Session Preview: Designing for Open Collaboration

The technical session Designing for Open Collaboration will feature three presentations. See the schedule for details on when and where to go.

A Meta-reflective Wiki for Collaborative Design

Lu Zhu, Ivan Vaghi, Barbara Rita Barricelli

This paper presents MikiWiki, a meta-reflective wiki developed to prototype key aspects of the Hive-Mind Space model. MikiWiki is aimed at supporting End-User Development activities and exploring the opportunities to enable software tailoring at use time. Such an open-ended collaborative design process is realized by providing basic boundary object prototypes, allowing end users to remix, modify, and create their own boundary objects. Moreover, MikiWiki minimizes essential services at the server-side, while putting the main functionalities on the client-side, opening the whole system to its users for further tailoring. In addition to traditional wikis, MikiWiki allows different Communities of Practice to collaboratively design and to continuously evolve the whole system. This approach illustrates the meta-design concept, where some software collaboration between professional developers and end users is made possible through communication channels properly associated with the environment. As such, the MikiWiki environment is presented as a ‘concept demonstrator’ for meta-design and end-user tailoring.

Wiki Grows Up: Arbitrary Data Models, Access Control, and Beyond

Reid Priedhorsky, Loren Terveen

Ward Cunningham’s vision for the wiki was that it would be “the simplest online database that could possibly work”. We consider here a common manifestation of simplicity: the assumption that the objects in a wiki that can be edited (e.g., Wikipedia articles) are relatively independent. As wiki applications in new domains emerge, however, this assumption is no longer tenable. In wikis where the objects of interest are highly interdependent (e.g., geographic wikis), fundamental concepts like the revision and undoing must be refined. This is particularly so when fine-grained access control is required (as in enterprise wikis or wikis to support collaboration between citizens and government officials). We explore these issues in the context of the Cyclopath geowiki and present solutions that we have designed and have implemented or are implementing.

Design and Implementation of the Sweble Wikitext Parser: Unlocking the Structured Data of Wikipedia

Hannes Dohrn, Dirk Riehle

The heart of each wiki, including Wikipedia, is its content. Most machine processing starts and ends with this content. At present, such processing is limited, because most wiki engines today cannot provide a complete and precise representation of the wiki’s content. They can only generate HTML. The main reason is the lack of well-defined parsers that can handle the complexity of modern wiki markup. This applies to MediaWiki, the software running Wikipedia, and most other wiki engines.

This paper shows why it has been so difficult to develop comprehensive parsers for wiki markup. It presents the design and implementation of a parser for Wikitext, the wiki markup language of MediaWiki. We use parsing expres- sion grammars where most parsers used no grammars or grammars poorly suited to the task. Using this parser it is possible to directly and precisely query the structured data within wikis, including Wikipedia.

The parser is available as open source from http://sweble.org.

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