About page hierarchy
Everything we've discussed so far are essentially the features of the original wiki: Ward Cunningham's WikiWikiWeb. With embellishments, of course. Now, we'll look at a Zwiki innovation: page hierarchy. This allows you to structure your wiki like an outline, with parent topics and subtopics. (You'll see the term "wiki outline" used in some of the docs.)
Zwiki's page hierarchy is especially useful for organizing large and complex wikis with many pages. However, you can safely ignore it if you don't need it yet (some sites may even hide it completely) - in that case, feel free to skip ahead to mail.
Hierarchy is maintained (semi) automatically
When you create a page, Zwiki remembers that it is a subtopic (child) of the page from which you created it (the parent). You can see the resulting hierarchy at any time by clicking the contents link or by pressing the c access key . The hierarchy "heals" itself when a page is deleted or renamed.
Zwiki page hierarchy does not affect urls, and linking from one page to another works as always, by simply writing the page name. We don't believe in the complicated namespaces & linking semantics later introduced by other wiki engines.
As well as the wiki contents view, hierarchy also shows up in these places:
- page heading - as we saw earlier, a page's parents - all the way to the top - are displayed above the page title. In a well organized wiki, this provides good orientation.
- subtopics - if a page has subtopics, they are linked automatically below the main page content. (Some wikis disable this.)
- related pages - when you click on the page title to see backlinks, parent and child pages are also listed.
- navigation links/access keys - next, previous and up navigation links are not visible by default, but you can always use the corresponding n, p, and u AccessKeys. You can step through the whole wiki this way.
Rearranging the hierarchy - reparenting
You adjust the hierarchy by moving a page under a new parent page - or several parents.
Method 1, backlinks form
- Click the page title to go to the backlinks form
- Check the desired checkbox(es); or clear them all and enter the new parent's name in the text field. A partial name is ok.
- Click the reparent button
Method 2, page management form
- Make sure you have configured a username in options and are in full mode
- Enter the name of the new parent page in the page management form at the bottom. A partial name is ok.
- Click the reparent button, or just press enter.
Note all of the page's children will move along with it. Leave the parent blank to move a page to the top level.
You can also adjust the ordering of subtopics, by clicking the ^ buttons on the backlinks form.
Tips for hierarchical wikis
You'll notice that the (automatic) subtopics links may duplicate links that have been entered (manually) in the page text. It may be best to use one or the other but not both, to avoid clutter. Manual links give you more control over formatting and descriptive text, and they appear as backlinks. But automatic subtopic links stay current as the hierarchy is rearranged, which saves much work (and they allow page renames to go faster).
- http://wiki.zope.org/zope2 is a wiki which has used page hierarchy and automatic subtopics links from the beginning.
- http://wiki.zope.org/zope3 used explicit links from the beginning and so automatic subtopics links have been turned off.
Don't forget you can control subtopic visibility by creatively arranging your hierarchy. For example, a wiki's front page often has a lot of subtopics. If you don't want to see those links there, reparent the immediate children to the top level.
- how Zwiki manages page hierarchy
- how to rearrange it
- how to use it to your advantage for navigation and information management.
Until this point, we have been focussed on browsing and editing through the web. Now let's make a sharp turn into Zwiki's rich notification and discussion features - yes, it's more mail.