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Swiki Help Guide

About Swiki

Welcome to this Swiki! A Swiki is a collaborative website; anyone can edit and create pages. While that may seem dangerous, it's also amazingly powerful. We all know quite a bit about writing and talking together; we tend not to mess up one another's space, we tend not to talk trash, and we tend to try to contribute.

Swiki is implemented in Squeak, a Smalltalk with a liberal license. It was inspired by Ward Cunningham's WikiWikiWeb (Squeak + Wiki = Swiki). Swiki was created by Mark Guzdial's Collaborative Software Laboratory at Georgia Institute of Technology.

Navigating the Swiki

If you are familiar with regular web browsing, it should be fairly easy to navigate through the Swiki. The only major difference are the special features:

View this Page View this Page: Pressing this button takes you back to simply viewing the page. References (the pages that link to this page) are shown there.
Edit this Page Edit this Page: This enables the user to edit the current page. Pressing on this button brings up a form where the text and title of the page can be changed. The changes made take effect when the save button is pressed. Also, the user can enter a password that will lock the page from others editing the page. Be careful to remember that password; otherwise, only the administrator (or at least their password) will unlock that page. Plus, entering your e-mail address in the appropriate space will send you a message whenever the page is edited. Please, check below (Editing Rules) to learn more about what kind of text is allowed.
Edit this Page (locked) Edit this Page (locked): There is a lock on this page. In order to edit it, you will need either the page's assigned password or the administrator's password. With the administrator password, you can edit and save a locked page and retain the assigned password.
Attachments to this Page Attachments to this Page: With this feature, you can upload documents to the server. Attachments can be made to the page or the Swiki; page attachments can only be references from that page. To reference your attachment, insert *+myUploadedFileName+* into the page text, or chose the add a reference option when uploading and a reference will automatically be appended to the end of the page. Image (files ending in gif, jpg, jpeg, or png) references are inlined.
History of this Page History of this Page: This shows the different versions of the page through time. Since pages are editable, it sometimes is useful to look at what was previously on the page or to correct a mistake.
Home Home: Pressing this button takes you to the front page of this Swiki (the first page).
Recent Changes Recent Changes: This feature lists the pages by the last time they were edited in reverse order. This is very useful for finding what's new on the site.
Search the Swiki Search the Swiki: Using this feature, you can search for all pages that might contain certain word(s) or phrases.
Help Guide Help Guide: Pressing this button takes you back to this page.
... Guessing the URL: Occasionally, it will happen that you know the name of the page you want to go to (even approximately), but you don't know the number and you don't want to try to find your way there through searches or browsing. For these times, you might want to guess using the URL. Simply type the words you remember from the page name in concatenated form after the swiki address; you can separate words by capitalizing the first letter of each word (a la Smalltalk). The Swiki will return the first match it finds to those words. For example, mySwiki/iWantCandy might bring up a page named 'The candy I want for Halloween'. Of course, you aren't guaranteed to make a match, or you might get the wrong match; in that case, it's back to the drawing board.
... Rendering: the administrator has the ability to render the swiki into a normal web site. This is sometimes helpful when reliability and portability are important. This feature is not accessible to the normal viewer, but it can be found here. Note: rendering takes a while and uses up the resources, so it may be good to render when traffic is low.

Editing Rules

Swiki has its own simple editing rules. To link to a page, surround the page's title by *s (i.e. *My Page*); if the page does not already exist, a create button appears next to the new title; click on it to create the new page. The extensive list below documents all the editing features; these features are meant to enhance your use, but you do not need them to get started.


Plug-in tags allow you to include special features in your Swiki page. The tags and attributes are processed like HTML tags (attributes and tag names are case insensitive). The calendar plug-in embeds a calendar with dates linking to pages. The blog plug-in embeds the calendar entries into a page. The graph and vote plug-ins create graphs tabulating the votes of visitors. The rss plug-in embeds information from another site published through really simple syndication. The inline plug-in embeds the content of another page.

