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How to nurse our little Wiki ?

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Well-known member
I just added some suggestions to the Wiki main page, to give an idea what I miss. I would like to contribute some articles, and I would like to have someone skilled to write a few words of advice about the internal structure of the Wiki. How to crosslink all that information to make it easy to access, Mac-like!

Here is an example: someone wants to know if a specific harddisk drive would work together with a specific Mac. Where to go for the information needed? Might some kind of compatibility list be useful ? Or is such a list obsolete as one can search for any keyword and collect the information in different places ? How about adding a "Compatibility" paragraph to any device's page, instead, like: "List of anything that is known to work with this thing" ? List contents would be information about SIMM part numbers, graphic cards, harddisk drives, and so on, with links to product pages and tutorials. Lets say, someone figures out how to get a CF card drive in a stock adaptor up and running inside a PB150, "wouldn't it be great" to have this useful information worth weeks or even months of searching, testing and discussion just there ?

 

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Well-known member
I read the help page and do not see how to make proper use of the database concept. I am not quite sure if it helps to make more categories, because most articles are related to several different categories at a time. Probably we could agree to use a set of simple rules on how to interconnect articles.

A Wiki like the Wikipedia is crosslinked more like a web, less like a list or spreadsheet. Because the screen is flat, we use a list to show the contents. A table is helpful to find a point to enter the system, but it usually is not a representation of the actual structure of a database. We might have a template for any article to support an extensive use of crosslinks in a unified manner. This template should be flexible in a way to add features on demand, afterwards.

Example for a page that already exists, the structure is like:

PowerBook 180

-History

-Full Specs

-More Information

This is well, but there could a lot of more stuff be available at a glance. Let us say, we have a PowerBook 180 and want to know how to connect this specific machine to the ethernet. At least two different makes of SCSI to ethernet adapters are available, and a LocalTalk Bridge in software and in hardware as well. You would be happy to find a link from the PowerBook 180 page to any of those solutions. Following one of the links you might enter the Asante EN/SC page in the Wiki. This page should include a link to any Mac's model page that could be connected successfully, in return. Also some rules should exist, how to interconnect both pages (PB180 _and_ EN/SC) with information about the Software you need (System version, driver, cp etc., oldest possible, most recent available, any working variety) as well as a tutorial to install and configure both hardware and software on this specific machine. Some space might be left for hacks that are probably involved to get a working setup (like ResEditing things or where to apply some solder on the pcb or which phase of the moon would be best to apply some hex ;-)

There are ways to avoid any contributor inventing a new scheme on each page. I would like to take a list of useful optional links, just like the TOC on the Wiki main page, and attach it as a suffix to any article and create a default stub for a set of useful crosslinks, each. Then, when you look at the PB180 page, given that someone already originated the PB180 specific article on PB180 network connectivity, you will find a list of everything you need.

I am not a programmer (used to several programming languages, but never learned this stuff as a profession), least of all a database programmer. So I might not be the person to set up article templates in a way that takes care of technical needs and restrictions a wiki software probably suffers from. But if the gentle reader knows how to produce a set of appropriate templates to organise information, please do it (I think a finite set of optional links should do well). The goal is to have a uniform structure of crosslinks in every article, allowing to use any article effectively once you caught onto it (just like the beloved Mac user interface is unified the way we are used to). But probably someone has a far better idea. I know there are even scientific courses of studies for information specialists. Can we benefit from this kind of research ?

 

ChristTrekker

Well-known member
It's best if you don't think of it as a database. You are wanting a lot more control over relationships than the wiki gives. If you think of the wiki as a group of flat files that are parsed for special codes and delimiters, you are much closer to how it actually works. (What the code parses out of that and stores in its database is what actually controls the wiki behind the scenes, but we have very little direct control over that.) Nothing is ever going to get automagically linked up. With some clever structuring and use of templating we can make up for some of the limitations, but all-in-all it works pretty darn well, and--best of all--editing a wiki is easy for beginners. You don't have to be experienced with DBs to make sense of it. Type what you want, put double brackets around links, and you're on your way.

 

register

Well-known member
Okay, let's keep things simple. I completely agree. Would I be allowed to set up two or three wiki pages just for the purpose of practising and fiddling with properties instead of content ? Like Wiki sandbox I, II, III.

 
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