Wiki Pattern Language

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* Article: Wiki, Pattern Language and the Federated Future. By Ward Cunningham and Michael W. Mehaffy.


"We describe the origin of wiki technology, which has become widely influential, and its relationship to the development of pattern languages in software. We show here how the relationship is deeper than previously understood. The deeper shared logic points to unrealized potential, including expanded capability for wikis – including a new generation of “federated” wiki."


"Wikis were an outgrowth of the development of what is known as “pattern languages” in software, or as they are sometimes referred to, “design patterns.” As we describe below, they were in fact developed as tools to facilitate efficient sharing and modifying of patterns. In part for this reason, the structure of wikis itself bears a relationship to the structure of patterns and pattern languages – a relationship that, as we will also discuss, offers intriguing new opportunities. This relationship, and the evolving opportunities it presents, will be a central focus of this paper.

Specifically, we will present a new approach to wiki that includes greater capacity to handle and process quantitative elements. This new approach makes greater use of the logic of pattern languages within the structure of wiki pages. It also exploits the power of “federated” open-source development, as we will explain below.

We will close by discussing the implications for wiki technology specifically, and for the collaborative growth of knowledge more broadly. We will draw attention to the need, in an age of explosive and potentially chaotic growth of information on the web, for new strategies of “curation” of knowledge toward effective future problem-solving.

We summarize the connection between pattern languages and wikis below, and then we proceed to discuss the details of that connection."

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