What to do- XML or Wiki?


Last week, I asked you whether you’re Fed up of using Wiki?, I got some feedback, on the blog, as well as in some mailing lists.

Recently, Aristides Villarreal Bravo and I, had a chat about this, and he said he would blog about it on his Spanish blog, for feedback. He actually did, yet no one gave any feedback on his blog.

Anyways, moving on, I would like to share with you what I researched during last week. I came across Wiki Creole as I had told earlier. It provides a standardized XML Schema and XSL files, for transforming XML to HTML and Creole’s Wiki Markup. Nice, isn’t it?

So, we thought if we use XML for writing wiki pages in NetBeans, and when the user applies the XSLT through some UI, it would generate Wiki for you, for the engine you choose.

Wow, that means I write Wiki’s being Independent of Wiki Engines!

Then, another thought came to our mind, whether users would be wiling to write pages in XML format. They may OR may not do. So, we thought, why not simulate functionality of Microsoft Front Page, where you can view Normal, HTML and Preview of same document, by selecting respective Tabs. Its like having a Multiview Editor in NetBeans, as we have for Visual Web JSF files.

Would you like to work on a Visual Designer?

Oh, so you’re already visualizing it, good keep it up. However, we felt that if we let you use the designer, that would affect collaboration in some sense over the Web.


Suppose, I have to create a Wiki for Wikipedia, and I use designer for creating the document on desktop, independent of internet connectivity. Then, I would choose the XSL for desired Wiki engine, and then apply XSLT to the XML formed in sync with the Designer, to form Wiki markup enabled content.

So, you would then copy, and paste it into the online editor, when you want to, and publish the page.

Now, what?

Now, a person working somewhere else, had a look at the Wiki you published, as above. He feels there need to be some changes, and he makes those being online using the online editor.

Some days later, you thought of revising that Wiki, so you think you would add/remove components from locally made Wiki, and copy-paste-overwrite the content in online editor.

Watch out!!

Oh oh, someone made changes into the document, the guy actually editing the wiki markup, because he understands the syntax, but what about you? You actually don’t care, understanding Wiki syntax, as you have Visual Designer to create them. This is meant for users who have never used Wiki, and are willing to use it because of the Designer.

Now, you will learn the syntax, and understand its usage, then you would be able to recognize what changes the other guy made! So, time got wasted. Now, when you can understand the syntax of Wiki engine, where you’re publishing pages. You would like to see how it would look like in Designer.


“Where there’s a will, there’s a way”- what if, user had an option in NetBeans, to transform existing Wiki’s into the Multiview Editor locally. Should sound interesting for researchers…Yes, that could be another useful feature for the project.

Any Limitations

I am afraid to share them, but there might be some limitations, doing Wiki to XML, is like doing Language Processing and then, tokenizing Markup code, then tag them as per XML Schema, which Wiki Creole devise!

We still have no idea about this, its just a thought. So, that means, if this thing happens, then we have to do it separately for every engine. Sounding very big, really big project.

Another Solution

What if, we don’t go for XML stuff, and stick to creating a generic wiki editor framework, which when implemented would provide editing support for specific Wiki engines.


Collaboration at its best, you just have to copy the existing Wiki markup content from any Wiki site, then create a new file that recognizes Wiki markup, copy the content, and you get syntax highlighting, code completion, annotations, etc. Start revising the wiki.

No need of any XML, XSLT’s and designer too!

Tell me what do you think? I am willing to learn and understand the target audience perceptions, as I work towards this project. Feel free to mail me if you don’t want your comments to be public- nvarun AT netbeans DOT org

Thank You

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6 thoughts on “What to do- XML or Wiki?

  1. It’s not so difficult to automate the transition from structured XML to unstructured wiki but much harder the other way. The bottom line question becomes, what do you really need from the XML?

  2. @ Dee,

    I felt that if we go ahead with creating XML , then user might not like editing it, instead might require Visual Designer for ease.

    So, that’s one reason, another one- XML would represent a Wiki page, so that’s the bottom line. If we create “N” no. of XML files, we would have “N” wiki pages.

    Does this answer your query?

  3. Когда нам платят за благородный поступок, его у нас отнимают.

    Translated to English- “When we pay for the noble deed, it takes us.”

  4. Pingback: WikiCreole, XML and NetBeans IDE « PrayogShala

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