[WMS] Re: Thoughts on standards

  • From: Reini Urban <rurban@xxxxxxxx>
  • To: wiki@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Wed, 06 Oct 2004 13:47:42 +0200

Florian Festi schrieb:
 > I am one of the few Developers of MoinMoin the WikiEngine that (insert
> advertising here)
>>1) Any major change of the standards on a huge site like Wikipedia is
>>hard to implement given user resistance. There are minor details that
>>can be improved and made more consistent, of course.

agreed. most sites will not change at all.

> It is very clear that changing Wiki markup is a pain. Situation for 
> "small" wiki engines is not better as we may not have 1.000.000 pages but 
> several thousand instances all around the web and lots of admins that will 
> have to convert their wikis without deeper knowledge of the engine.
> So in fact noone will do large steps. So if we talk about standards I 
> expect it will be standards about wiki engines that already have very 
> simmilar markup. But this does not mean we should limit ourself to small 
> step at the beginning, but we should be aware how difficult it might get.
> May be there is a chance to make finding some standards easier. I don't 
> know about other engines but in MoinMoin there are parts of the markup 
> that is very unlikly to change. Things that cannot really improved.
> We would perhaps simply ignor the standard before changing them. There are 
> some other parts thatwe did that way because someone wanted that feature 
> that is  not widly used. Lets say somthing like Superscript. So we would 
> consider changing this to comply a standard. An there are even things we 
> are considering to change but did not do yet.
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
> The next thing I would like to state that I still have the feeling that we 
> don't still know what exaclty we are doing here. I am missing the goal of 
> the working group.
> There are people talking about compatibility and moving markup between 
> engines. I think this is impossible. If we want to move data between wikis 
> we should use a parsed and defined format. This still has limitations as 
> the foreign users we not be able to read "failed" markup, but is much more 
> likly to be implementable. I have some thoughts about this but I think 
> this should not be part of this working group right now.


I don't beleieve that it will be a reasonable goal to persuade all wiki 
engine developers to convert to a new standard.
A more likely goal would be to support such an interwiki markup in one 
way or another.

Which ways:

* on edit: (optional, aka InterWikiMarkup)

Support a markup option, so that the user can decide in which markup the 
text should be interpreted. old markup, new markup, interwiki markup, ...
The engine then calls the appropriate markup parser.

* on import/export: (required, aka InterWikiExchangeFormat)

either support additional options to read and write to/from interwiki 
or support external converters to and from native exchange format to 
interwiki exchange format.

>>Beyond that, I believe that we should try to distinguish different
>>"groups" of standards and standardize within these: the UseMod-likes,
>>the TWiki-likes, and so forth.
> Agreed!

I don't think that this is a good way.
   similar syntax, completely different syntax. fragmentation. good 
guys, bad guys.

let's ignore the syntax the various engines for now, and concentrate on 
an interwiki exchange format (if XML, MIME, SEXP or TEXT) and on a 
reasonable interwiki markup format. (as described on the wikipage)

let's just define our goals and our syntax, and make it easy for the 
engine developers to achieve these goals, and make it easy for the users 
to use the interwiki format. if it's just import/export or maybe 
optionally on edit also.

>>3) I think this effort right now is too narrow. The markup syntax is not
>>the only aspect of wiki tech that we need standards on, and not even the
>>most important one. Here's a few I can think of:
> I think we should start somewhere. Further interoperation between wiki 
> engines is a very insteresting topic and I would very much appreciate if 
> we could use the working group as a forum to discuss this. But right now 
> we should only concentrate about issues that might have an effect on the 
> markup.
>>* WikiSpam. There have been discussions about a shared blacklist but
>>  IIRC nothing has come into place yet. Here we need to mostly agree
>>  on who will be allowed to make additions to the blacklist. To make
>>  it wiki-like, a cross-wiki way to review the contributions by one
>>  IP address would be good. Still we need to be aware of the spammers
>>  trying everything they can to get off the blacklist - at least some
>>  barrier to entry may be desirable.
> We are introducing an MoinMoin wide solution with an central black list of 
> URLs with the upcomming version. But we do not have any experience yet.

this should not be the goal of this group.

>>* Extension standard. I'm not just talking about the syntax. Many
>>  extensions (graphs, latex, etc.) work according to the same scheme:
>>  get some input from the wiki, generate some output. It would be nice
>>  to be able to take an extension of this type and plug it into any
>>  wiki.
> We plugin extentions is by wrapping external programms with 10-20 lines of 
> Python code. I don't see an really easier solution. But a common syntax 
> would make sense, IMHO.

plugin syntax should not be the goal of this group. this should be left 
to the implementor.

>>* Cross-wiki transclusion.
> This is a really hot topic. (I recommend http://xanadu.com/ for everyone 
> interested). Main problem I see is not the is not the last modified stamp 
> but the ability to offer a rendered piece of a page.

>>* Copyright metadata.
> Yes, lots of small wikis simply ignore the copy right laws.

this should not be the goal of this group.

>>* In a similar vein, page import and export including page histories.
>>  Again, XML would be useful here. MediaWiki already has the export,
>>  the import was still beta last time I checked. Note that MediaWiki
>>  XML just puts the wikitext into one element.
> There is Wiki XML RPC invented by the JSPWiki people.
> (http://www.ecyrd.com/JSPWiki/Wiki.jsp?page=WikiRPCInterface2)
> It might have to be extended a bit to be useful...

this is one implementation how to solve the interwiki exchange problem.
But I would say that this should be an optional solution. I'd rather 
concentrate on a text format, rather than an API format.

It's just easier for the user to be able to export the data,
run it through some kind of mywiki->interwiki converter and import
it on another wiki.

>>There's more, obviously. My point is that we shouldn't limit ourselves
>>to working together in only one field. Now, I agree that we should first
>>focus on addressing the markup situation, but we should make our mission
>>statement broader than that so that this effort will lead into a new era
>>of cooperation among wiki developers.

> Agreed! If this working group really works and has some impact on wiki 
> development it is too valuable to just stop it.

Reini Urban

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