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Swiki Help Guide

About Swiki

Welcome to this Swiki! A Swiki is a collaborative website; anyone can edit and create pages. While that may seem dangerous, it's also amazingly powerful. We all know quite a bit about writing and talking together; we tend not to mess up one another's space, we tend not to talk trash, and we tend to try to contribute.

Swiki was originally implemented in Squeak, and has been ported to Smalltalk/X, both are Smalltalks with a liberal license. It was inspired by Ward Cunningham's WikiWikiWeb (Smalltalk + Wiki = Swiki). Swiki was created by Mark Guzdial's Collaborative Software Laboratory at Georgia Institute of Technology.

Navigating the Swiki

If you are familiar with regular web browsing, it should be fairly easy to navigate through the Swiki. The only major difference are the special features:

View this Page View this Page: Pressing this button takes you back to simply viewing the page. References (the pages that link to this page) are shown there.
Edit this Page Edit this Page: This enables the user to edit the current page. Pressing on this button brings up a form where the text and title of the page can be changed. The changes made take effect when the save button is pressed. Also, the user can enter a password that will lock the page from others editing the page. Be careful to remember that password; otherwise, only the administrator (or at least their password) will unlock that page. Plus, entering your e-mail address in the appropriate space will send you a message whenever the page is edited. Please, check below (Editing Rules) to learn more about what kind of text is allowed.
Edit this Page (locked) Edit this Page (locked): There is a lock on this page. In order to edit it, you will need either the page's assigned password or the administrator's password. With the administrator password, you can edit and save a locked page and retain the assigned password.
Uploads to this Page Uploads to this Page: With this feature, you can upload documents to the server. Attachments can be made to the page or the Swiki; page attachments can only be references from that page. To reference your attachment, insert *+myUploadedFileName+* into the page text, or chose the add a reference option when uploading and a reference will automatically be appended to the end of the page. Image (files ending in gif, jpg, jpeg, or png) references are inlined.
Versions of this Page Versions of this Page: This shows the different versions of the page through time. Since pages are editable, it sometimes is useful to look at what was previously on the page or to correct a mistake.
Home Home: Pressing this button takes you to the front page of this Swiki (the first page).
Recent Changes Recent Changes: This feature lists the pages by the last time they were edited in reverse order. This is very useful for finding what's new on the site.
Search Search: Using this feature, you can search for all pages that might contain certain word(s) or phrases.
Help Guide Help Guide: Pressing this button takes you back to this page.
... Guessing the URL: Occasionally, it will happen that you know the name of the page you want to go to (even approximately), but you don't know the number and you don't want to try to find your way there through searches or browsing. For these times, you might want to guess using the URL. Simply type the words you remember from the page name in concatenated form after the swiki address; you can separate words by capitalizing the first letter of each word (a la Smalltalk). The Swiki will return the first match it finds to those words. For example, mySwiki/iWantCandy might bring up a page named 'The candy I want for Halloween'. Of course, you aren't guaranteed to make a match, or you might get the wrong match; in that case, it's back to the drawing board.
... Rendering: the administrator has the ability to render the swiki into a normal web site. This is sometimes helpful when reliability and portability are important. This feature is not accessible to the normal viewer, but it can be found here. Note: rendering takes a while and uses up the resources, so it may be good to render when traffic is low.

Editing Rules

Swiki has its own simple editing rules. To link to a page, surround the page's title by *s (i.e. *My Page*); if the page does not already exist, a create button appears next to the new title; click on it to create the new page. The extensive list below documents all the editing features; these features are meant to enhance your use, but you do not need them to get started.

