Show Me - October 2010

Using Wikis in Online Help

Since the creation of the first wiki by Ward Cunningham back in 1994, wikis have expanded to fulfill a vital role in today's business and social environments. Programmers were the first to use wikis to quickly capture information in a form which was easily shared, updated, and accessed. Most wikis trade the expressiveness of HTML+CSS for text based markup languages which emphasize content capture over layout. The result is that anyone can start communicating through the web with little training.

Our session focuses on the many roles that wikis assume related to documentation and online help. The discussion addresses how wikis can be incorporated into help authoring to capture SME expertise, gather user feedback, and even function as a joint authoring tool. In addition to addressing wiki best practices, our discussion also highlights wiki limitations. The need for a "golden master" illustrates the need for alternate authoring tools and content versioning to ensure complete content lifecycle management. Finally, WebWorks shows you how ePublisher's online help incorporates feedback in conjunction with the WebWorks Documentation wiki.

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