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Apache Software

Chromatic On The Wiki Plugin For Slash 104

Posted by chrisd
from the man-that's-some-fine-hosting-software dept.
lisam writes: "The Wiki plugin integrates nicely with Slash and has a lot of cool features, says Chromatic who introduces Wikis and gives a detailed explanation of how and why the Wiki plugin works in this OnLamp article. (chromatic is coauthor of O'Reilly's upcoming Running Weblogs with Slash.)" A lot of people just think of Slashdot style sites when thinking of the Slash codebase, but this article goes on about how to extend slash in cool ways. If you are interested in plugins, the repository is a good place to start.
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Chromatic On The Wiki Plugin For Slash

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  • I wonder.... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by IIOIOOIOO (517375)
    If the slash codebase could be extended to show when an Administrator moderates your comments?
    • Re:I wonder.... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Afrosheen (42464) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @04:25PM (#2883804)
      I'd like to see a list of my posts, along with who moderated them to what level. Moderators should be given more responsibility to do what's right, i.e. mod up interesting/insightful posts rather than mod down trolls. Trolls and redundant/flame posts are not hard to mod down but an AC that posts something good is difficult to mod up at times.

      Consider balancing the karma system..if you give someone moderator rights, and 5 points, make 2 of those negative points and the remaining 3 positive.
      • Re:I wonder.... (Score:3, Interesting)

        by IIOIOOIOO (517375)
        I disagree.... Honestly, I worry that seeing who axed your last post might encourage retributive axing of their later post. Although, you increase the number of available points, make them positive-only, and introduce a time-based rating decay. That way, posts in which no one saw redeeming value would fairly quickly degrade off of the average users page-view.
        • I disagree.... Honestly, I worry that seeing who axed your last post might encourage retributive axing of their later post.

          Human nature being what it is...:-). Seriously, though, I think that for better or worse, the mod system works, in this sense: Slashdot has an "Uber-editor", a virtual entity composed of the individual effort of every moderator. I might not agree with this "Uber-editor" slant, but that's expected; and I have the option of not reading /..

          Look at this from the economic viewpoint (the laws of the market...) or from the complex systems viewpoint (emrgent behavior); either way, I think it makes sense and explains the "feeling" I have of /..

      • >I'd like to see a list of my posts, along with who moderated them to what level.

        If they did, poor malda's "foes" page, would be slashdoted.
      • Re:I wonder.... (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Plastic.com's karma costs 2 points to mod down an article, vs 1 point to mod up... I think this works well with putting the focus on modding up instead of modding down.

        And I also believe that most people here with mod points spend them all modding down people they don't agree with than modding up people they do... Thats not consistent with the spirit of free debate and discussion, imho..

        And as such, I must post this anonymously out of fear of losing my precious karma to some idgit who doesn't "agree with me".. sigh..
        • And I also believe that most people here with mod points spend them all modding down people they don't agree with than modding up people they do...

          According to the FAQ, whether you agree with them or not isn't supposed to be relevant in either case! "Try to be impartial about this. Simply disagreeing with a comment is not a valid reason to mark it down. Likewise, agreeing with a comment is not a valid reason to mark it up. "
      • Yes, and another thing about moderating. I've been refusing to moderate for a few months simply because I've noted that you can loose _your own_ karma for moderating.

        This seems totally pointless to me. Do you want objective moderating or do you want moderators bending their choices to what the believe everyone else is doing/going to do?
        • Re:I wonder.... (Score:2, Interesting)

          by notfancy (113542)

          Yes, and another thing about moderating. I've been refusing to moderate for a few months simply because I've noted that you can loose your own karma for moderating.

          I thought that was what karma means...It makes you think before you mod down ("do I really want to loose one karma point on this post?"), and it makes you think before you mod up ("do I really want to loose one karma point on this post?"). Either way, you think before you mod (I am tempted to add a "QED", but I'm reading too much Dijkstra lately, and I'm slowly appreciating the inherent ugliness in case analysis. If only I could come up with a constructive proof that "karma works").

        • Do you want objective moderating or do you want moderators bending their choices to what the believe everyone else is doing/going to do?

