Sunday, 21 December 2008

Work and study transformed by personal Wiki

I'm continuing to get acquainted with ConnectedText and marvelling at how easy it is to use and how powerful. ConnectedText is a personal Wiki. A wiki is intended for fast editing of a large set of hyperlinked pages using a simple text-based language. A personal Wiki keeps the easy language and hyperlinking, but drops the multisuer aspect. Rather than using directories and files to organise your documents, you hyperlink them using the document title as the address. They also support dynamic categories. ConnectedText is not the only product in the field as witnessed by the Personal Wiki article on Wikipedia.

It makes me annoyed with myself for not having thought about it before and having gone through all the hassle of installing and configuring Media Wiki on my laptop. Now I have to migrate everything from MediaWiki to connectedText but that isn't proving as bad as I thought: export from MediaWiki as XML and then use a quick-and-dirty Java program to use Xerces to pull out each article into a seperate file.

I've also bought Luminotes, which has to take the prize for simplicity and ease of use. I hope it will serve for people (mention no names) I know who are not as savvy with computers and have lots of information to manage.

Both of these products are excellent: ConnectedText is more powerful and sophisticated bu more difficult to learn (but not to use) and Luminotes is both easy to learn and use but is much simpler (but no categories). For personal use, MediaWiki is not much more powerful than ConnectedText (actually less so) and very complicated to install and demanding of system resources.

I'm using ConnectedText to manage my study notes for the the Open University course “S104 Discovering Science” I'm doing, but it soon spilled over into several other fields.