Wiki inspired RISC OS links site opensBy Chris Williams. Published: 21st May 2004, 05:44:56 | Permalink | Printable
Anyone can contribute and that means youA solution to the increasing problem of stagnated 'RISC OS links websites' has been suggested and implemented by drobe.co.uk reader Andy Jackson, in the form of his Nutshells project. No longer will users struggle to find that obscure piece of freeware, and when they do uncover something lost or new, they can now let everyone know about it.
Right now, there are a number of websites online that hold vast lists of links to useful webpages of RISC OS related software and hardware. While they are a valuable resource, they require a lot of effort to keep up to date and sadly some are falling behind, as Andy explained:
"Although one can argue that the need for such [link] sites has disappeared now we have access to powerful search engines, I personally like the idea of having this kind of information available in a small number of collections.
"However, all of these collections suffer from the same problem - they are each maintained by a small number of individuals, and so are always in danger of going out of date fairly rapidly. I don't want to insult any of the individuals behind these sites, indeed I'm very grateful to those same people for putting in so much effort, but I think I can suggest a better way."
Enter stage left the WikiWikiWeb concept, which is an online system that allows anyone to contribute to a website, in order to provide a constantly updating and improving stream of content. Wikipedia is an example of a very successful Wiki website and it's from this that Andy found his inspiration. If anyone can contribute to and edit a links website, then the work is shared between willing volunteers, plus errors can be corrected quickly and link descriptions clarified and updated as required.
"I wrote the original links database in the year 2000, and I'm afraid most of the information in it dates from then. However, I've now opened up the editing interface to all visitors, and so any of you can go in there and change things. There are no user account, no session, no cookies, and therefore no barriers to anybody who wants to get editing."
Now, not that we're too cynical, but the idea of allowing anyone to edit your website does sound like someone placing too much trust in the Human race. So what about the possibility of the site being abused?
"Of course, the system is potentially open to abuse, but having seen the success of other community-edited websites I doubt there is much to fear," Andy explained. "I suspect the larger issue is whether or not this thing gets used at all, which simply depends on whether the RISC OS community thinks it's worth having. If not, there's no real loss - if no-one uses it I'll just leave it up as a curiosity, and if it gets abused I'll just shut it down. But hopefully it will turn out to be useful."
Nutshells links website and its Wiki
Information for editors - want to add your own software, or product? Dying to correct that typo, or out-dated URL?
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