Tip of the Week #13: Where WAS that page?

3 Apr

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Author’s Note: WordPress garbled my code at the bottom of this page for the auto-generated index. It’s fixed now (April 5, 2007).

Celebrating National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day really gave me a moment to pause and reflect on the core concepts of PBwiki. Like a PBJ sandwich, PBwiki is about solid, satisfying simplicity, and sometimes, I think I forget that, looking for the filet mignon of the wiki world. Sure, it’s natural: I was originally brought on to the crew as a “Javascript Hacker.” I spend my free time doing silly things like making Tetris run in my wiki (programmed from scratch, FYI). Sometimes, the basic wiki stuff just gets lost on me.

To refocus, I’ve decided that about every other TOTW entry will be aimed primarily at hitting some foundational aspect of the PBwiki concept, which will be useful for our newer users and maybe a few veterans as well. Today, I’m gonna begin with ideas for navigating and finding pages in your wiki...

Knowing all the ways to find pages in your wiki

Your wiki has to be like your lover. No really. See, you’re not going to be at your very best, the lovin’ isn’t going to be truly sweet, until you know every single inch of that wiki. How do you find an oft-neglected page? You can’t quite remember its name, it isn’t linked to from anywhere…what do you do?

This happens more often than not. Pages get lost in the mix, especially if multiple people are working on the wiki at once (yeah, we can end the lover metaphor here). How do you find everything and keep it all organized?

  1. Use the search function. If you can think of any portion of the text, then you have a way of limiting your search for those most elusive pages. The search box appears in the upper-right hand corner of every wiki, so try it out. It’s an essential tool for any large project.
  2. AllPages. It’s a listing of all pages in the wiki and all their revisions. Those revisions are very useful, especially on a page that gets a lot of action by many users. Because of the revisions, however, AllPages is sometimes a little slow to load, and it only shows a certain number of pages (20, I think) at a time. Keep reading below for an alternate solution. You can find AllPages by linking in the footer at the bottom of your wiki, or by going directly to http://MYWIKI.pbworks.com/AllPages where MYWIKI is the name of your wiki.
  3. Create and maintain Tags. In the footer of every page, on the left hand column, you have the option to add and remove tags from a page, and you can add as many tags to a page as you like. In addition to the normal subject tags, I also like to add tags for the names of all contributers and also for the status of a page if it’s unfinished. For example, I might have stub for one that’s just a title or incomplete for pages that were started but not finished. Or, if a reader wants to only view pages to which I have contributed, he can just look for the jason-nguyen tag. Also, keep everything in lowercase. If you uphold that standard, then you won’t have separate tags for Music and music, for example.
    1. You can view all tags by clicking the Tag link at the bottom of the page, or by going to http://MYWIKI.pbworks.com/tags.php , where MYWIKI is the name of your wiki. There, you’ll see a table detailing all tags and their associated pages. Really awesome!
    2. Another trick is that you can search for and thus isolate for a tag. Type http://MYWIKI.pbworks.com/tags.php?ptag=SOMETAG into your address bar, where SOMETAG is the tag that you want shown. For example, to show all pages tagged incomplete on my wiki, I would link to http://dochuyen.pbworks.com/tags.php?ptag=incomplete .

So with all those tricks, you have some good ways to keep your wiki organized. Encourage members to stick with these guidelines (I like to make an Editing Notes page where I list the most important things), and the wiki will become an even more enjoyable process.

Above, I noted that AllPages can be a little time, as it offers a little more information than you really need. What if you just want a straight list of pages? I’ve created a little script to do that for you, that will make an index like this one. Now this isn’t technically PBwiki-sanctioned, so if it breaks, then there’s not much they can do about it, but it won’t harm your wiki. Anyway, here are the steps:

http://dochuyen.pbworks.com/AutoIndexInstructions?raw=bare

Conclusion

So there you have it, three solid ways to keep track of your wiki pages. Thanks for reading, everyone, and remember, feel free to e-mail me at dochuyen84@gmail.com.

Click here to see all my past tips.

Jason Nguyen

6 Responses to “Tip of the Week #13: Where WAS that page?”

  1. Gladys April 4, 2007 at 2:40 pm #

    I loved the idea of the index (the other two are also great, but I was familiar with them! :-P!), but tried to create one for my wiki http://theoryofeducation.pbwiki.com and all I got was a blank section! 😦

    This is the code I pasted:

    (using the new editor – Plugins/HTML)

    Where have I gone wrong, I wonder?

    Thanks for the always inspiring tips!
    Gladys

  2. Gladys April 4, 2007 at 2:41 pm #

    Oh, I see you cannot see my code in the message above:

    I’ll try once again:

    Hope you can still read it after I click “submi”. Otherwise, how can I post code here?

    Gladys

  3. Jason April 4, 2007 at 6:10 pm #

    Gladys,

    It’s actually not your fault…Wordpress completely garbled my code, which I have now fixed. Thanks for letting me know!

  4. Ubaid Dhiyan April 17, 2007 at 10:39 am #

    Hi Jason,
    Is there a way to include a tag map module on the main wiki page? I don’t see an option to do that.

    cheers,
    ub.

  5. Jason April 17, 2007 at 1:57 pm #

    Ubaid,

    Do you mean something like a tag cloud that shows all of the possible tags?

  6. John Hood December 21, 2007 at 1:41 pm #

    Tags are great, in fact I use them in the sidebar. That way I can just tag a page with a category and not worry about including the new page on a landing page every time a new page is created.

    In classic editor, you just put

    [the_site_url/tags.php?ptag=tagname|labelname]

    Bango, when you click on the link in sidebar, it returns a fake “landing page” with the tag results for what you selected.

    Between that, and “Recent Changes” on the main page, and search text, it makes everything easily accessible and keeps my far-flung family in touch with each other.

    Christmas lists, links to web albums of baby pictures, family recipes, directions to someone’s house, family jokes and songs are all posted there.

    I even got my 70-year-old mom to edit!

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