Question about federated wiki

I’m curious about this federated wiki. I spent enough time browsing around to understand it’s basic structure. A web of wikis, whose content can seemingly be updated much in the same way that github forks\pull requests work.

What I’m missing is this… when you go to a given wiki homepage, it just tells you “this is a wiki” the only way I can determine to get out of all the ‘meta’ wiki topics is look at “recent changes”, otherwise, it seems I need to already know where to find the content.

I see no index or any clear way to determine what subject matters are covered on a given wiki within the federation.

I intend to get into some wiki action for but I really don’t know if federated wiki is a fit for me. I’ve tried tiddly wiki as a user, and appreciate that it’s content just text files that can live in a github repository. I don’t know all the setup that went into it, but my experience navigating involved some category menus, and I think search by category.

I’m not sold on tiddlywiki, by any means… I even wonder if “blog” posts that come along with an rss feed are better, even, than the wiki format. especially for SEO, and being able to follow by rss. I suppose those type of features are available for wiki’s as well.

that’s all for now, thanks in advance

If it helps … the Open Learning Commons community is currently using Federated Wiki, Dokuwiki and TiddlyMap / TiddlyWiki … and I notice that the Digital Life Collective is using wiki.js .

Each technology has its own features, and constraints. There’s no silver bullet here.

In Internet technologies, on platforms that I have used for over 10 years, I simultaneously have run Wordpress, Drupal and Dokuwiki for different parts of my work.

  • Wordpress is great for blogging.
  • Drupal has the “book” collection of pages, that makes navigation more linear.
  • Dokuwiki has been a collaborative space where we’ve kept track of ideas over a longer period of time.

The important part to me has been that I want platforms with longevity. I really should be focused on content more than changing the medium on which it’s placed … and have had the ugly task of migration more times than I would like.

So, I see the advantage of Internet technologies as not using a single technology, but multiple platforms that interoperate with each other.

1 Like

Ah! Interoperate, that’s a concept to savour. As far as I know, no one has defined a decent information model for wiki content. Is that one of the things we are waiting for before we get wiki portability, at least?

Another thing, which I’m particularly interested in, is the more immediate interoperation. What agreements between wiki data/information/knowledge models are needed to enable wikis on different platforms to interlink relatively seamlessly?

That may be enough for starters…

Being practical, I am currently using Markdown at a means to get some portability.

The major issue that I’ve encountered is links. The links don’t seem to translate well.

So, in both Dokuwiki and in TiddlyWiki, I have changed the options to write in Markdown rather than in the native syntax.

Annoying, yes. However, I expect at least some chance of content portability.

@daviding I was assuming you know about pandoc? I was assuming (or was I naive?) that porting different lightweight markup languages wasn’t going to be a problem…

The issues that concern me are much more to do with semantic structure rather than syntax.

@asimong Sure, I know pandoc. I’ve just gotten used to writing Markdown (for the day job), so it’s fast and easy for me to use that naturally.

On semantic structure … I’m mostly oriented towards a form for pattern language. (I modified the form, (e.g. in a December 2017 lecture) but haven’t yet settled on whether I want a structured wiki or not.

I was looking at the Struct plugin for Dokuwiki … that is still an option. One of the strengths of wiki is its flexibility, though … so I’m not sure if more structure is a merit or a demerit.

@daviding I think we are on different pages here. I am talking about the overall structure of the wiki content. It might help to address this question: how might it be possible to save (backup/download/etc ) the whole of a wiki content, and restore/upload it to a different wiki platform?

I’m curious about the kind of structure that you are referring to, that may be a merit or a demerit. Could you give examples, please?



Yes, @asimong , we are slightly different pages.

i do appreciate that problem. When I’m writing wiki content these days, I’m concerned about about links both (i) across pages, and (ii) within each page.

(i) Across pages, wiki links should theoretically translate into URLs properly. A wiki has a lot of moving parts, though. We all have seen wiki pages where there’s a link, but it points to a page that doesn’t yet exist. This is good within the confines of the wiki itself, but there’s a question as whether it will translate well to the rest of the Internet, where URLs are expected. A 404 pages is handled differently from a wiki than standard HTML pages.

(ii) Within each page, I normally write in sections, so that there are headings that might automatically be translated into anchors. Depending on where the wiki might be migrated, those anchors might or might not be in place.

So, to me, the world actually runs on HTML, and wiki is way to not have to write HTML. However, since there’s no standard wiki markup language, I’ve become more reliant on Markdown (and yes, there are a variety of Markdown syntaxes too). If I want content to endure, I really write HTML (although open source good WYSIWYG editors aren’t well-supported anymore).

Sure. One example is “A Pattern Language for Pattern Writing”, see .

Another example is my own work, e.g. " Table 3.1 Pattern form (for service systems thinking)" at .

The loose way of editing patterns in a form would be through the use of section headings. If we wanted to be more structured about it – that might be useful in searching more than just text – a structured wiki could be an alternative.

Wiki has advantages because it’s not structured like most databases where the schema is developed in advance of populating content. On the other hand, readers like pattern language because it follows a regular form, so it’s predictable.

Have you considered the possibility of RDFa for wiki content?

I tend to use wiki for collaborative projects, so even basics like simple Markdown seem to be a challenge.

Trying to focus on content that endures (and possibly could be picked up by the Internet Archive) should be a bigger concern than data standards. Unfortunately, they’re not … so we run in dilemmas on choosing platforms.

Creative Commons Licence Contributions to the Open Learning Commons are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Please honor the spirit of collective open learning by citing the author(s) in the context of a dialogue and/or linking back to the original source.