[pmwiki-users] Wither Creole? (pun intended)

Petko Yotov 5ko at 5ko.fr
Tue Aug 11 15:40:46 CDT 2015

On 2015-08-11 12:08, Randy Brown wrote:
> "WikiCreole 1.0 support” is still on PmWiki's roadmap. But do any
> PmWiki developers actually offer or encourage the use of Creole?

I don't use Creole and I neither encourage nor discourage the use of it. 
:-) But I would prefer people to use PmWiki markup, as it is better 
tested and known, and thus easier for me to help them.

There was never question to change PmWiki to Creole-only markups. Creole 
markups can be added to PmWiki without disabling core markups.

> I use it and I’d like to see it succeed, but if the Creole ship is
> slowly sinking, I don’t want to throw more luggage on board.

That project was started when wikis were very popular as a very easy way 
to publish for the web. Before wikis, one would have to write HTML. Wiki 
markup is much, much easier to learn than HTML and to use, and the 
automatic organization (links) and easy monitoring (recent changes) are 
great for community-driven websites.

WikiCreole questioned the choices of different existing wiki markup and 
tried to find the best compromise to unify them. This took a long time.

I am not aware of any wiki that stopped using their original markup 
rules and started using WikiCreole.

> What do you think? Does it have a future? I don’t hear much about it 
> anymore.

The question should probably be if wikis as they currently are have a 
future for novice users, see below.

> Some plusses:
> - its similarity to other wiki markup languages,
> - its use of backslashes mid-line to make a line break, and
> - its non-use of apostrophes as markup

The apostrophe key is present on my touch-screen keyboards in the 
"letters" layouts, and neither / nor * are. I feel that it is easier to:

    type 3 apostrophes then the bold text, then 3 apostrophes

than to:

   switch the layout to numbers/symbols, type two asterisks,
   then switch back the layout to letters,
   type the bold text,
   switch the layout to numbers/symbols, type two asterisks,
   then switch back the letters.

(or: switch the layout, type ****, try to position the cursor at the 
middle, switch the layout, type bold text, position the cursor at the 

> Some minuses:
> - asterisks and equal signs, like brackets, can be hard to type on a
> touchscreen device. But that’s somewhat counterbalanced by the fact
> that positioning the cursor between two apostrophes can be hard, and
> visually two of them look just like a double quote - especially to
> beginners.

This is correct, it is also sometimes difficult to correctly position 
the cursor where you want even between larger characters, especially if 
your fingers are big.

On a touch-screen device, it is also more difficult to select text and 
help yourself inserting markup with the edit toolbar, and to scroll 
within the scrollable text area when the content is larger.

> - PmWiki’s documentation is not in Creole, so that can be confusing.

If you really need this, you can write it yourself. Creole has a tiny 
tiny subset of the features possible with PmWiki, so it doesn't need 
dozens of documentation pages - probably one page will be enough. And 

> What would you do if you were starting a new wiki for novice users?
> Enable Creole? Encourage it? Discourage it?

I feel that unfortunately novice users are preoccupied with a huge 
number of other things more important than learning wiki markup. Unless 
they use it daily or at least once a week, they forget the markup rules 
and have to re-learn them.

Novice users have two publishing experiences:
- text processors on a desktop computer, where they get what they see, 
but which is terrible in a browser, cross-browser and cross-device, and 
which is terrible to store and index in a text-based CMS like PmWiki;
- SMS, and social media websites or apps, where they enter plain text 
but in very small input boxes, so again they see what they get, as only 
a tiny element of the page is updated after their action, in real time.

I've been observing for a year a large wiki community which tries to 
welcome newcomers but the wiki markup, and the editing really more 
adapted for a physical keyboard, is something that scares the users. On 
the other hand, advanced users sometimes abuse the wikimarkup, adding 
too many things like bold + big + wikistyle on a single heading, 
sometimes advanced tables for presentation, which makes the page hardly 
readable for me, and even more scary for a novice user.

I don't have a solution, but I mentioned I'm working on a structured 
page editor, not completely WYSIWYG but close enough for the most often 
used types of content. We'll see if it helps novice users in a few 


Change log     :  http://www.pmwiki.org/wiki/PmWiki/ChangeLog
Release notes  :  http://www.pmwiki.org/wiki/PmWiki/ReleaseNotes
If you upgrade :  http://www.pmwiki.org/wiki/PmWiki/Upgrades

If this message helped you and saved you time, feel free to make
a small contribution: ♥ http://5ko.fr/donate-ml (mailing list).

More information about the pmwiki-users mailing list