          Isn't it obvious? Just about everything about the way Slashdot works is geared to producing mediocrity. The karma cap, the 20 second rule, the two minute rule the lameness filter, metamod. All of these things are based on 'averages' rather then quality. Malda's moderation system is a huge and complex beast that annoys posters as much as it does stop crap.

          Yeh, some good stuff floats to the top, but so do some pretty lame things as well. (like unchecked facts, and bullshit trolls). It's almost like /. has an anti-intellectual focus.

          Hell, the only reason I'm here is basically to sig-spam for autopr0n.com.
      • the kuro5hin moderation systems is far, far supperior to slashdot's. Not only can you see all the moderations done to you, but also everyone can moderate (although only select users can hide posts) and the score is the average rather then the addtive total.

        As opposed to the slashdot system which is just hack after hack...
    • Re:I wonder.... (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Fishstick (150821)
      Interesting idea, why don't you ask taco [slashdot.org]? ;-)
  • As a big fan of Penny Arcade [penny-arcade.com] (And who isn't?) I decided a while back to start my own webcomic. I thought that a sort of personal-diary thing to go along with it would be nice and all. I looked into blogger and some of the others but didn't find anything quite what I wanted. I think this news may make my search a little easier, since I can use slash (which I know and love) to take care of some of the gruntwork behind my site.
    • Geez man, you should really get out. There are a lot of server-side setups that would do you a lot better, and be a lot easier to setup and use. scoop is good, a lot of PHP things, etc.

      I mean slashdot is OK if you want something exactly like slashdot... but for a simple weblog it's totaly overkill.
  • Chromatic's book (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Zico (14255) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @04:39PM (#2883876)

    I've always thought chromatic had some interesting things to say here as a poster, and am curious about how much detail he goes into in his book about Slashcode. Also, not just the code itself, but the ethics involved in running such a site.


    For example, does he (or do you, if you happen to be reading this, chromatic) go into things like the admins using "bitchslaps" on their users, and when they should/shouldn't. Or from a somewhat disturbing example from the past week (http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=26315&cid=285 0660 [slashdot.org]), does he discuss things like scripts which flood the stories with "Offtopic" moderations, basically using (abusing?) the admin power to instantly try to squelch both user and moderator opinions? Any philosophical discussions about whether there is any point in giving users moderation power for any reason to shut them up for a while, seeing as there isn't really much point in moderation when some admin with a chip on his shoulder is going to come by and stomp on everyone's opinions by using his unlimited mod points to make sure that something stays marked "Offtopic" (over 250 so far)?


    Good luck with the book, chromatic, like I was saying, you're one of the better posters here!

    • Re:Chromatic's book (Score:4, Informative)

      by mwalker (66677) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @05:03PM (#2883995) Homepage
      I think your comment really belongs in the hidden Slash META discussion [slashdot.org] started by CmdrTaco. CmdrTaco is currently answering questions there from all comers, so now's your chance. You can even ask him what he thinks of chromatic and Wikis, which are a move towards more community trust rather than less.

      And no I am not Offtopic; I'm trying to transfer the Offtopic people into their own discussion.

    • Moderation Totals: Offtopic=265, Flamebait=4, Troll=26, Redundant=3, Insightful=69, Interesting=154, Informative=32, Funny=8, Overrated=11, Underrated=46, Total=618

      It's true then. I always ignored the "Michael censors..." crybaby posts written by hormonally challenged teens, but now someone has presented some real evidence that editors bitchslap accounts. I'm sure it only happens to trolls and crapflooders, but I'm still disappointed. Ban IPs or delete accounts if you must, but don't abuse the moderation system that you want your users to hold sacred.

      • Ban IPs or delete accounts if you must, but don't abuse the moderation system that you want your users to hold sacred.

        Good heavens. You'd rather have an entire account deleted -- essentially kicking a user off the system -- than having them modded down? Render ALL their posts TOTALLY invisible rather than simply modded below someone elses reading threshold?

        Remember, moding someone down DOESN'T make their comment invisible. It makes them invisible to those who've decided to trust the moderators (and, as everyone now knows, the "fascist" slashdot editors) and set their threshold higher than a certain level. And even then, the system reminds them there are comments below their threshold.

