HTML easier than ever ;-)

by Gabrys on 02 Mar 2010 12:02

Update: HTML block is now available.

The Wikidot Community is very creative and can use features that programmers develop in a very clever way. Here they explain how to embed custom HTML into Wikidot pages. As you see it's possible, but quite hard. But most importantly that page showcases the resourceful community and how powerful Wikidot is.

My name is Piotr Gabryjeluk, I work for Wikidot Inc. as a programmer and designer. And from now on I will also write on to keep you up to date with development status and to share ideas of improvements that the development team has.

With the addition of data forms Wikidot becomes one of the most interesting wiki platfarms (platform + farm) on Earth. Using ListPages, Live Templates and Data Forms we allow (almost) regular folks to create applications like CMS1 for their co-workers, clients or friends. Things usually done by programmers are now available to regular users without need to find proper hosting, choose a web framework or write a line of "proper" computer code.

What I find most interesting in building applications on Wikidot is that the platform itself is quite bullet-proof. I mean when you forget to put a semi-colon at the end of a line, you don't get your application crashing because of a syntax error2. Moreover when making an application with Wikidot you get storage with history and e-mail notifications about changes for free, which makes your data safe. In case someone attempts to destroy your site you are informed about this by e-mail so you can just revert back to the right version.

But Wikidot applications are not the most important thing Wikidot is used for. Many sites on Wikidot are just plain wiki sites with links to store and share knowledge within certain groups. They don't use advanced features like modules, includes, templates. They usually just edit and save :-) from time to time uploading some file or image. What we want to do is to review all common operations people do most often and (really really) simplify them. Sophisticated applications are worth nothing if basic usage of service is not easy.

We want to simplify doing things people need like embedding HTML mentioned at the beginning of this post. Instead of creating a hidden code block and embedding it as a frame, choosing proper height, deleting borders, etc…, it should be as easy as this:

<h1>Custom HTML</h1>
<p>Something else</p>
<img src="anything.png" alt="hello ;-)"/>

This code will just inject the HTML (including JavaScript) into the page in that place. Making this as simple as this and keeping this safe for your site, means quite a lot work — in fact, we need this content in a separate frame, that auto-resizes to keep the content fitting inside.

The original idea of the [[html]] tag comes from James Kanjo (Iframe module design proposal). Then it was fine tuned on the projects forum by the Wikidot Community.

We have a bunch of other fresh ideas, which we'll be sharing on in the future.

EDIT: As we've been experimenting with this feature in our free time during last weekend, we've been able, to implement this really quickly. I mean, yes, it's live :-).

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