Wiki musings: subsuming the weblog metaphor
The weblog entries all share the same base name, with some kind of numerical ID attached to distinguish each entry. This is how the PhpWiki blog plugin works (essentially – the entries are saved as “subpages” there; the principle remains the same, though). Such a weblog is a microcosmos, separate from the rest of the wiki.
A metadata flag indicates whether a page is part of the weblog. Some provision to display these pages as a weblog is necessary. A Kwiki blog works this way. This is more elegant; entries are given titles according to their content and seemlessly fit into the wiki.
Neither approach is satisfactory, however. Both require a custom weblog script or plugin to collect the text from the entry pages into a single weblog view. After more thinking on the topic than should have been necessary it occurred to me that the wiki metaphor already offers tools for the issues involved.
There are two of them:
- Marking a page as an entry in a weblog: we already have a grouping mechanism that is more generic in nature than just “weblog or non-weblog” – categories.
- A chronological view of all entries on a single page: all wikis already have one! It’s called RecentChanges.
Putting these conclusions together leads to a trivial concept for the solution: simply beef up the RecentChanges view to be able to filter the page list by category membership and to display not only links to changed pages, but also the text of each change (or maybe an abstract thereof). Voilà, you have a weblog (or five) in a wiki.
The more I roll this around in my head, the more right it feels.
You could extend the concept easily – let your imagination run wild. As is in the nature of generic solutions, retrofitting these abilities to RecentChanges opens up interesting new possibilities that go beyond merely running a weblog in a wiki.