Blogging with MediaWiki?

When somebody asks how they can bend one tool to the tune of another (Littleton,1984) it’s tempting to skip but the reply from “Sy” interested me.

I have always believed it possible to duplicate the form and function of a weblog within a wiki’s engine. To a wiki, stepping out into various other kinds of knowledge management isn’t very hard. However, wiki technology is still juvenile at best and it appears that most developers don’t see that a wiki’s technology need not be extended far to absorb other concepts like a weblog.

I have seen content management systems which integrate wiki and weblog concepts, and I have seen weblogs which integrate wiki functionality. I have even seen beautiful hacks forcibly combining these various elements.

I fiddled around, and now it’s possible to weblog in MediaWiki by leveraging its templating.

Hmm, I’m not at all convinced that messing about with lots of templates for differently shaped months is sensible, and it’s pretty obvious to me as well as to others that purpose built software like WordPress is far superior to clunky exploits in mediawiki BUT – I do have a current project in mind where I want to dump a load of messages from one author out of a COP mailing list and make it available on the Wiki, but looking somethig a bit like a blog and with the capacity to easily copy across and add in new entries from the COP to the Wiki. So some sort of blog-alike templating may well be in order here.

Meanwhile by backing out a level it transpires that Sy has some stories to tell including this :

Many years ago, I started out as a collector of texts. Then I began to write my own texts.

Before the internet was so pervasive, I used collections of textfiles. I learned about HTML and was not impressed.

At one point I developed my own website, and was frustrated at how difficult it was to keep a properly maintained site. All I wanted was to have a website be a synchronized copy of a directory on my hard drive. I would later find the tools to do just that, but it wasn’t enough.

Out on the internet, I saw all kinds of bulletin boards and forums, newsgroup and email solutions.. I hated all of it. What a stupid way to communicate and store information! I wrote lots and lots of notes describing better ways to do things, and eventually I found it.

When I first bumped into the wiki concept, it was very young. The wikis which I found were spectacular failures, and I cannot stress this enough.. failures, complete and thorough.. but the underlying technology had real hope.

I ignored wiki technology for a while, and looked at several content management packages. Back then, blogging was young and a lot of technology was coming to light because of the rising popularity in the web-diary concept. I still find it amusing at how common blogs are, at how wasted the effort is and still how common their reading is. Yes, blogs are a waste of effort. Blog items are categorizable, but not not re-editable into true resources. Oh but they are simple, and now the barrier that diaries are for little girls is one which we have run right past.

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