        I think mostly people take their post visibility and karma WAY too seriously. I've only had one or two ever unfairly moderated by ANYONE, editor or average joe I know not. I've had lots of intelligent posts totally ignored. I've had a few fatuous ones moded up. The moderation system isn't perfect. But by and large, when I do my best to post intelligently, I find my comments eventually get noticed, no matter where they fall on the point spectrum, and more often than not, they get awarded a mod point or two.

        The system works for me, and probably works for most slashdot readers, which is why they're still here.
    • Re:Chromatic's book (Score:4, Informative)

      by chromatic (9471) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @05:38PM (#2884172) Homepage
      Thank you for the kind words.

      Chapter 8 of the book is all about the mechanics and philosophy of building a community out of the random visitors who stumble on your website. Most of it isn't limited to running a Slash site, and a lot of it is common sense stuff if you have a background in journalism or publishing.

      We tried to come up with a good mixture of ethical and practical ideas, like how to keep readers informed of things, writing author guidelines, and handling mistakes and errata. There's also a discussion on the moderation system (in chapters 6 and 8), including some of the ways in which it can fail. Krow has a nice bit in there about the point at which user moderation is useful (for small sites, it generally isn't).

      You're probably more interested in the sections about "Anti-Abuse" features. Comment filters are described, along with their failings, and the example of how to modify Slash code itself involves making the filters less strict to posters with karma above an administrator defined level. It also describes things like IP and Network blacklists.

      The approach we take in the book is that these features (moderation, filters, blacklists) are merely tools that administrators can use to keep their site running and their quality of discussion and service high. If you have to use them, make the rules plain and simple and stick by them, but don't fall into the fallacy of believing that Perl can solve social problems. Maybe Perl 6 can, but that's a ways off.

      For what it's worth, I put forth the idea that having a recurring story [slashdot.org] about the site itself, where the administrators and editors participate in the comments, is one of the best things a site can do.

      I'm not privy to a lot of details specific to the operations of Slashdot itself, so my opinion on those is merely wild speculation... though I have read the code and do know what's possible. :)

      • You're probably more interested in the sections about "Anti-Abuse" features. Comment filters are described, along with their failings, and the example of how to modify Slash code itself involves making the filters less strict to posters with karma above an administrator defined level. It also describes things like IP and Network blacklists.

        I don't know why, but the idea of the rating system being open gives me the creeps. The problem I see is that if the implementor/developer/whatever is a "benevolent tyrant", everything is fine; otherwise you could very well participate in a slash-powered blog that springs a totalitarian trap on you, the unsuspecting reader, at any time. What I like of Advogato [advogato.org] is that the rating system is tunable but very difficult to subvert without replacing it wholesale; after all, you can't change much Warshall's algorithm.

        Of course I'm aware that this is not of your concern, and Open Source being what it is the possibility for subversion is no more and no less than with any other piece of software; my question is then whether there are more robust rating systems or not, in the sense that subverting them would radically alter the "look-and-feel" of the blog.

        • Any framework that stores scores or karma or whatever in a permanent form can be modified by anyone with the appropriate access. (It's more difficult if things are only kept in memory, but it's still possible.) Besides that, you have to trust that a site running on open code uses a known unmodified public version.

          There are lots of ways to subvert something that don't involve modifying the code, especially when there's a persistent data store of some sort. You can trust the software as much as you want, but the person who owns the box has the potential to do just about anything.

          Maybe I'm misunderstanding your question.

  • I'm waiting for Wiki version 2 which will include trolls. No logging software is complete without trolls.
  • by ocelotbob (173602) <ocelot.ocelotbob@org> on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @04:45PM (#2883908) Homepage
    I was reading the article when this sentance jumped out at me:
    It would also be nice to be able to promote a page to a Story, but that's probably further down the road.

    Why not use a wiki to handle the submission queue? Let users create articles in the wiki, and have the slashdot editors and other users suggest changes for making an article better before posting it on the main site. That way, marginal articles will be improved, the chance of factual errors is diminished, and story quality is increased. Once the story's good enough, just migrate it to the front page. Story rejection can be handled in a similar way as it currently is, witht the possible addition of having a story expire if there are no additions/changes after a given time frame.

    Questions, comments?

    • That is indeed what I had in mind. If/When this appears, it would be possible to write feature articles (a book review, an investigation of some kind, a fiction story) in the Wiki, with authors correcting things or adding details and links to other information.

