Wikis 'n Blogs - wednesday 2003-11-19 0228 last modified 2006-01-29 0330
Categories: Nerdy
TrackBacks Sent: None

I never would have thought wikis or blogs could actually be useful work tools. Should those words mean nothing to you, follow the link and note that some people would consider what you're reading a blog, or just read on.

We're using a wiki at work for documentation and a blog for recording what work we've actually done. A wiki -- definitely not my favorite piece of software, but useful nonetheless as a a quick 'n dirty hypertext tool -- allows you to write up some information in plain text and transforms certain sequences of characters into something else when redisplayed. The strength or weakness of the system, depending on your programming and aesthetic senses, is the ability to create a link by making FunnyCaseRunOnWords, which end up instantiating a new page for you to write. This works pretty well for a body of documentation that could eventually be dumped out of the wiki into more formal documents (with no FunnyCasing).

The blog as a work record is also pretty cool, though without the need to really create any links, it might be nice to have a blog with the same type of plain text to HTML format conversion so I can avoid repeatedly typing out unordered list markup all the time.

In short, content rules on the web. The more of the inhuman markup you can leave to something else, the easier it is to put something useful up on the web, and the more useful the aggregate web becomes. If only it were always this easy for everyone to put real, useful information on the web...


txt2html blog
I bet that you could create that blog of your dreams by using the HTML::TextToHTML Perl libraries. I've been using the command-line txt2html derivative for a while, and it has proven very useful, though it is annoying at times.

Bryan Bilyeu on November 21, 2003 11:09 PM

Ah, I see wher...

Ah, I see where wikis draw their inspiration from. I bet I could plug that in to the current work blog easily enough since it's already Perl based... What, pray tell, is annoying about it?

Ryan Lee on November 22, 2003 06:11 PM

What's wrong

It's gets confused if you get too complicated. If you put text between #pound signs you get bold# and if you put text between *asterisks you get italics*, but when you start to venture into tables and lists, sometimes it does what you want, and sometimes it doesn't. And even when you work around a problem to get it to do what you want, you're not exactly sure why.

But hey, it's better than a sock in the eye.

Bryan Bilyeu on November 23, 2003 05:12 AM

How interestin...

How interesting; the particular wiki I've used most uses a succession of apostrophes for differentiating italic and bold phrases since most normal people don't use apostrophes run together (i.e., ''this'' would be this, and '''that''' would be that). Lists with asterisks, numbers, etc.; but I don't think it does tables. Maybe I'll try to confuse it one of these days and see what happens.

Or maybe Python is better at text processing than Perl...

Ryan Lee on November 24, 2003 12:07 AM

You must login to leave a comment


No TrackBacks for this entry.