Wiki - culture, concepts and principles

General concept and idea of wikis.

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General concept and idea of wikis

What is a wiki?

"A wiki is a page or collection of Web pages designed to enable anyone who accesses it to contribute or modify content, using a simplified markup language. Wikis are often used to create collaborative websites and to power community websites. The collaborative encyclopedia Wikipedia is one of the best-known wikis. Wikis are used in business to provide intranets and Knowledge Management systems" (from Wikipedia).

Originally, the word "wiki" is hawaiian and means "fast" or "quick". According to Ward Cunningham, the developer of the first wiki software called WikiWikiWeb, the name was chosen "as an alliterative substitute for quick and thereby avoided naming this stuff quick-web".

The idea behind wikis

As mentioned above, the original idea behind wikis was that anybody can create and edit content of a wiki page, using a simplified markup language.

A markup language is a language that combines text with additional anotations that have an impact of the presentation of the text itself once it is displayed. An example for markup language is HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) that is the basis for the majority of internet websites. In conjunction with wikis, the markup language is reduced to a few simple annotations that easily allow any user to format a wiki page. These days, of course, WYSIWYG editors can be used to simplify interaction with the wiki.

According to its founder, the basic principles of a wiki are:

How is Foswiki different?

That all sounds very well, but it doesn't take account of the constraints and requirements we encounter in the modern business environment. Foswiki has been contributed to by people with many years of experience in many industries, so it implements a lot of essential features beyond what is described above, such as:

Here are just a few of the ways we have seen Foswiki being used in enterprise environments:

For more ideas on how a wiki can be used - and there are many - visit the Foswiki extensions web at

There are many wiki implementations in the world today, but Foswiki stands apart from the others in it's raw power and flexibility. The basic wiki platform has been refined and improved over the years, while hundreds of contributed modules enhance it's functionality in many different domains, mainly oriented towards business applications.