Wiki-explained

This page explaines my "technical" view of a wiki on wikidot.

What is a Wiki on Wikidot?

Let me explain:

a "Wiki" on Wikidot is a collection of files under a special directory - the "Wiki"-Name (also called "site-name") on the Url - the internet address in the address-bar.

Under this name the hosting company (wikidot.com) stores all the information which are needed to answer the internet - calls for some given & entered links for this site & Wiki.

If a "Link" to such a wiki/site- "page" is keyed in the adress-bar or clicked on a link directing to such internet-"adress" following happens:

  • the "provider" - who serves the user in question of using the internet ( and every computer surfing in the inerhnet needs such a "provider") - has a big list to translate all the information "before" (left of) the ".com", ".org". ".net" a.s.o. into an original "domain" IP adress . a long 3 digits number (Wikidot's IP now: 74.86.234.149 ) - which is understandable on all internet - nodes on the world.
  • With such IP-Adress the request of your browser to find this special page - given in the adress-bar is sent thruh the Web until it reached the named server in the hosting company (wikidot.com) .
  • At this moment the server recognises the sub-domain name ( the part "before" the .wikidot.com - which is the "Site"-name or "Wiki"-name - but only inside the wikidot server system! Another foreign server can nothing do with such sub-domain name!
  • If such Site/Wiki is NOT found in the wikidot-database ( a mistake by keying in the name) - the wikidot system answers with the message:
"No Site exists for this address"
The wikidot.com domain is being used by the Wikidot.com project to host Sites powered by our wiki-based technology. With Wikidot you can create new websites in minutes, publish new content, collaborate with your friends and coworkers. Visit www.wikidot.com to learn more or…
Click to create helmut-pdorf.wikidot.com now!

(this was a mistake - my correct wiki-name is helmuti-pdorf.wikidot.com)
At this point the user/visitor has to go back and type in the correct page - or create a new site!

  • If such Site/Wiki is found in the wikidot internal database than the way is clear and always the same (exceptions are here "redirects" of pages to another ones, and custom sub-domains - where "wikdiot" itself is hidden).

What are "Themes" ?

Every Wiki or Site has a given "layout" - sending the content to your screen in a special windowing or frames setup:

there are different layouts used on the wikis:

No side bar:
Top Bar
Frame
Main content
Frame







Side-bar on the left:
Top Bar
Frame
Side -
Bar

F
r
a
m
e

Main content
Frame
Side-bar on the right:
Top Bar
Frame
Main content
Frame
Side -
Bar

F
r
a
m
e

"Themes" have not onyl different frame- layout - but different "colors", "font's" - sizes, background images a.s.o. and are setup in the "site mamaner" in "Appearance".

Have a look on http://community.wikidot.com/help:theme and :
http://community.wikidot.com/howto:themes-an-idiots-guide - the best guide I ever found!
( Thanks Phil!)

A standard "Open" Wiki"

"Open" means here - there are no special read-permissions setup - all visitors can read every page (except admin-pages perhaps).
Wikidot tries to find all given setups for this found wiki-site:

  • the Title of this site for the top frame block- the big Header on every page (with the link to the home page behind). This is defined in the general settings in the admin:manage page.
  • the "tagline" of this site - the big descriptio line under the header in the top frame block. This is defined in the general settings in the admin:manage page.
  • a pre-defined "theme" ( the "layout" of the wiki) for the asked page-category . The welcome page is normally named "start" and in the "default" category. such theme is searched for every category.
  • a customised "CSS" statement(s)- the internet "cascading style sheet" with changes to the default - if someone has given extra one.
  • a page (=File!) named "nav:top" - to fill the top frame block with some menu information
  • a page (=File!) named "nav:side" - to fill the "side-bar" with all given informations like menu-links, page-tags summaries, watching lists a.s.o - look at the side - bar here. But only if used in the "theme" ! there are themes without any side-bar defined.

Than wikidot system tries to find the asked "page"-content:

  • a page (=File!) equal to the right part of Url in the adress-bar - after the xyz.wikidot.com/ - a file-name which has a maximum size of 60 characters.. with the category ( if exists) before the first occurence of ":"
    • Example: here on this page the file-name and page-name is "wiki-explained" - without an extra given category - therefore using the "default" category "default:"
  • if the required "page" ( =File! I cannot enough repeat this for remembership) is found than the source code in this page is taken and rendered into to browser-readable http-codes ( if wikidot can understand the given codes and compile it..- means a wikimedia source code cannot be rendered and is left as it is.. )
  • mixing the content INSIDE the standard theme - definitions for the "page-content" on this ""Main-content" of the output.

All this technic is called "AJAX" - the acronym for Asynchroneus - JAvascript - Xml - programming ( or better compiling) of the given mix of differently stored source codes. The javascripts for most of the page option buttons are all sent with the page.

And what means "open"?

This is more a definitin - how "easy it is to join the site" - without joining with a given password or writing an applyment text to an admin - who decides if you can get membership of the site.

  • Only pressing the "join this site" button is enough to get a member of the site.
  • the permissions to write or not have nothing to do with such way to get membership!

Live Template used?

Wikidot tries for every called page to find an existing "live" template for the used "category" - which is always called "_template" - even for the default caytegory!. If such page is found than

  • the called page - content is mixed up with the live-template source - the page content is inserted at given place holders like %%content%% ( a "varable" ) or - if different content-blocks are used in "%%content{1}%%", %%content{2}%%" a.s.o.
  • if there is no place - holder variable like (%%content%%) on the used live-template found - than the content of the page ( here wiki-explained) is not inserted and therefore not shown! Only the source code inside the _template page is than used !

Private Category?

Every admin can define in the "Site manager" ( page "admin:manage" if forgotten! ) for selected categories a special "view" permission for a level of users: the complete category is "readable" only for

  • anonymous (all visitors) ( the standard if no extra permission is given)
  • registered wikidot accounts,
  • site members or
  • site admins,

And - if used - a special page named "category-xyz:_public" can be defined for the answer for unallowed people , if they have tried to read such a page.
This means - if you want to have a namespace separated for members only (like a "non-comment" forum - threads and postings only done with standard pages - without any "per page discussins allowed) - than this is a good way to do it. But be aware that some wikidot gurus can find a tricky way to read the source code anyway - if they search for it)
If you realy want to "hide" a forum or all other pages only for a special group of members than you should use the "private" Site option of wikidot:

What means "Private wiki"?

Such a wiki is only readable by the site members - and nobody else - even google and such internet spider machines cannot reach this wiki. But this needs some definitions where the admins can

  • explain to "unexpected" visitors what this site is (private) and therefore they have no chance to read more - this is normaly a page named "system:join" ( by default) and here the admins can
  • offer - if wanted - a possibility to reach some admins ( by email) or private message or
  • offer - if wanted - an applyment button to join the site - by password or by applyment - text.

As an example the "community" admins have a "parallel" forum on a "private" site - where they can discuss anything.

And what is a "Closed" Wiki?

This is not a mix between the both above (open & private) ; a closed site is a normal "open" site but where in general a distinction is made between "anonymous" or "registered" visitors and "site members" in the "permissions" (perhaps "write a new article" is allowed for (known) site members, posting in the forum for all others).
And the possibility for joining the site is given on such a "system:join" page with applyment by password , or by text written..
the other way round with the "join" button is possible here too - but than this is only a definition discussion - what is open and what closed…


standard - live "_template" used without any tricks and layout changes…