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[ba-ohs-talk] NexistWiki

Now seems like a fair time to announce NexistWiki in such a manner that the 
Web site becomes subject to google and slashdot.    (01)

Visit http://www.nexist.org/wiki/    (02)

It's actually a Java WikiWiki but with tons of added features, a terrible 
user interface, and (still) lots of bugs.    (03)

To get a feel for what can be done with it, visit 
which is an emerging dissertation on Inquiry Driven Systems, of which, I 
think, NexistWiki is an instance.    (04)

A software bug prevents the author of that particular page from breaking 
the dissertation into sections on different pages, but that will soon be 
fixed.  He is using ascii characters for graphics, in advance of an applet 
I am building that gives users a sketch pad for entering graphics.    (05)

What's different between NexistWiki and other Wikis?  First, no "Edit this 
page" button.  If you sign up (go to the LogOn page), you will be given 
access to control buttons, one of which is New Entry.  That's how users add 
content to pages, and create new pages (in addition to the usual WikiWord 
method of inventing new pages).    (06)

Each entry is called an AddressableInformationResource (AIR for 
short).  Each entry has its own home page, and the ever popular 
PurpleNumber link to it.  At the home page, the originator of the AIR (and 
a super user) can edit the AIR; nobody else can edit your AIR.  Also at the 
AIR home page is a link to an IBIS discussion (thanks, Eric!) that allows 
threaded, controlled discussion about the AIR in specific. Also at that 
home page is the ability to "transclude" that AIR for inclusion as an AIR 
elsewhere (on a different page).  There's also a button that allows you to 
declare some other page to be related to that AIR.    (07)

NexistWiki presently is a graph builder with a preconfigured simple 
parent-child-sibling graph model (which may be dropped in Version 2). In 
addition, there is a Related Page control that allows you to declare other 
pages related (by a relation of your choice or creation).  Much of this was 
inspired by the program Lucid Fried Eggs (http://www.memes.net), thus the 
portal home page is called LucidHomePage, and that class of NexistWiki 
pages are titled LucidWiki.    (08)

In addition, there are several "application" Wikis: IBISWiki, where you can 
just haul off and start a discussion about whatever comes to mind, EduWiki, 
where (in theory) you can create elearning course content, DocWiki where 
you can create documents -- indeed, the entire _XML Topic Maps_ book will 
soon be imported to NexistWiki online.  There's already a home page for it 
in DocWiki.    (09)

NexistWiki supports what I call "living documents", those in which, as new 
information suggests changes to some part of the document, that part can be 
updated.  Eventually, there will be an Export button that allows the entire 
document to be exported in (probably) DocBook format ready for 
publication.  It is my intent to keep _XML Topic Maps_ up to date by that 
method, and to create the entire new book, _Advances In XML Topic Maps_ on 
NexistWiki itself.    (010)

At the same time, NexistWiki, Version 2, will be developed on NexistWiki 
itself by means of DocWiki: it is possible to have an AIR be a chunk of 
software code, and an entire page represent the Java class that holds that 
code.  Thus, the entire body of code, complete with all sorts of paragraphs 
of discussion about theory, etc, and IBIS arguments about the code itself, 
will soon begin to appear online.  A different (soon to be implemented) 
button will export the code ready to compile.  It is my intention to cause 
to be created a plugin for Eclipse (http://www.eclipse.org) such that 
Eclipse can log into NexistWiki to enable online, interactive, 
collaborative software development.  NexistWiki already provides version 
control, so, all that is needed will be "commit permission" -- the ability 
to edit an AIR, to be expanded to groups.  Of course, locking and other 
issues remain to be resolved.    (011)

When you log in as a user,  you are taken to another application Wiki, 
UserWiki, where the pages are private.  There, you can create your own 
knowledge base, even using other public pages, and your work will remain 
private.    (012)

Issues being explored with NexistWiki include:
	reusable components (AIRs can be transcluded)
	evolvability (Version 2 will bring that issue to the light of day)
	scalability (Wikis are limited more by available disk space than anything, 
but other aspects of this issue remain to be explored)
	usability (Version 1 really doesn't go there, it's just an engineering 
prototype; be kind to it)    (013)

Right now, the site doesn't do anything for child protection (it just warns 
those under 13 to not sign up -- will need to deal with such issues in 
Version 2) and is clearly subject to lots of abuse.  It is my hope that 
people will remain civil and respectful of the mission of this project and 
not turn discussions into objects I will be forced to delete from time to 
time.  Version 2 will make much stronger moves in the direction of 
authentication.    (014)

Behind the scenes, there are discussions about something I am calling 
"Nxist Group LLC" along the lines already in place with JBoss Group 
(http://www.jboss.org).  NexistWiki is an open source project (source code 
for Version 2 will eventually be available) under a BSD-like 
license.  There remains, however, the opportunity (Version 2) for people to 
add value to functionality of a NexistWiki installation by way of 
proprietary plug in agents.  It seems that there should be an enterprise 
created to manage that opportunity.    (015)

The open question I expect to hear is this: Is NexistWiki an OHS?
My answer is this: No.  It is just one of (I hope) many experiments that 
will seed the evolution of an OHS, whatever that may turn out to be.    (016)

Comments always welcome
Jack    (017)

XML Topic Maps: Creating and Using Topic Maps for the Web.
Addison-Wesley, ISBN 0-201-74960-2.    (018)