      It would be interesting to see the revisions of a Story done this way.

    • A first thought: you can view Slash as a very confined kind
      of Wiki.
      Let's concentrate on viewing the page with
      some treshold > 0. Then generally anybody can
      add something at the end of the page, and those
      with moderation points can delete things from
      the page.
      I just believe there is something more general
      hiding behind them.
      By the way: I feel how awkward this comment is -
      I would like to let it be modified the wiki style
      by someone who would better grasp the idea that
      I just feel is there somewhere.
  • Shouldn't you want until the program starts creating actual HTML until you write a book about it?

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Here is the creature [crystalsrules.com] they should have put on the cover of the book...
  • Not enough hits on slashcode.org?

    Seriously, how does this qualify as Slashdot material while the, on average, once a day article on slashcode not qualify?

    Oh wait, targeted consumer book tie-in/promotion, carry on.
    • Re:What's this? (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      What irks me is that *every* article ever submitted by lisam@oreilly.com has been this type of advertisement. Every single one.

      I've been harping on this issue since I first noticed the connection a few months back, but there hasn't been a stemming of Lisa's adverts. It's rather picked up the pace, somewhat.

      I guess until people start realizing that the stories proffered by Lisa are nothing more than vaguely disguised commercials for O'Reilly books and conferences, this type of /. reader abuse will continue.
    • It's a four page article about a collaborative type of website and a little-known feature of the software that powers this site. It includes working code, discusses practical concerns, and gives some ideas for things I'd personally like to see. Hopefully that's interesting for programmers and webmasters.

      The article is indeed designed to promote the book, but I wanted to write something new and unique instead of retreading what's in the book. It does contain a similar example, but the article had more room for a longer plugin.

      You're welcome not to buy the book, and I hope there's enough information in the article that a decent programmer could write a new plugin without it. Feel free to send me a dollar if you do, though. :)

      (I will, of course, sympathize with the cynics who say that Malda wants to promote the book 'cuz he wrote the foreword. No, he didn't use crayon. It's a nice piece.)

  • by Renraku (518261)
    Modding is of course an art. There is no clear-cut mod for every post. A Slashdot template would be cool, but it might bring the problems of Slashdot with it. Trolls, flamers, the Slashdot effect, webhosting costs. All of those things would slap down most smaller sites that are gaining in popularity. A more efficient style should be adopted to keep costs down, trolls and flamers at bay, and a cache system for articles would be nice, too.
  • I'm currently running a slash-ish website (using PhpSlice) on the company intranet for corporate news/software downloads/etc. I'd really like to use it for system documentation, but design of these sites is much better for presenting current news than creating manageable archives.

    Now I'm wondering if a wiki would help me at all. Has anyone out there used wikis to get real work done? If so, what are their strengths? Brainstorming? Archiving knowledge? Creating dialogue? I'm curious to hear from those webmasters "out in the trenches" that are actually using this tool.

    • Re:Wiki for work? (Score:2, Informative)

      by tcopeland (32225)
      Howdy -

      We use a Wiki here at http://www.realeum.com to keep track of a lot of developer information - servers, databases, source code branches, JNLP applications, release dates - you name it. We use a Linux box running Jim Doyle's Tomcat port of Rus Heywood's DevWiki (http://www.gis.net/~jimdoyle/devwiki/devwiki-tomc at.shtml).

      We don't do much in the way of archiving... we just kind of use it as a bulletin board. It's definitely very useful though.

      Yours,

      Tom
    • Re:Wiki for work? (Score:1, Interesting)

      by NetMasta10bt (468001)
      We've been using TWiki for the past year at work, and it is an excellent way to collaborate on documenation. It makes it really easy for anyone to make an update, or correction, and allows people to recieve email updates when content changes. The search engine also makes it easy to get the information you need quickly.
    • A friend and I started a Wiki farm [seedwiki.com] very recently, and we've been literally blown away by the breadth of the results we've received.

      Random people have started Wikis on our site for writing books, scheduling batting cages, writing grants, selling Tibetian art, brainstorming, asking random questions, starting clubs, archiving pictures, and the list goes on and on.

