • Delacroix, Jérôme (2005): Les wikis, espaces de l'intelligence collective, M2 Editions, Paris, ISBN 2-9520514-4-5.
  • Ebersbach, Anja, Glaser, Markus and Heigl, Richard (2005): Wiki. Web Collaboration. Springer, ISBN 3-540-25995-3.
  • Jansson, Kurt (2002): "Wikipedia. Die Freie Enzyklopädie." Lecture at the 19th Chaos Communications Congress (19C3), December 27, 2002 intermot Berlin, Germany.
  • Klobas, Jane and others (2006): Wikis: Tools for Information Work and Collaboration. Oxford, UK, Chandos Publishing, ISBN 1-84334-179-4.
  • Lange, Christoph (ed., 2006). Wikis und Blogs – Planen, Einrichten, Verwalten. Computer- und Literaturverlag, ISBN 3-936546-44-4.
  • Mattison, David (2003). "QuickiWiki, Swiki, TWiki, ZWiki, and the Plone Wars: Wiki as PIM and Collaborative Content Tool." Searcher: The Magazine for Database Professionals, v. 11, no. 4 (April 2003): 32-48
  • Möller, Erik (2003). Loud and clear: How Internet media can work. Presentation at the Open Cultures conference, June 5 & 6, 2003 Vienna, Austria.
  • Möller, Erik (2003). Tanz der Gehirne. Telepolis, May 9–30. Four parts: (i) "Das Wiki-Prinzip", (ii) "Alle gegen Brockhaus", (iii) "Diderots Traumtagebuch", und (iv) "Diesen Artikel bearbeiten".
  • Nakisa, Ramin (2003). "Wiki Wiki Wah Wah". Linux User and Developer v.29, pp.42–48. sanyo
  • Remy, Melanie. (2002). Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Online Information Review. v.26, n.6, p.434
  • New Media: Who are the real winners now we've all gone Wiki-crazy?
  • Father of Wiki Speaks Out on Community and Collaborative Development, eWeek, March 20 [2006]

External links

  • Wikis at HowStuffWorks.
  • "Information Wants to be Liquid" — Wired magazine article
  • Wiki Engines
  • What's a Wiki?
  • Wiki Science
  • How to start a wiki (on Wikibooks) — help write the book on starting a wiki
  • WikiWikiWeb (the first wiki)
  • Science in the Web Age: Joint Efforts on wikis and the scientific community, from Nature magazine
  • A side-by-side comparison of many different wiki installations.
  • New Media: Who are the real winners now we've all gone Wiki-Loopy? (subscription required to read beyond intro)
  • Operation of a Large Scale, General Purpose Wiki Website Book abstract
  • A online wiki for tutorials.
  • Html => Wiki convertor

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