Monday, November 06, 2006

Wiki Wiki Woo

The other day, I set up MediaWiki as a kind of household chronicle. You might ask, why yet another system when you already have half a dozen e-mail accounts, Palm desktop for to-dos, at least 3 calendar systems and 3 address books, not to mention spreadsheets for general-purpose lists, this blog or my personal site or my iWeb experiments for prose, and PBase for photos. (Note to self: must set up Flickr and SmugMug accounts soon.)

Good question.

It's an experiment. We'll see. I like how categories spring into being when referenced. So do stub articles -- create a link to a non-existent article, and the link goes red to show it's for future expansion. Follow the link and you're editing the article.

The ease of cross-linking appeals to me. Brings back memories of
Lotus Organizer. Back before the abomination of Notes, Lotus actually had a product that was enjoyable to use. ("To get away from Lotus Notes" is one of my stock answers to the question of why I left IBM.) You could link disparate things together in many-to-many relationships.

I'm also interested in the ease of getting pictures into the system, auto-thumbnailing, and how well the text flows around a layout with a lot of pictures. You know, all those travel stories with dozens of links off to photos, rather than photo galleries where all the text takes the form of captions.

The real test will be, how easy is it to get data out? Printable format for informal to-do lists. XML export format for bringing stuff up to my personal site. Copying the MySQL database to sync with another MediaWiki instance. These aspects are yet to be explored.

No comments: