Atom Wiki and the Writeable Web

At Foo Camp over the weekend, Ingy paired with Ben Trott to enable Atom posting from Kwiki to Movable Type. Their work complements the work of Autrijus Tang, who added Atom feeds and Atom posting to Kwiki using Ben’s XML::Atom perl module.
We’re following Joe Gregorio’s experiments a year ago, adding Atom support to PikiPiki, a python based wiki that’s the parent of MoinMoin.
For newcomers to the world of blog and wiki, Atom is both an API that lets you read from and write to websites from other websites, and a web content syndication format that’s intended to be more tightly standardized than RSS, to support more aspects of web content, including images and videos.
The initial impulse to do at Atom to a wiki is to enable offline editing. It’s good to be able to use desktop clients like Ecto to post to a wiki. That’s helpful if you want to compose or edit when you’re offline, and synch when you’re back online.
The second drive is publishing collaborative work. Many people want to develop content in an an open and collaborative process, and once it’s ready, to publish it to a wider audience. Atom lets you develop collaboratively in a wiki and publish out to a weblog or public website.
Things get interesting when you consider combining with other applications. Autrijus added Atom support to RT, an open source trouble ticket system. Think about posting problem log information to a wiki, to use in developing an FAQ.
Ben Hammersley brainstorms about creating a web-based proxy that will post to the community website of your choice. “I want to be able to choose multiple endpoints for a post, and publish to all of them with a single button click.”
Grant Young brainstorms about using feeds to “present issue-based portals very quickly and cheaply, drawing from news sources both within the organisations themselves, but also from external sources like local, national and international newspapers, online news sites and other topical weblogs.”
Things get even more intertwingled when you add Atom feeds into the mix. RSS syndication already lets you pull wiki updates into feed readers and search engines. In the workplace, this lets the collaborative work and expertise of the organization be available, in native context, to many more people without drowning people in a flood of email.
Services like Feedburner and QuantumArts have tools that parse RSS feeds and recombine them by date, author, category. Because an Atom entry is defined as standalone, and the elements are more tightly defined, it should be easier to splice and recombine feeds. Diego Doval’s AtomFlow is a set of Java-based command line tools to receive, store, search and then output Atom based content (Hammersley’s description, unfortunately, Diego’s site is down at this posting.
It’s fun doing R&D experimentation open source. No service level commitments, no paperwork, lots of people to try things with. When we find things that work, we can package, and polish, improve, service and support. Participate in the ecosystem, and serve customers.

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