<?calendar?>This tag allows you to embed a calendar in your page. From there, pages can be created for any day; the calendar will mark which days have pages.
 Optional Attributes
month should be a number (1 through 12), indicating the month the calendar shows. On default, the month used is the current month.
year should be a number (for example, 2003), indicating the year the calendar shows. On default, the year used is the current year.
prefix can be any piece of text (for example, "Schedule: "). When page entries are created from the calendar, the prefix will come before the date in the page's title (for example, "Schedule: 8 June 2003").
postfix can be any piece of text (for example, " - schedule"). When page entries are created from the calendar, the postfix will come after the date in the page's title (for example, "8 June 2003 - schedule").
<?calendar month=6 year=2003 prefix="Schedule: "?>
This will produce a calendar for June, 2003. All page entries will begin with the "Schedule: " prefix (and no postfix).
<?blog?>This tag allows you to do web-logging (or blogging). You can use the <?calendar?> plug-in (above) to create page entries for specific dates. This tag will then embed the matching entries into a page.
 Optional Attributes
max indicates the maximum number of pages that should be embedded. The default value is 7 pages.
min indicates the minimum number of pages that should be embedded. The default value is 2 pages.
days indicates the maximim number of days to go back from today to look for pages to embed, given the maximum and minimum restrictions. The default value is 14 days.
prefix can be any piece of text (for example, "Schedule: "). This should match with the prefix of the <?calendar?> plug-in.
postfix can be any piece of text (for example, " - schedule"). This should match with the postfix of the <?calendar?> plug-in.
<?blog prefix="Schedule: "?>
This will produce a blog embedding dated pages, whose title matches the "Schedule: " prefix and no postfix. This blog corresponds to the <?calendar?> plug-in example (above).
<?graph?>This tag embeds a bar graph, showing the number of votes cast for particular choices. To specify which choices are listed, see the <?vote?> plug-in below (note: no graph will be shown unless there are corresponding <?vote?> tags somewhere on the site).
 Required Attribute
name is a piece of text that specifies the name of the graph.
<?graph name="The Muffin Joke"?>
This will create a bar graph, displaying the number of votes cast for particular choices for the "The Muffin Joke" graph.
<?vote?>This tag allows you to embed a button that allows visitors to that page to place a vote for a certain graph; this vote will be reflected in the corresponding graph (see <?graph?> above).
 Required Attributes
A vote tag can either have a value attribute or both a to and a from attribute. In either case, the vote tag needs a graph attribute.
graph is a piece of text that specifies the graph to which the vote is registered.
value is a piece of text that specifies the value of the vote. If this is specified (instead of to and from), the tag will be transformed into a simple button that will transmit a vote for this value.
from and to specifies a numerical range for the vote. If this is specified (instead of value), the tag will be transformed into a drop-down box and a submit button, which the visitor can use to submit a numerical vote.
 Optional Attributes
label is a piece of text that is used to change the label of the button.
page indicates the page number that the voter should be directed to after submitting their vote.
<?vote graph="The Muffin Joke" value="Funny" label="The Joke was Funny"?>
This will create a button, labeled "The Joke was Funny." When the button is pressed, a vote for "Funny" will be added to the "The Muffin Joke" graph.
<?vote graph="The Muffin Joke" from=5 to=1 label="stars" page=4?>
This will create a drop down list from 5 (at the top) to 1 (at the bottom) and a submit button, labeled "stars." When the submit button is pressed, a vote will be added to the "The Muffin Joke" graph. After submitting the vote, the voter will be transferred to page 4 (/myswiki/4).
<?rss?>This tag allows you to embed an RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed in your page.
 Required Attribute
src is the URL of the RSS feed.
 Optional Attributes
max indicates the maximum number of entries that should be listed. By default, all entries in the feed will be listed.
expire indicates in how many hours a cached version of the RSS feed will expire. By default, it will expire in 12 hours.
<?rss src="" expires=1 max=5?>
This will embed a table with 5 entries from the Slashdot RSS feed. The cached version will be replaced every hour.
<?inline?>This tag allows you to embed the content of another page in your page.
 Required Attribute
page is the id number of the page to be embedded.
<?inline page=5?>
This will embed the contents of page 5 into the page.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I create a new page?

Go to the page which you want to link it from. Edit that page. In the text put *My New Page Name*. When you save the page, a create link shows up next to My New Page. Click on that and the new page is created. In this way, you haven't just created a page, you've also created a link to it so others can find it.

How can I delete a file I've uploaded?

The simple answer is you can't. But, you can upload a file with the same name and that file will be referenced in its place. If it is really necessary to delete the uploaded file, contact your system administrator.

What is an Edit Conflict and what should I do when I get that?

An edit conflict is what happens when the server thinks someone else has saved the page before you. Thus, if you continued your save, you would delete their contributions. You are given both your version and the last saved one and asked to integrate the two. A real edit conflict happens rarely; however, some browsers (mainly MSIE) have problems with cacheing when you hit the browser's back button. If this is the case, just press the save button when you get the conflict. The best way to avoid this is not to hit the back button to re-edit a page.

I accidentally messed up a page. How can I fix it?

Every version of the page is saved. Go to the damaged page. Click on the history button. Find the last version of the page that was okay. Now, open up another window for editing the page and move the old content to there. Save.

Why won't my image file show up in my page?

There could be several reasons for this. First, you need to save your image as either a GIF, JPEG, or PNG; other image formats (BMPs, PDFs, picts, etc.) are not handled by most browsers. Secondly, the file has to have the correct extension ('.gif', '.jpeg', '.jpg', or '.png') or the server will not recognize it as an image; it is not possible to simply change the file format by adding a different extension.

How do I color my text?

You can use any HTML you want. A common way to add color is to use the FONT tag. For instance, you can make your text green by doing <font color="green">green text</font>.

How do I center things?

If you put what you want centered inbetween <p align=center> and </p>, it will be centered.

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