      I wish I could explain the underlying power of the Wiki, but this is something I am barely beginning to understand myself. Hope this helps.

      Stephan

    • You may also want to consider WebKNotes
      (webknotes.sourceforge.net) as a knowledge database.

      It has support for html,text,wiki,and htxt files.
      Everything is stored in a directory hierarchy, it has authentication and it has many choices for look and feel.
    • We write a free (GNU) encyclopedia using the wiki paradigm at Wikipedia.com [wikipedia.com]. So far, we have produced over 20,000 articles in one year. Quality varies, of course.
    • I have successfully used a Wiki to present the design documents for a web project I have worked on. It is great to be able to see the changes that have been made to a document over time, as it avoids some of the "we never said that" discussions. Combined with a simple bug tracker we were able to have all of our design documents hyperlinkable within the bugs and track all changes to the design over time.
  • by Eloquence (144160) on Tuesday January 22, 2002 @05:07PM (#2884011) Homepage
    You may be interested in reading this proposal [kuro5hin.org] I have made for Scoop, which is the engine that runs K5. Both Scoop and Slashcode are written in Perl, so it may be possible to develop a shared Wiki plugin.

    The idea to combine wikis and weblogs is very promising. The sequential nature of weblogs is great for news, but not for acting on these news in a sustained fashion. If Slashdot writes about some political issue, if actions are taken they are usually short-lived, or move to other mailing lists. Similarly, wikis can combine sites which host both a lot of persistent knowledge (e.g. papers, essays) with the dynamic, community-creating nature of a weblog. I plan to eventually run violence.de [violence.de] as a wiki-weblog, with the wiki (access-restricted) storing the papers, film pages etc., and the weblog reporting about current issues (sexual repression, censorship, new studies etc.) -- mail me [mailto] if you want to help.

    Wikis, when properly deployed, are the missing component to make weblogs truly useful. With properly deployed, I mean that typical wiki idiosyncrasies need to be avoided: Nobody really wants to use WikiStyleLinks, they make text harder to read and are difficult to get rid of once you have decided to use them. Choose E2 [everything2.com] or Wikipedia [wikipedia.com] style links instead. Also, access restrictions are necessary in many contexts. See the article for some further design details.

    • As a user of real Wikis in corporate environments where communication and clarity are essential, I can heartily recommend the use of CapitalWordLinks over any special syntax.

      There are lot of reasons why such links are superior, including:

      • Natural convergence of topics -- many times users are not sophisticated enough to search for the desired topic page before attempting to create it. People working at the same company tend to have the same idea of names for things, and the topic pages will converge even for unsophisticated users.
      • Simplicity of syntax -- wiki's main point is to make things both extremely light and simple to edit, and also not to have much context sensitivity. If you add things into the middle of paragraphs or sentences or phrases there is almost never any ancillary cleanup work of moving braces, parens, etc. around. This is why wiki-markup is so much better than something like HTML
      • CamelCase words suggest good naming -- The main thing that is un-elegant with the CamelCase WikiStyleNaming is very short topics, like TcP. This is good. Very vague topic names are usually not useful. What happens it the topic does not focus discussion and so the page ends up being cacaphony or abandoned instead of useful. With arbitrary naming eg [TCP], people feel free to use terrible topic names which do not promote good discussion.
      • Nontechnical users - lastly, users who are not technical at all can get by using the simple markup style of wikis. They don't have to match braces or look for special symbols, it's all RIGHT THERE. CamelCase is a lot clearer to such folks. Compare: MarketingTargets to [Marketing Targets]. The latter looks more clear to the programmer, but experience with large numbers of users says that the former is much more learnable and self-correcting, and is gotten right somewhere around 99.95% of the time, while the latter leads to constant errors. Trust me, I've maintained internal communication tool environment things.

      In short, people who don't like WikiStyleLinks usually don't like them because they haven't given them an honest try.

      • > In short, people who don't like WikiStyleLinks usually don't like them because they haven't given them an honest try

        Ah, the cry of the novice advocate: "if you don't agree, you don't understand". I've seen this argument used on everything from python to political theories. This argument also has about as much merit: those who advocate WikiWords or indentation for syntax or redistribution of wealth believe in the self-evident merit of the idea so much that anyone else must be deluded. Believe it or don't, it's just based on as much actual insight as the first assertion.

