There’s nothing like the smell of a brand new notebook, blank and waiting for the first thing to be written in it. It is no secret that I have a fondness for stationery. There is a similar feeling that comes when you try a new application for the first time. I have discovered a new application called XWiki that fills that bill perfectly. It is a bundle of software that makes creating and maintaining a web site as easy as shopping on Amazon.
It takes its inspiration from Ward Cunningham’s revolutionary Wikiwiki software. I’d link to his original Wikiwikiweb site but it seems to be down at present. That is probably due to the fact that Ward has moved on to a new evolution of his software that he calls Smallest Federated Wiki (SFW).
Back to XWiki, it is a magnificently flexible framework upon which can be built just about any sort of web site that you can imagine. And the great thing about it is that you edit the web site, on the web, using typical everyday web forms. You don’t have to mess with html or css or any of those arcane web developer technologies in order to build a beautiful full featured web site. If you want to tweak the underlying pieces, you can but you don’t have to.
I discovered this gem when I was looking for a solution to a problem that my manager at work had posed to me. Our department has a web site on the company intranet. It showcases our capabilities to other parts of the company. Lately it has become rather severely out of date. Every time this happens, someone is tasked with bringing it up to date. This usually entails a bunch of work collecting the updated information and then wrestling it into submission. The latter task often entails finding someone experienced in web development.
By migrating the site to a wiki based Content Management System (CMS), I can make the site so easy to update that anyone that can use a word processor (or the web) can update it. This should encourage the various content owners, as the people contributing information to the web site are called, to update their own content incrementally as it changes. As a result, the site doesn’t become stale and everyone is happy.
I installed the software on my home computer and I am extremely pleased. I am going to start the ball rolling to get it approved at work next week.
Sweet dreams, don’t forget to tell the people you love that you love them, and most important of all, be kind.