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A wiki is a page or collection of Web pages designed to enable anyone who accesses it to contribute or modify content, using a simplified markup language. Wikis are often used to create collaborative websites and to power community websites. The collaborative encyclopedia Wikipedia is one of the best-known wikis. Wikis are used in business to provide intranets and Knowledge Management systems. Ward Cunningham, developer of the first wiki software, WikiWikiWeb, originally described it as "the simplest online database that could possibly work".

"Wiki" (/wiki/) is originally a Hawaiian word for "fast". It has been suggested that "wiki" means "What I Know Is".[4] However, this is a backronym. "Wiki Wiki" is a reduplication of the same word.


Ward Cunningham, and co-author Bo Leuf, in their book The Wiki Way: Quick Collaboration on the Web described the essence of the Wiki concept as follows:

* A wiki invites all users to edit any page or to create new pages within the wiki Web site, using only a plain-vanilla Web browser without any extra add-ons.

* Wiki promotes meaningful topic associations between different pages by making page link creation almost intuitively easy and showing whether an intended target page exists or not.

* A wiki is not a carefully-crafted site for casual visitors. Instead, it seeks to involve the visitor in an ongoing process of creation and collaboration that constantly changes the Web site landscape.

A wiki enables documents to be written collaboratively, in a simple markup language using a Web browser. A single page in a wiki website is referred to as a "wiki page", while the entire collection of pages, which are usually well interconnected by hyperlinks, is "the wiki". A wiki is essentially a database for creating, browsing, and searching through information.

Editing wiki pages

Ordinarily, the structure and formatting of wiki pages are specified with a simplified markup language, sometimes known as "wikitext". For example, starting a line of text with an asterisk ("*") is often used to enter it in a bulleted list. The style and syntax of wikitexts can vary greatly among wiki implementations, some of which also allow HTML tags.

The reason for taking this approach is that HTML, with its many cryptic tags, is not very legible, making it hard to edit. Wikis therefore favour plain text editing, with fewer and simpler conventions than HTML, for indicating style and structure.


Within the text of most pages there are usually a large number of hypertext links to other pages. This form of non-linear navigation is more "native" to wiki than structured/formalized navigation schemes. That said, users can also create any number of index or table of contents pages, with hierarchical categorization or whatever form of organization they like. These may be challenging to maintain by hand, as multiple authors create and delete pages in an ad hoc manner. Wikis generally provide one or more ways to categorize or tag pages to support the maintenance of such index pages.

Linking and creating pages

Links are created using a specific syntax, the so-called "link pattern" (also see ...
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