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A MarkupLanguage is used to record layout information within a text: Paragraph boundaries, fonts, titles. Famous examples include HTML and LaTeX. A MarkupLanguage is not allways required, though: Email, articles on USENET and quick notes have no MarkupLanguage. Not everybody wants to learn and use a MarkupLanguage for the simple needs of daily life.

The GoodThing about wikis is the lack of a markup language: Layout information is conveyed using whitespace. Plain and simple whitespace is enough to strukture the simple text documents of daily life. Everybody can write a wiki page. The LayoutRules are very simple.

When changing the rules, one must be careful not to give this advantage away: We don't want to invent yet another markup language. If links are enclosed in square brackets, links to other web pages can be hidden, HTML tags can be included and other fancy stuff, then we might as well be using HTML pages.

Actually, the original idea by Bunce Lee incorporated the idea of writable HTML pages (see RFC 1945, D.1.1, "PUT"). These days, however, it is rarely implemented. What we see more often, is people writing HTML pages at home and uploading them via FTP to some server (such as these pages, in fact). But the process is complex, not many people do it.

A collaborative wiki is the solution to this: Everybody can read and write pages, and the markup is very simple: No MarkupLanguage.

SiteMap / AllPages / Out / / Last change: 2001-03-03