-d- Bookmark this on Delicious   Recommend to StumbleUpon

Alternative Channels-

Using Wikis, or creating your own

Here you can learn how to use Wikis, both those set up by others and how to set one up yourself.


Wikis, of which Wikipedia is the most exemplary instance, are web pages which are easily edited, using nothing more than a normal web browser. Without even the normally required registering or logging in, you can "play" in the Wikipedia Sandbox... a wiki page provided specifically for you to discover how easy it is to contribute to wikis. Go there, study the page for a moment, then click the "Edit This Page" tab at the top. You will see what has been typed to create the page you were looking at a moment ago. Using what you see to guide you, try typing some new stuff. Click the "Show Preview" button. Tweak what you've done, if necessary. Eventually click the "Save Page" button. The Sandbox page will now appear to anyone in the world as it appeared to you. You've put something on the internet! (The sandbox is swept clean every twelve hours, by the way.)

For setting up my own wiki, I've used the services of WikiDot, and found their free package satisfactory... with one caveat. I once used a different service with particularly clever provision of editor-controlled different privilege levels for each page in the editor's wiki. Granular edit access seems to be reserved for paid-for wikis these days, but my free WikiDot site comes close enough to my needs to be useful. (P.S.: Wrote that some time ago... not finding it a great pain, in practice. You can set up 20 different wikis with one account. Make (most?) read only, and set one (more?) aside at which people can comment on every page. And then put your content on the appropriate wiki, with links to the other, as needed!) Pages created with WikiDot are included in Google search results. I'm not sure that the content of all other wiki-farm pages gets Google indexing. WikiDot does allow you to edit meta tags on your pages, even if you only have a free account. (See Options, at the bottom of your pages, when you are logged in.) You can apply global meta tags (to all of the pages in one wiki, if you wish to, to make a start, and then go through and tweak the tags of individual pages as time and interest permit.) I'm not sure though... and I think the same applies to many wikis. You can see the various WikiDot plans at their page on the subject. Prices included there, too. Even with the free package, you can publish pages easily, lock them against unauthorized editing by members of the public, but still allow members of the public to append comments to your pages, which could be suggestions for page enhancements, if you are building that sort of a wiki. (You can also... if appropriate... authorize others to make edits to pages' contents.)

At October 2011, when I am adding this paragraph, I am liking WikiDot's service more and more, having been using it for some time. What you can do on a page is excellent. You can create forums. Their "dataform" idea is fascinating. See my KiCadHowTo.wikidot.com for something built with WikiDot, even if you aren't a PCB designer! How many wiki-farmers give you an {{html}} html here {{/html}} mechanism? Now, not ANY html will work within those delimiters... but I have a site counter working nicely, for example.

Sadly, some of the ads that WikiDot puts on your pages may make you decide it isn't the one for you. And I could find no sensible mechanism for complaining to WikiDot about specific ads.

The "services in exchange for ad space" model is a good one I think... if properly executed.

The ads I didn't like weren't "hardcore porn"... but head and shoulders animations of avatars having sex might get my pages banned some site administrators. Pity. I like the WikiDot service otherwise.

On the other hand, something good: When you sign in, you can elect to have your sign in persist until you change IP address. I.e. there is a "remember me on this computer" option. The "until I change address" bit is clever. You wouldn't use "remember me" on a public computer, I hope? But what about your laptop, which rarely leaves your control? Safe to use "remember me"? What if someone steals the laptop? Using "until I change IP address" makes it safe(r) to use the "remember me" in many scenarios.

A little aside: The WikiDot site is itself a wiki! What you see on WikiDot's "Who we are/ what we do" pages was created with nothing more than the tools available to you for creating your wiki'd pages. (Why isn't the page frequently defaced? Because the administrator of a wiki can restrict who is allowed to edit the pages. All of us can read it. Only WikiDot people can change them.)

Whatever wiki service you choose to use, be sure it provides a way to back up your wiki to your own computer. I had to move from the first wiki service I used, and the back up feature saved me re-typing all my pages. Services come and go, and they "get clever" with their terms of service.

A quick aside: Speaking of wikis, please take a look at my personal "ICE" (In Case of Emergency) page.... It is my instance of something that many people might want to create. The next 9/11 could involve you, or your loved ones, and an ICE page gives you a great way to quickly, easily tell everyone "I'm okay", or "Help needed. I'm at...". I've already used mine to reassure and inform friends when I was stranded within the air transport system by a blizzard.

That's it!

Go use some Wikis! Or return to the main page about ways to publish on the web without using raw HTML and managing a site yourself.

And of course there's always....

This page was about alternatives to full blown, self managed publishing of pages on the web. You can visit my page about how to work with and publish HTML if none of the above seemed to meet your needs.

Good luck! Enjoy!

If you found this useful, please visit my shareware "store" Sheepdog Software's Freeware & Shareware... and maybe even tell others of it?

Click here to go to this site's main page

Looking for email, domain registration, or web site hosting? If you visit 1&1's site from here, it helps me. They host my website, and I wouldn't put this link up for them if I wasn't happy with their service. They offer things for the beginner and the corporation.

Ad from page's editor: Yes.. I do enjoy compiling these things for you. I hope they are helpful. However... this doesn't pay my bills!!! Sheepdog Software (tm) is supposed to help do that, so if you found this stuff useful, (and you run a Windows or MS-DOS PC) please visit my freeware and shareware page, download something, and circulate it for me? Links on your page to this page would also be appreciated!
Click here to visit editor's freeware, shareware page.

How to email or write this page's editor, Tom Boyd

Valid HTML 4.01 Transitional Page tested for compliance with INDUSTRY (not MS-only) standards, using the free, publicly accessible validator at validator.w3.org

Why does this page cause a script to run? Because of the Google panels, and the code for the search button. Also, I have my web-traffic monitored for me by eXTReMe tracker. They offer a free tracker. If you want to try one, check out their site. Why do I mention the script? Be sure you know all you need to about spyware.

....... P a g e . . . E n d s .....