So the WikiSym 2006 is over and I'm back home, so let's summarize the last day here.
We spent the day in the Wiki Markup Standard workshop. There were about 20 people attending and of course ther was a lot of discussion as it is always the case with so many people and such a controversal topic. Despite the workshop's name it wasn't the aim to find a universal, ideal markup all Wikis should switch to. This discussion has been done multiple times over the last years and never resulted in anything even remotely close to a standard. Instead the suggestion was to create a minimal standard syntax, covering just the basic formattings a user might need.
To have some way to validate if the found syntax, named CREOLE, matches the ideas of the present people we first tried to find a set of principles we all could agree to. After a lot of talk and some voting we found the following four main principles:
CREOLE should be:
Collision free with existing markup
Not new, we shouldn't invent new markup
Extensible by Omission
Cover the common things people need
We then continued the discussion about the single markup elements that were decided to be the basic ones. Again much arguing took place about all kinds of things. Eg. about avoiding collisions between bold and bullet list syntax or the handling on whitespaces… The most difficult thing was to keep out implementation details out of the discussion.
We had to leave after the launchbreak because our plane went early. When we left there wasn't a finished paper yet and I'm not sure one was produced afterwards. But just before the break we had the commitment of 4 or 5 wiki developers to find a way to support CREOLE somehow in their Wiki and I will probably implement a CREOLE plugin once the syntax is decided.
More info on the efforts should be available shortly at wikicreole.org.
I'm sure I forgot many things to mention in my previous blog entries that maybe Anika will bring up in a own entry. I'm also not finished yet with reflecting all the impressions I got at WikiSym, but I'll try.
The first and most important thing is that it was a really great experience. I really enjoyed talking to so much people interested and inspired by the Wiki idea. It was great to see the faces to some of the names I already did knew and good to get to know new people and projects. What I would wish for for the next conference of this kind is to have see some more people from the non-academic world. Many coorporations do use wiki technlogy but there were very few people from real big companies. One of the great aspects was the Open Space conference technology which could be improved by just a tiny bit better planning.
As I said, I probably missed half of the things I wanted to say, so please check out what others say on the Blogosphere and make sure to check out the pictures on Flickr.