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Titleadopt mediawiki format
Date05-Feb-2007 15:53:47 EET
JSPWiki versionany
Idea CategoryMarkupIdea
Idea StatusNewIdea

There are now various efforts to standardize WikiMarkup.

If they succeed, they will eventually result in changes to all data maintained in JSPwiki. This should be minimized.

If they fail, the vast bulk of widely consulted mediawiki data in so many languages, the core of which corpus is at Wikipedia and related projects, will set a de facto standard. Some argue that this standard has already been set and that converters will not be able to deal with all the side cases arising in all languages in Wikipedia, cannot discern the original editors' intent, and that the namespace requires so much attention that there is no possibility of Wikipedia ever adopting name conventions that exclude characters that it allows. Others argue bitterly against supporting WikiWords in any form and would resist any standard that supported them.

English is also case-sensitive on all letters after the first, and disallows capitalization on all but proper nouns and acronyms. Mediawiki does likewise. This alone makes mediawiki names (and thus links) far more user friendly for an English speaking user than any competitors.

Because the success of any "standard" is in doubt, and because the vast bulk of data is in mediawiki format, JSPwiki should cease to support a distinct format and adopt mediawiki format native. If a standard emerges, then JSPwiki and mediawiki teams can cooperate to find all conversion cases and solve them all, possibly encouraging mediawiki to be rewritten in Java and merge with JSPwiki, making JSPwiki the dominant wiki. If a standard does not emerge, then JSPwiki will already be using the de facto standard and its users will have a choice of mediawiki / PHP or JSPwiki / Java. This will be the only such choice available and would amount to a multi-sourced standard, making JSPwiki and mediawiki both acceptable to corporate buyers who refuse to buy anything from only one vendor.

JSPwiki should make a great big noise of abandoning its native format for all the above reasons, and should state clearly that failing to deal with millions of articles in mediawiki format, and the dedicated community that is creating and updating them regularly, and has created the world's largest and most often consulted information resource, and which data is exported to many other sites, is not optional.

Getwiki, also, a mediawiki fork that supports importing of whole mediawiki corpus, has features that should be incorporated into both JSPwiki and mediawiki itself (Tikiwiki has more fine grained control over importation and could be next to adopt the de facto standard format).

If all four development teams (JSPwiki, mediawiki, getwiki, tikiwiki) declare in common that they intend to allow users to import data from public sources like wikipedia, clean it up in any of the wiki technologies for specialized or sector-specific use, then import from those to private wikis, they will attract the most knowledgeable and wise users, who seek exactly these capabilities. No other strategy will convince these users to adopt anything but getwiki/mediawiki. Until they see JSPwiki adopting mediawiki format, and maintaining a native format that is neither "the emerging standard" nor "the de facto standard" they will continue to correctly perceive its priorities as "wrong".

Changing code is easy. Changing data is hard.

Take a look at the CreolePageFilter. Creole is almost like MediaWiki format. Headings, link syntax etc. are the same. Still it will be supported by many other wiki engines.

--ChristophSauer, 5-Feb-2006

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« This particular version was published on 05-Feb-2007 18:12 by ChristophSauer.