[jifty-devel] A wild and wacky wiki idea...

Andrew Sterling Hanenkamp andrew.hanenkamp at boomer.com
Sat Mar 17 13:37:31 EDT 2007

This is a little OT to start, but Jifty does have a Wifty and this is
also the Perl community I'm currently most closely associated with
(unfortunately, I've never actually physically shaken hands with someone
who was a Perl programmer by choice and enjoyed it.) Okay, enough sob
story, the idea...
Last night, I got a first note on AnnoCPAN for a module I'd all but
forgotten I wrote. I'd kind of looked at AnnoCPAN before, but it's not
very easy to get to so I've never taken very much interest. That event,
though, sparked an idea that it would be really cool if CPAN modules
acted like Wiki pages. 
I am stating this in terms of CPAN to here since that's where my
original thoughts were, but have a scaled down version of the idea for
Jifty below the bullets. Here's what I was thinking:

*	When started, the CPAN wiki would work essentially the same as
search.cpan.org. However, the site only has to extract the POD from the
modules with some additional notation to record where the code segments
*	On each documentation page, you can select older revisions,
which are, initially, just the other versions of the modules available
on CPAN. You can look at the history and changes that have been made in
the documentation---which would be a hot way of seeing API changes.
*	A visitor to the CPAN wiki can correct problems, update, and
modify the POD documentation for the module owner. These would then
become additional document revisions of the module. These would work
more or less like regular module updates, but they would see only the
POD and none of the code. Another possibility would be to show the code,
but contrive an editor widget that prevents it from being modified.
*	If a module is updated, the system will attempt to diff and
patch Wiki-side revisions of the module. If a hunk fails, a note might
be added or something, but the module author's documentation should
always be preferred.
*	A module author (or anyone really) could click on a link to
download a document patch that could be applied to a specific module or
the whole project to make the project reflect the latest document
changes that have been made.

The other reason I bring this up here is that it seems like there's a
weird competition between the Wiki on jifty.org and the manual in the
code itself. Rather than make these compete, a modification to Wifty
along these lines could help resolve the issue. I could even see having
a special link for committers allowing them to send the page straight
into the repository. That way the Wiki always has the latest manual and
the package manual always reflect the latest Wiki changes.
Anyway, that was an off the wall idea that I had last night and I
thought I'd share to see what the list thought.
Andrew Sterling Hanenkamp
Interaction Developer
Boomer Consulting, Inc.
1.785.537.2358 ext. 17
1.888.266.6375 ext. 17
1.785.537.4545 (fax)
610 Humboldt
Manhattan, KS 66502
andrew.hanenkamp at boomer.com <http://www.boomer.com/> 
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