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Wiki on a stick

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Introduction to Wiki on a Stick

Wiki on a Stick (WoaS) is an Open Source web application that runs completely in your browser- you don't even need an internet connection as it is all local. It consists of a large file with xhtml, css and JavaScript all embedded into it. It contains all the functionality to create, edit and maintain a wiki of multiple cross linked pages with all the formatting options available to webpages, including custom css and embedded graphic images.

If you are looking for an easy to use, portable way of documenting your work that can be moved easily between computers this is an excellent tool, at an unbeatable price (it's totally free). Why Use WoaS? For a developer, WoaS can be used for several different tasks, but these two are the principal ones.

  1. Managing a ToDo List
  2. Building Project or Company Wisdom 

Wisdom is documenting anything relevant to the task, project or even the company.


First download Wiki on a Stick (WoaS) from Make the file read and writeable.

If it loads in read only mode then any changes made (mainly adding new pages) won't be saved and will be lost. If you can see a pencil icon in the top right of the home page then your wiki is writeable.

When you run WoaS for the first time, your browser will probably issue a security warning when you try to save the file. This is a one time request. If you copy the file and work on the copy it will also request permission once for each copy as well.

The purpose of the Wiki is to let you easily create documents and it does this through a wiki markup language, together with html tags. If you know wikicreole (see which is an attempt at having a standard for wiki markup then you'll find WoaS is very similar to that. To see all the syntax, just click the syntax link on the menu and then click the pencil in the top right. Unless you've made a change that you want to keep, click the red circular X button to cancel. Saves are done by clicking the floppy disk icon.

How to use it

Tasks in WoaS These are the tasks that you'll be doing most of

   * Create a new Wiki
   * Adding New Pages
   * Formatting Pages
   * Linking Pages
   * Protecting/Unprotecting Pages with Encryption. 

Create a New Wiki File

From Windows Explorer, make a copy of the file and rename it to something like blankwiki.htm. This will be your master blank wiki from now on but first you have to remove the existing text etc from it. Open the file in your browser and click the word Advanced on the left hand menu, it's under the word Special and near the bottom.

Under the Maintenance section on the page you'll see Erase Wiki. Before you click this, check that this is a copy of a Wiki and not your masterpiece that you have worked on for many months. It will require two confirmations, so if you click ok twice and lose all your work, you'll know who to blame!

If/When new versions of WoaS come along, I suggest you repeat this process and have an up-to-date master.

It's possible to import older WoaS wikis in so if there is a killer new feature that you want, it's easy to upgrade.

You now have a blank wiki file that you can copy. Even though it is no longer on the main menu, the Special::Advanced page still exists and you can access it directly by clicking the grey spanner and screwdriver icon. Or you can edit any page and just add it as a link to that page.

Adding New Pages

The easiest way is to click the Special::New Page on the left menu. This gives you the option of adding a link to the page in the main menu. But you can add links to non existent pages at any time when editing a page. Just add the link like this inside two nested square brackets

   C Code 

and save the page. Now click on this link which will appear in red. It will ask if you want to create the page then jump straight into editing it.

Formatting Pages

Laying out text is vital and you can use bold, italic, underline, different header sizes, tables, rulers, and lots more. Rather than list everything here, just load up the original wiki, click the syntax link and then edit the page to see all the syntax. Other things worth checking are sub menus which appear on certain pages if you use the namespace feature. Click the features link to see more about these.

Linking Pages

A link is put inside two nested square brackets.

   like this 

That link will show red if the page doesn't exist. Just click it and you'll get the option of having it created. For external links put the url in the double square brackets.


You can also add extra text to appear instead of the url in the document, after a pipe | character. eg

   [[|About C,C++ and C#]]

shows About C, C++ and C# as a clickable link that opens in a new window.


Pages in Special:: namespace

   * Special::About
   * Special::Advanced
   * Special::Bootscript
   * Special::Embed
   * Special::Import
   * Special::Lock
   * Special::Options
   * Special::Search
   * Special::Security

Protecting and Unprotecting Pages

Any editable page showing an open padlock can be encrypted. Click it then enter a password to encrypt the page using the AES encryption algorithm and is secure enough that if you lose your password, you will lose your text. You have to enter the password into both boxes and click the button. It takes a few seconds to encrypt as JavaScript is not the fastest code. Final Notes You now know enough to start using WoaS. There is a lot more in this for instance, you can include code using the no wiki syntax {{{ }}} and include pages within pages. Because it's in JavaScript you can view the source code in the browser and see how things are done. It's a bit of an odd concept having a file that modifies itself but is excellently done and quite elegant.

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