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A Simple Guide To Wikis > NetSparsh - Viral Content you Love & Share

A Simple Guide To Wikis

A wiki is an editable text-based website. But you don't need to understand any complex HTML, or anything like that to use a wiki. A wiki is really only a little bit more complex than a word-processor, but MUCH more powerful, because instead of only being 1 page, it can be lots of pages, all linked up together.

I'll show you how easy it is to use a wiki later, but first I'd like to tell you why wikis are so useful.

Wikis are useful, because they let you setup any data you want, in any way that you want. Rather than constrain you with a specific way of structuring things, you can link things together in any way that you want. This means you can set things up as simple, or as complex as you like.

Because they are so flexible, there are literally millions of uses for wikis. Some uses include:

  • Keeping a daily journal
  • Brainstorming
  • Managing investment properties
  • Implementing a GTD system (As described by David Allen)
  • Research
  • Running a business.

Some wikis also let multiple users share an edit the same data. An interesting example of this online is the Wiki Encyclopedia where a group of people are collaborating to make a free online encyclopedia.

Perhaps the best way to show how a wiki works is with an example. Let's say you have a page, called "HomePage" that says "Hello, this is my first wiki page."

We want to change it, by making the word "first" in bold.

Start by clicking the edit button. You will see the following: Hello, this is my first wiki page.

Using the keyboard, change the text to look like this: Hello, this is my *first* wiki page.

When you save the changes, you will see that the word first has become bolded. That's because any text surrounded by '*" becomes bold.

Now, we'd like to add a new page with a link. In HTML this can be quite complex, but in a wiki, it's really easy.

Click edit, and change the text to this: Hello, this is my *first* wiki page. And this is a link to my [second page]

When you save, you will see that the words "second page" have become a link. That's because any text surrounded by square brackets becomes a link.

To change "second page", just click on the link. If "second page" already existed, we would now see the contents of that page. But it doesn't exist yet, so the wiki makes a blank page called "second page" for us, and then shows us that page. We can change that page by clicking edit, like before.

Lets change "second page", to say this: And a link to a page about [oranges]

When we save, there will be a link to an "oranges" page. Click on the oranges link, and click edit to say: My favorite fruit.

We have now created three pages:

  • The first page, called "HomePage"
  • The second page, called "second page"
  • The third page, called "oranges".

Lets add a link from the HomePage to the oranges page.

Go back to the HomePage, and click edit. You will see: Hello, this is my *first* wiki page. And this is a link to my [second page]

Now, lets add a third line, so the page becomes: Hello, this is my *first* wiki page. And this is a link to my [second page] And, don't forget the [oranges] page.

When we save, we now have a link to the oranges page from the HomePage. If we click on the "oranges" link, this time it doesn't take us to a blank page. That's because there is already a page called "oranges". It takes us to the existing "oranges" page that says "My favorite fruit."

See how simple it is! In no time at all, we have made 3 pages. It's really that simple, just use square brackets to create links!There is a lot more to wikis, but the fundamental concept is the link creation.

Dan Fletcher is a developer at dogMelon.

They make NoteStudio, an easy-to-use wiki-tool, being used on Palms, PC's, and Macs.

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