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"there should be no standard [wiki] syntax"

First google result for: standard wiki syntax

Is "no standard syntax" really a good thing? When the wiki itself is the user interface, perhaps it is, but if you want the user interface to be a slick WYSIWYG desktop client that edits any wiki via Atom, then having a different syntax for each wiki really sucks.


I agree, it's a poor state of affairs, but the area is young. To me, it looks like the best candidates for gathering around are Textile with the addition of WikiWord support or reStructuredText (reST).

Posted by Anil Gangolli on February 18, 2005 at 01:30 PM EST #

I strongly believe that WikiMarkup should go the way of the dodo. Different wikis will always have different capabilities and therefore there always will be a slightly different markup for each. Slightly incompatible markups can be worse than wildly different markups... What we need is a) very intuitive WYSIWYG editing for wikis and b) XHTML import on each Wiki. Someone is already working on both of these for JSPWiki... ;-)

Posted by Janne Jalkanen on February 18, 2005 at 11:04 PM EST #

That's an interesting and worthwhile perspective from Janne. At that point, what characteristics distinguish a wiki from a web server with webdav and the older browser-based editors (e.g. Netscape/Mozilla Composer)? Will these things converge? Should they?

Posted by Anil Gangolli on February 20, 2005 at 01:14 AM EST #

Nothing much. But I always thought of WikiMarkup as a sort of a necessary evil to make the content be separate from presentation. XHTML is a nice tool, but it's not very userfriendly. WikiMarkup is a bit more so, but even that is not very intuitive.

Posted by Janne Jalkanen on February 20, 2005 at 08:25 PM EST #

After using mediawiki's markup for a wiki I run (http://www.editplus.info/) it's excruciatingly painful to go back to Blogger's UI where the best I get is automatic conversion of line breaks into BR's. (interestingly enough Dave, when I preview my comments, line breaks aren't converted into BRs.)

I admit Ctrl+Shift+A to create links in Blogger is a wonderful thing (why doesn't WordPress have this?) but creating lists (with stupid automatic conversion of linebreaks) is awful.

I think wikimarkup may actually overtake wysiwyg.

One more premontion: I'm sure you could do this with Wordperfect/emacs/LaTeX like ages ago, but imagine a simpler, mass market, open source wordprocessor/text editor that uses a standard Wikimarkup for editing.

Posted by justin on February 21, 2005 at 03:03 PM EST #

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