  • Carriage returns are preserved.
  • A line starting with !s becomes a header line. The more !s, the more important the header is. For example, !!subject will show up as <h2>subject</h2> in HTML. Up to three !s can be used.
  • A line starting with _ (underscore) becomes a horizontal line. This is often used to separate topics.
  • Using lines starting with #s and -s, creates a list.
    • A block of lines, where each line starts with - is transformed into a bulleted list, where each line is an entry.
    • A block of lines, where each line starts with # is transformed into an ordered list, where each line is an entry.
    • Lists can be nested. Thus, a line starting with #- is an element of a bulleted list that is part of an ordered list.
  • To create a table, start off the lines with | and separate the elements with |s. Each new line represents a new row of the table.
  • To create a preformatted section, begin each line with =. A preformatted section uses equally spaced text so that spacing is preserved.
  • To add an append (add to the page) area, begin a line with +. This will turn into a text area in the view mode, so users can add to the page without editing. This can be used to stop people from deleting a page's content; simply add the + line and lock the page; now, users are able to add, but not delete. Here are several options you can use with append areas (just add the character of each feature you want after the initial +):
    ^  Append area stays at the top and appends go down.
    _(underscore) Appends are separated by horizontal lines. This can be useful for being able to tell the difference between different appends.
    +Append areas are self replicating, so that an append also creates another append area. In this way, it is easy to respond to a specific append.
    @Appends are marked with a timestamp. This can make it easier to identify the dynamics of certain discussions.
    -(dash) Append areas do not show up on the page. Rather, there is just a button (add to the page here) that takes you to a separate page to add the comment. This is particularly useful in combination with self replicating appends (+ above), so that the amount of append areas does not dominate the page's content.
  • To create a link, put it between *s.
    • If the page exists in the Swiki (e.g. *Existing Page's Name*), a link to that page shows up on save.
    • In case the page does not already exist, the link shows up with a create button next to it; click on it to create the new page.
    • If the link is external (e.g. *http://minnow.cc.gatech.edu/swiki*), a link to that external page shows up.
    • If the link is an image (URL ends in '.gif', '.jpeg', '.jpg', or '.png'), the image is inlined.
    • If the link is an email address (e.g. *self@mail.me.com*), a link to mail that person shows up.
    • You can add anchors to places in the text by adding a line starting with @, such as @My Section. You can then create a link to that section using * and a @. So, *My Valid Page@My Section* will link to 'My Section' on the 'My Valid Page' page. If the section is inside the page you are linking from, you can omit the page name (e.g. *@My Section*).
    • You can also alias all these links using >. So, you can create a link like this: *My Alias>A Valid Page Name*. The link will show up as My Alias, but link to 'A Valid Page Name' page. For images, the alias text will become the alternate text for the image.
  • Use any HTML you want. Here are some useful HTML tags:
    • To make text bold, surround it by <b> and </b>.
    • To make text italicized, surround it by <i> and </i>.
    • To make text underlined, surround it by <u> and </u>.
  • You may want to import HTML from another program. To do this, simply put the HTML between <html> and </html> and the swiki formatting rules will not apply.
  • You may want to share source code (HTML, C, Java, Smalltalk, etc.) on a Swiki. To do this, simply put the source code between <code> and </code> and the swiki formatting rules will not apply.
  • To reference an uploaded file (uploaded using Uploads to this Page above), put it between *+ and +*. For example, *+myUpload.html+* will create a link to the uploaded file 'myUpload.html'. If the file is an image (ends in '.gif', '.jpeg', '.jpg', or '.png'), the image is inlined.
  • There are three characters (&, <, >) that have special meaning in HTML. Also, Swiki adds two characters (*, @) to that list. In order to have these characters show up in plain text, you will have to alias them. This is the mapping for these characters:
    &  maps to  &amp;
    <  maps to  &lt;
    >  maps to  &gt;
    *  maps to  &star;
    @  maps to  &at;
    These mapping can be used in page names too.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I create a new page?

Go to the page which you want to link it from. Edit that page. In the text put *My New Page Name*. When you save the page, a create link shows up next to My New Page. Click on that and the new page is created. In this way, you haven't just created a page, you've also created a link to it so others can find it.

How can I delete a file I've uploaded?

The simple answer is you can't. But, you can upload a file with the same name and that file will be referenced in its place. If it is really necessary to delete the uploaded file, contact your system administrator.

What is an Edit Conflict and what should I do when I get that?

An edit conflict is what happens when the server thinks someone else has saved the page before you. Thus, if you continued your save, you would delete their contributions. You are given both your version and the last saved one and asked to integrate the two. A real edit conflict happens rarely; however, some browsers (mainly MSIE) have problems with cacheing when you hit the browser's back button. If this is the case, just press the save button when you get the conflict. The best way to avoid this is not to hit the back button to re-edit a page.

I accidentally messed up a page. How can I fix it?

Every version of the page is saved. Go to the damaged page. Click on the history button. Find the last version of the page that was okay. Now, open up another window for editing the page and move the old content to there. Save.

Why won't my image file show up in my page?

There could be several reasons for this. First, you need to save your image as either a GIF, JPEG, or PNG; other image formats (BMPs, PDFs, picts, etc.) are not handled by most browsers. Secondly, the file has to have the correct extension ('.gif', '.jpeg', '.jpg', or '.png') or the server will not recognize it as an image; it is not possible to simply change the file format by adding a different extension.

How do I color my text?

You can use any HTML you want. A common way to add color is to use the FONT tag. For instance, you can make your text green by doing <font color="green">green text</font>.

How do I center things?

If you put what you want centered inbetween <p align=center> and </p>, it will be centered.

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