Thursday, March 30, 2006

[AoyW] Pocket Wikis in Sync

The wiki is the app at the heart of the Always-On-You Web. Personal and shared webs obviously have to allow edit-in-place; what's the point of publishing read-only content to yourself? :-)

But the wiki as represented by Wikipedia isn't nearly flexible enough for the always-on-you web. For one, it shouldn't limit the content to rich text plus bitmaps (i.e. HTML). And it cannot corral the content in a single wiki instance. Always-on-you wikis that run directly from a flash drive, or live on your laptop, (see TiddlyWiki & PmWiki) won't be directly accessible to your collaborators; they need their own copy of the data in their own instance of the wiki. And that calls for a synchronization mechanism. A wiki-sync.

There are two ubiquitous sync systems, which everyone uses constantly... and I bet you can't name them. They are email and instant messaging. Huh? Yes, the number one way that documents are sync'ed by co-authors is via email attachments. This method imparts no implicit context for the object in question; discerning its meaning is left to the humans. But it works well enough, apparently. IM is simpler still, relaying a text block to some number of online participants, in near-real-time.

These simple, common mechanisms are the right stuff for sync'ing shared, locally-sited wikis. When a change recipient is online, they get the update instantly; otherwise the change is stored and forwarded when they're next online. The only thing to add is a tag that uniquely identifies the object that changed, so incoming updates can be processed behind the scenes.

My firm is designing an open sync service that will allow members to keep multiple instances of a data object in sync across the net. It's not just for wikis, any app could use it; it's not just for portable apps, hosted apps could use it. We'd love to get feedback from wiki warlocks and mashup masters about it, so drop me a line or leave a comment if interested.

11 Comments:

At Monday, April 03, 2006 7:57:00 AM, Anonymous Bill Seitz said...

Obviously the issue with something like this is the manual process of resolving change conflicts (e.g. you're trying to merge your offline changes back into the master wiki, but someone else has made a change to a page that you changed offline (since you took your copy)).

If both sets of changes were minor, you could probably get away with just automatically merging them. But there's definitely a risk of context-jamming...

 
At Monday, April 03, 2006 1:44:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, arrived here from the airwx site, after reading about it in wikipedia.

this sync stuff sound very interesting! :)

 
At Monday, May 08, 2006 4:43:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a related note, a sync mechanism would be great for any kind of personal wiki like a GTD wiki that is primarily very local to the primary user, but has a globally accessable secondary located at some hosted service. An example would be a wiki onboard something like USB flash drive or on a true personal server, such as the BlackDog. Being able to stuff ToDo and calendar information into the portable master is great when going offline, then syncing back up when reconnected later.

It can be argued that the global secondary may only need to be read only, or limited write, to prevent change merge conflicts.

 
At Friday, May 12, 2006 11:27:00 AM, Blogger phil jones said...

I was thinking of CVS / subversion.

But ideally I think it should be like the page-history in wiki itself. Each synchronization should be stored, so you can revert to any previous synchronization state.

 
At Friday, August 04, 2006 6:08:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love the idea of a personal / portable wiki - not for collaboration purposes but because I like the mechanisms of a wiki for a personal knowledge base.

I have put one on my daughter's laptop for her - its portable in the sense that its on HER laptop which goes where she does... but its not portable in the sense that she can readily take it off the laptop and carry it around or use it on another computer. Obviously a web based wiki would permit that - but we are still not always on line all the time...

 
At Saturday, February 24, 2007 7:13:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi.

first of all thanks for your time.

I'm trying to use a mediawiki local installation (localhost/wiki) to collect data offline
and a main 'home-base' mediawiki installation online.

how can I synchronize the local installation with the online one?

in other words: how can I synchronize two separate mediawiki installations?

I managed to get the drift it is somehow done via subversion. is this right? (if it is how may it be done? )

if can you please point me in the right direction I would be more than greatful

thank you very much

Paul

 
At Saturday, February 24, 2007 7:14:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi.

first of all thanks for your time.

I'm trying to use a mediawiki local installation (localhost/wiki) to collect data offline
and a main 'home-base' mediawiki installation online.

how can I synchronize the local installation with the online one?

in other words: how can I synchronize two separate mediawiki installations?

I managed to get the drift it is somehow done via subversion. is this right? (if it is how may it be done? )

if can you please point me in the right direction I would be more than greatful

thank you very much

Paul

 
At Saturday, February 24, 2007 7:16:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

O and Paul's email
:)
Paulbarris@yahoo.com

 
At Wednesday, June 02, 2010 1:30:00 AM, Blogger Hadyan Mardhi Fadlillah said...

Nice Info, I like your blog.

keep update !!

visit this site: http://career.gunadarma.ac.id

 
At Thursday, June 24, 2010 9:59:00 PM, Anonymous coronary heart disease said...

Hi this is like a html in the web i want to find out more about the pocket wikis in sync system i want to know it this sync system will support various data transfering services ?

 
At Monday, August 29, 2011 4:08:00 PM, Anonymous pharmacy said...

a good wiki is the heart of a good site your completely right!

 

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