More than just a Wiki

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by pieterh
on 30 Jun 2009 13:34

Welcome to the new Wikidot blog. I'll be writing regularly with news and opinion about Wikidot. At the left you'll see who's Watching this blog. Click on "Watch: category", and you'll get an email each time there's a new entry.

You can actually do this on your own public sites. Edit the nav:side page, and add this code:

++ Watchers
[[module Watchers]]

Knowing who's watching your project is a big part of making it successful. Tools like the Watchers module are part of what makes Wikidot so useful. Right now, to build a successful Wikidot project you need to learn these tools. When you create a new Wikidot project, you get a blank site. This is traditionally how wikis work: a minimum structure that grows organically.

But Wikidot is more than just a wiki, and that blank site is more of a pain than a help. I've been using Wikidot every day, to build dozens of web projects, for almost three years. And while it was fun to learn Wikidot's amazing set of tools, and help design new ones, it was also a lot of trial and error.

So to help people get started faster, we've started putting together some pre-designed packages on http://packages.wikidot.com. You can copy these easily to your existing sites. There's a blog package, an issue tracker, and so on. The packages use 'templates' to ensure that all pages in a certain category have a consistent look and feel. There is even a "wiki" package, which is a bit ironic.

However, this is not enough. We want fully working template sites for new projects, that you can customize and extend, and which give you obvious things like a list of watchers in the side bar. It should take five minutes from thinking, "hey, I want to start a blog about <insert your favourite topic here>", to getting a fully working blog site.

So what are the things you find yourself adding to each of your new sites? What would you like most to see in the template sites? Do you have sites that you already use as templates (using the Clone feature, perhaps)?

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