WikiCreole 1.0 - a common wiki markup
Creole, taking its name from the field of linguistics, a stable language that originated from a combination of two or more languages. As every wiki software has its own markup definitions, the differences can make them difficult for novices to learn and experts to remember, thus a common wiki markup lays the foundation for development of cross-engine wiki software.
The Creole name for a common markup was born from an idea of wiki founder Ward Cunningham at Wikimania 2006 the international Wikipedia conference. The goal: create a common markup that was not a standardization of an arbitrary existing markup, but rather a new markup language that was created out of the common elements of all existing engines. Under this premise the Wiki Creole Working Group analyzed existing wiki markup and compiled a greatest-common denominator subset of elements and presented its report.
Practitioners and wiki developers were then invited to a workshop at WikiSym 2006 in Denmark to learn about Creole and discuss how to proceed. WikiSym is a symposium (conference) series dedicated to wiki research and practice. Participants evaluated different markup elements for possible unification and added them to a wiki created for this purpose. The resulting data resulted in the first version of the Creole spec, version 0.1. Many workshop participants also agreed to implement Creole into their existing wiki implementations.
In true wiki fashion, the report and data were published to a wider audience who were unable to attend allowing them to discuss the decisions made and add their own proposals. An iterative workflow was introduced that discussed and introduced these new proposals into the spec. Discussion pages were used to address each topic and at the end of each iteration (4-8 weeks), a new version number was added to the spec.
The working group's goal was to emphasize consensus instead of majority rule, so opinion polls were always followed by an attempt to reach mutual agreement. After many long months of cooperation, the working group finally reached a point of maximum commonalities. Creole 1.0 was then frozen for the next two years to allow time for adoption. The WikiCreole site (www.wikicreole.org) now has extensive documentation of the empirical analysis and discussions of the elements to support the decisions behind the spec. Today, ten wiki engines support Creole and many more are planning to implement it in the coming months. Wiki engine developers implementing WikiCreole in their parsers, give a clear sign to the community of their readiness to cooperate and draw us all closer together, making life easier for everyone in the wiki world.
i3G (Interdisciplinary Institute for Intelligent Business Processes; Heilbronn, Germany) has led the process with great help from the wiki developer community through its initial concept to 1.0. Through their selection of content and personnel, i3G, is trying to overcome the barriers between computer science, engineering and business. They also develop customized concepts for companies to help optimize operational workflow and its representation for IT systems.
For more information, please visit http://www.i3g.hs-heilbronn.de/
Chuck Smith, i3G Institute - Heilbronn University
T: +49 7131 504 474
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