Wiki

Most of the Centenary website is collaboratively edited using software called molawiki. Editing rights at Centenary are protected by a cascading permissions scheme. To get an initial feel for what's going on, you can view of a quick video overview of the simplest use of wiki:

see a quick videoediting an existing page

Wiki is a class of server-based software that provides a relatively quick (wiki is the Hawaiian word for quick) way for users of various skill levels to create and edit pages on a website using only their web browser and a simple short-hand mark-up style.

Wiki Syntax

A key feature of all wiki software is a plain-text "mark-up" syntax through which it is

  • reasonably easy to do easy things and
  • reasonably possible to do complicated things.

This markup is essentially a short-hand for HTML/CSS. Without understanding these technologies, you won't be able to make the best use of the system as possible, but you should still be able to use it to make basic edits to pages. The following documentation is available:

Basic Overview Documentation

Below, find 2 printable PDF documents which show examples of all of the basic conventions of wiki-syntax as it is used to make web pages. The first (for the casual user) links wiki syntax to approximate visual results. The second, for the "power" user, shows the actual HTML results that results from wiki syntax.

Specialized Documentation

Power users will benefit from learning more about:

The Thing to Remember about Wiki Syntax

Unlike the editing of print documents, the primary point of marking up text for use on a web page is not to achieve certain typographic effects and layout, though, of course, you can achieve typographic effects via the choices you make.

Instead, when you're wiki-editing a page, the key goal is often to mark pieces of content as certain types of content. For instance, a section headline (2nd level headline, <h2>) is a section headline regardless of whether it is rendered at 16px black or 28px green. Likewise, an unordered list item is a still conceptually a list item no matter if its bullet looks like ⇒ or •

But Why Should I Keep the Typographic and Layout Stuff Separate?

Because websites often undergo site-wide design make-overs that can change the look of all elements dramatically, hand-tweaking too many appearance-related details directly into the content makes a website difficult to maintain. Typographic and layout effects are better achieved through something called Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) — CSS can be applied to many pages of a site at once.

Moreover, CSS can be updated in centralized places and cast visual effects over large sections of a website without having to worry over individual pages. Since websites often contain many thousands of pages, pages that leave their looks to CSS end up being much easier to work with when its time for a big change.

That being said, working with CSS can be daunting. A good strategy is to get your basic content in place and then contact the web development office for help achieving layout or visual effect goals — just contact email.

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