I recently heard a fascinating podcast on TWiT about Ward Cunningham who is the inventor of the Wiki. He is very interesting to listen to and is an excellent role model for programmers to look to, not only for the wiki but also for coming up with extreme or agile programming.
Cunningham’s basic idea was to provide a repository for ideas and solutions that were discovered during projects. It was a way for people to post those ideas which could be useful for other projects. Like canned wisdom.
The most famous wiki is Wikipedia which I use every day. There are many detractors to the wiki idea but it is hard to argue against such success. The idea of a web application that provides a knowledge base which can be read or added to quickly and easily is an almost utopian one, if it’s done correctly. Wikipedia has been able to be as successful as it has because it is so open. Our residue of available knowledge that keeps accumulating over time is what sets us apart from being merely a hairless ape. Our progress, fraught as it is with environmental and social problems, can be measured by how open that knowledge is. If open projects like the wiki and many others on the web continue then I think our future success is that much more possible. Closed, proprietary systems do not lead us forward.
If you don’t use a wiki at work or home I encourage you to try building one. There are many free systems available that just require a little effort and some spare space on a server to set up.


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