        It really just doesn't take a lot of training to get people to use brackets. People can stick brackets around phrases in existing text.

        With a little more intelligence, it can be done with a javascript browser interface and no syntax at all: hilight the words, click on a "make link" button, if there's no link then do a fuzzy match (think spellchecker) on existing links, suggest them. No cumbersome textarea needed. A bit slow for my tastes (too much aiming with the mouse), but great for one-off editing.

        Thankfully most wikis worth using do support free link syntax, because in keeping with the wiki philosophy, freedom is good. As for the javascript trick, I've a similar thing done with in a helpdesk app, though it wasn't browser-based (it easily could be).
        • In short, people who don't like WikiStyleLinks usually don't like them because they haven't given them an honest try.

          Ah, the cry of the novice advocate: "if you don't agree, you don't understand". I've seen this argument used on everything from python to political theories. This argument also has about as much merit: those who advocate WikiWords or indentation for syntax or redistribution of wealth believe in the self-evident merit of the idea so much that anyone else must be deluded. Believe it or don't, it's just based on as much actual insight as the first assertion.

          Ahh the straw man! I said that people who don't like wiki links usually haven't tried them because I have often encountered this resistance. Asking the question: "Have you given it an honest try?" has invariably produced the answer: "No." I'm not sure as to your answer to this question, if yes, then it is a new point of view. Fantastic!

          It really just doesn't take a lot of training to get people to use brackets. People can stick brackets around phrases in existing text.

          With a little more intelligence, it can be done with a javascript browser interface and no syntax at all: hilight the words, click on a "make link" button, if there's no link then do a fuzzy match (think spellchecker) on existing links, suggest them. No cumbersome textarea needed. A bit slow for my tastes (too much aiming with the mouse), but great for one-off editing.

          Both of these ideas are pretty jarring with WikiNature. The textual form of WikiMarkup is not hierarchical. It avoids the types of nesting issues and matching concepts of HTML because documents which have these features have higher friction in the editing process. As for the javascript browswer tricks, this has higher friction in the access costs. Are all the users of the wiki using javascript at all? Are they using graphical browsers? A wiki should just work and it should work immediately and transparently for all users and all comers without exception. That's the point!

          Thankfully most wikis worth using do support free link syntax, because in keeping with the wiki philosophy, freedom is good. As for the javascript trick, I've a similar thing done with in a helpdesk app, though it wasn't browser-based (it easily could be).

          An application has its own set of rules, you can do all the tricks you want, because everyone is using the same system. As for the free link syntax -- I'd say Ward Cunningham's Wiki is very much worth using. As the creator of the entire concept with an ongoing healthy community after many years, they have resisted the desire to create such a thing.

          As for Wiki being about freedom.. I don't think that's it. It's close though. Wikis are about unfetteredness. They are about focus on the content. They are about content vs. being about access to the content. They are about simply fixing stuff instead of discussing fixing stuff. This doesn't exactly add up to freedom, it more adds up to cooperation through individual cooperation. This can actually be aided by giving people a common ground in many areas. One of these is helping people use a common naming system.

    • "Nobody really wants to use WikiStyleLinks, they make text harder to read and are difficult to get rid of once you have decided to use them."

      [Shameless Plug:] Our Wiki farm [seedwiki.com] solves this problem in three ways.

      1) I allows for the traditional Wiki notation PageLink, but it displays the link this way: Page Link [slashdot.org]
      2) It allows you to use a free optional WYSIWYG editor, so you only need to highlight the text in question and click on a button.
      3) And just like dreamweaver, it allows you to use and edit standard html.

      "Also, access restrictions are necessary in many contexts. "

      Yes, Seedwiki.com has that. It has different levels of protection which can be mixed and matched, but we don't encourage our Wiki owners and visitors to use those features until they become absolutely necessary.

      Stephan

  • I'm curious about why O'Reilly & Associates chose crows for the cover.
    Perl has their camels, Awk got a picture of an awk....

    Couldn't they find an 18th-century woodcut of a taco?

