A wiki is a type of collaborative software program that typically allows web pages to be created and collaboratively edited using a common web browser. Websites running such programs are themselves referred to as wikis. A wiki system is usually an application server that runs on one or more web servers. The content is stored in a file system, and changes to the content are stored in a relational database management system.
The first such system was created by Ward Cunningham in 1995, but given the relative simplicity of the wiki concept, a large number of implementations now exist, ranging from very simple "hacks" implementing only core functionality to highly sophisticated content management systems. The primary difference between wikis and more complex types of content management systems is that wikis tend to focus on the content, at the expense of the more powerful control over layout seen in content management systems (CMS) or at the expense of non-wiki features (news articles, blogs,..).
The software required to run a wiki might include a web server such as Apache, in addition to the wiki program itself. In some cases the web server and wiki program are bundled together as one self-contained system, which can often make them easier to install.
The majority of wikis are free and open source software developed collaboratively. Many wikis are highly modular, providing APIs which allow programmers to develop new features without requiring them to be familiar with the entire codebase.
It is hard to determine which wiki applications are the most popular, although a list of lead candidates include Foswiki, MoinMoin, PmWiki, XWiki, DokuWiki and MediaWiki (Google trend history comparison). TWiki, Traction TeamPage and Atlassian Confluence are popular on intranets. TikiWiki CMS/Groupware is a popular Wiki-CMS hybrid.
Some wiki applications are not intended for collaborative work, but for personal information organizing or content management. These applications are often referred to as desktop wikis or personal wikis.
Mobile wiki software is an extension of web-based wikis optimized for mobile devices, especially mobile phones. This is done by providing a version of the web site with conservative HTML coding optimized for the limited function browsers on devices like the BlackBerry or iPhone.
Various approaches to providing wiki function when the user is not on the net have been tried. One simple approach involves making a copy of the wiki database and then viewing it read only. More complex schemes for offline editing require synchronization of changes when the network is back online. One approach to doing this is using a distributed revison control system as a backend of the wiki, e.g. ikiwiki.
See also Edit
- List of wiki software
- Comparison of wiki software
- List of collaborative software
- Wiki farm
- List of wikis
- WikiMatrix: Comparing Multiple Wiki Engines Side-by-Side
- Comparison of different wiki software (Article, November 2004)
- Comparison of wiki farms at Wikiversity
- How to choose a Wiki Cunningham & Cunningham, Inc
- Extensive list of wiki software Cunningham & Cunningham, Inc
- Free tool to verify the security of a self-hosted wiki
- Wikitext standard — Meta discussion on a proposed standard wikitext format