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Wiki Madness

Posted by davidvc on January 26, 2007 at 5:24 PM PST

I have loved Wikis for many years. I first discovered them back in 2000 and tried to convince the engineering team I was working with at the time to start using them. They would have nothing of it. As a matter of fact, I was working with Francois Orsini back then, and I particularly remember him scoffing at it and not understanding the point.

Anyway, as more and more Wiki providers have popped up, various teams I have worked with have adopted one or the other. Within Sun I think we use at least three different Wiki providers across various product groups.

What is amazing is that each one of these has decided they want to define the Wiki format differently. It's just maddening. Right now it's particularly painful because the tools internal Wiki uses Twiki and the external NetBeans wiki uses JSPWiki. When I was offline I wrote an entire page using the wrong format, and now I am spending a tedious half an hour that seems like two hours reformatting the whole thing.

What I want to know is, how could something so popular have absolutely no standard? This is actually not just an inconvenience, it's crucial for export/import that gives you data portability. Does anyone know if a standard is getting defined?

As I write this, I realize there must be somebody who got as tired of this as I did and wrote a translation utility for Wiki formats. Time to do some Googling.