johnson at cs.uiuc.edu
Tue Jun 15 10:13:28 UTC 2010
I've used lots of wikis over the years, starting with the original
c2.com wiki. While each had its unique features that made it
interesting, basically they were all good. Wikis are cool and, when
there is a community behind them, can be very powerful.
The squeak wiki has fallen out of favor. It used to be extremely
useful and was used a lot, it isn't used as much now. I don't think
that its problems have much to do with the platform it is running on.
While Mediawiki is certainly a very nice wiki, I think the problems of
the Squeak wiki would be unchanged if it were a Mediawiki.
So, what is wrong with the Squeak wiki? Why isn't it used as much?
In my opinion, the problem is that, from a documentation point of
view, there is no such thing as Squeak, rather, there are many
versions of Squeak. Although there are some things they all have in
common, they differ in some ways. If you make a separate wiki for
each version, you fragment your community and have no way of dealing
with duplicate pages. If you make a single wiki for them all, like
the Squeak wiki did, you end up with lots of information that is still
true for older versions but is no longer true for the latest. And
since a lot of people are still running the older versions, you don't
want to get rid of that information.
The new way for making documentation, which is to treat it as source
and to version it like source, solves these problems. It probably
introduces some problems of its own, but I think it is probably the
best alternative for creating good, long-lasting documentation for
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