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What is a Wiki?

The wiki was invented by Ward Cunningham in 1994. The first Wiki distribution used was called WikiWikiWeb and was Perl-based. To this day, it still exists. "Wiki Wiki" is a reduplication of "wiki", a Hawaiian-language word for fast.

His idea was to be able to share information and ideas with people over the Internet, quickly and easily, using the same technology software engineers had been using to "build" their releases (a "repository" is just a more technical kind of wiki). Ward realized that using wiki to edit text would be different from using "repositories" to edit code, even if the technology were nearly the same. In code, namespaces are very carefully managed and controlled. In most writing, though, it's not controlled.1

At that time, links weren't created by using the MediaWiki-style freelinks. You had to use CamelCase, which is a naming convention in which a name is formed of multiple words that are joined together as a single word with the first letter of each of the multiple words capitalized so that each word that makes up the name can easily be read. In Wikis, CamelCase is the act of SmashingWordsTogether to automatically identify and create a link.

WikiWikiWeb was the inspiration for Wikipedia after the idea was introduced to Larry Sanger in 2001 by Ben Kovitz.

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This page was last modified on 21 September 2007, at 18:16.
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