[fr] En 2001, j'ai créé ce qui était (à ma connaissance) le premier wiki qui soit à la fois conforme aux standards web, joli, et partiellement francophone. Je fais dans ce billet l'historique du wiki, des pages marquantes qu'il a hébergées (dont la page qui a donné naissance à SwissBlogs.com!), de sa mort par le spam, et de sa lente résurrection. J'ai récupéré certaines pages dans l'archive internet.
In November 2001, I discovered wikis. I decided to set one up for myself and the people I was gravitating around with: SpiroLattic. The wiki died due to spam and is now up again. Prepare for a trip down memory lane.
Back in 2001, I was all a-buzz about web standards, after the “browser push” campaign. Who remembers those times? It seems like so long ago, now. I first thought about it, translated “To Hell With Bad Browsers” and launched Pompage.net in the process, before converting my site to a tableless layout and publishing a tutorial which soon became pretty popular. As I understood very recently during an interview, I’m interested in doing what not many people are doing. I like the cutting-edge stuff. So at the time, it was web standards — because people needed evangelising and convincing that you could do great stuff with CSS, and that producing standards-compliant markup was important. Now, most people are sold on the topic, so I’ve moved on. I guess that when nobody wonders if they need a blog or not, or what blogs can do for them, I’ll have moved on to something else too.
So, anyway. That’s for the historical context. At the end of 2001, there were hardly any French-language wikis (I think I found a couple), and wikis were bland-looking and didn’t validate.
So, I downloaded PHPWiki, because it was in PHP and I knew I could hack it, dug through lines and lines of code, and finally ended up with a wiki engine which output valid HTML. Then, with the help of Stephanie Troeth, who came up with the neat background graphic and kept my bad design sense in check while I did the CSS, I came up with what was, to my knowledge, the first pretty standards-compliant wiki.
We had fun for a moment with it. It was bilingual, like CTTS. We talked about hiding one’s real name, about education. I wrote one of the first articles on what a weblog was in French on SpiroLattic: C’est quoi un weblog?. Sometime in May 2002, I started collecting all the Swiss blogs I could lay my hands upon, and that list grew and grew, to finally become SwissBlogs.
So, what happened?
Well, first, the wiki never reached critical mass, so contributions slowly dwindled away. Then, spam. Some of the pages on the wiki were very popular and became the target of ugly spambots. At some point, I got tired of cleaning up all the spam and decided to pull the site down and install another engine. Which I did. It just took time.
So, dating from today, SpiroLattic is back into existance. As transferring the pages from PHPwiki to MediaWiki proved a monstrous problem, particularly as I don’t have a working install of PHPwiki anymore, I’ve hunted through the internet archive for clean versions of some old pages that I’ve either transferred into the new wiki or just collected on a special page.
I know it won’t reach critical mass or even attract much public, but at least I have a wiki playground for whenever I need it!