  • Can we mod the actual story -1 offtopic? Pretty soon we'll be seeing stories about Malda's personal life...
  • on the new Slash book. I have a feeling we will sell a lot of these(I'm telling the computer book buyers about this and placing my order today). Despite the overabundance of computer books, there really aren't a whole lot of books that detail end-to-end how to do a complete database-driven site from beginning to end.


    A book on installing and running a Slash site would have to cover a lot of things - installing Linux, Apache, mod_perl(not to mention a bunch of other perl modules), and MySQL. Hopefully this book will show how to make a scalable site by using NFS and multiple web servers - since Slash is capable of running on such a beast.


    I think a book like this could be useful to a lot of people, and not necessarily just people who want to run a Slash site. If you've ever gotten a Slash site going, you know there is a lot of setup and configuration to make it work, and that is applicable to a lot of other things.

    • Re:Congrats, guys (Score:2, Informative)

      by chromatic (9471)
      A book on installing and running a Slash site would have to cover a lot of things - installing Linux, Apache, mod_perl(not to mention a bunch of other perl modules), and MySQL. Hopefully this book will show how to make a scalable site by using NFS and multiple web servers - since Slash is capable of running on such a beast.

      Funny you mention that... has a copy of chapter 2 somehow gone backwards in time? :)

      There's not a whole lot on multi-machine configurations, but it does come up. If you can get it installed in that situation -- and it's not difficult -- it works almost the same as a single-machine site. I'm really impressed.

    • there really aren't a whole lot of books that detail end-to-end how to do a complete database-driven site from beginning to end.

      Another one to check out, if you can stand his smug MIT snobbery for long enough to read it is Phillip Greenspun's "Phillip And Alex Guide To Web Publishing" which covers a lot of ground in information design, database design, understanding your audience and so on. The implementation details are in Oracle and Tcl (AOLServer) where they appear, but the bulk of the book is independent of that.
  • wiki (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Robert Frazier (17363)
    After trying slash, zope+slashdot, and a more barebones setup, I've gone with with the twiki implementation of a wiki web. I'm quite happy with that, although, a more heavily used site might well need a DB backend.

    An aside. I think that telling users that they can actually *edit* pages scares them a bit.

    Best wishes,
    Bob
  • Modwiki! (Score:2, Insightful)

    I'm struck by the idea of having a slash-style moderation system on top of a Wiki, with comment levels so you select the degree of potentially amusing noise you are prepared to tolerate. I normally run comments at level 3 but one or two trolls are in my friends list, so I get an interesting mix of very sensible and very stupid comments and I miss a lot of the me-too stuff. That might sound like a strange idea to apply to a Wiki, but I think it could be fun finding out if it works.
  • by notfancy (113542)

    I'm wondering, are there alternative implementations of Slash? Of Wiki? Is everything written in Perl (no value judgment here)?

    How difficult would it be to port Slash to Java Servlets? Wiki?

    The reason I'm asking is not because I'm a Java bigot or anything, but because (1) it seems to be the platform of choice for the Apache Project [apache.org], and (2) I have a couple of webapps deployed, and I would like to know how difficult would be to integrate Slash/Wiki with them.

    Any comments from developers/porters welcome. Thank you!

  • Writing Rant (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jallen02 (124384)
    I would just like to say how thankless a task writing can really be. Writing involves tremendous amounts of work, especially technical books. The pressures on a writer of a technical topic are incredible. The amount of time it takes for a technical book to go from inception to print is usually a lot less than most other types of books. The turn around time must be minimal because technology evolves so quickly. I have found such a profound admiration for good books, and for the people who dedicate large chunks of their lives to sharing their knowledge.

    A truly well written book is such a blessing when you wish to learn the subject matter. It is difficult to fully appreciate it unless you have written a a book, or parts of one. So, good luck with the rest of your book Chromatic, I look forward to a book by a fellow /.er.

    I have always found chromatic's writing here quite well thought. The philosophy and psychology behind online communities fascinating. I have also found slashcode to be much better than most people give it credit for, mainly because it is Perl. Anyhow.

    Jeremy
  • I'd never heard of wiki a month ago and now I've had to use it on our weblog for our robotics class and now it's invaded /. too...
  • Notice that both the OnLamp article and the O'Reilly book don't use Wiki technology. What's that say about its relevance to technical documentation? You decide.

Swap read error. You lose your mind.

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