The content of this blog is my personal opinion only. Although I am an employee - currently of Nvidia, in the past of other companies such as Iagination Technologies, MIPS, Intellectual Ventures, Intel, AMD, Motorola, and Gould - I reveal this only so that the reader may account for any possible bias I may have towards my employer's products. The statements I make here in no way represent my employer's position, nor am I authorized to speak on behalf of my employer. In fact, this posting may not even represent my personal opinion, since occasionally I play devil's advocate.

See http://docs.google.com/View?id=dcxddbtr_23cg5thdfj for photo credits.

Monday, October 18, 2010

WebDAV for my wiki?

I want to have drawings, etc., for my http://comp-arch.net wiki.

But I have thrashed on how to get them. I've tried too many different drawing tools for wiki - all have weaknesses.

I am now leaning towards WebDAV. Indeed, I am leaning towards rebuilding my wiki around WebDAV.

WebDAV basically is a filesystem implemented across web protocols.. If you are lucky enough, your favorite drawing program knows how to access a file stored on WebDAV. Or, you may have a tool that allows you to mount WebDAV as a filesystem on Windows or Linux or whatever, allowing almost any tools to access it.

The problem with WebDAV is that it IS a filesystem Just exporting a filesystem across the web is not very interesting. Listings of files in whatever tools you want - PowerPoint, Visio, Inkscape, etc.

But, I think if I write my own WebDAV server, combined with a wiki, it can be better than this. When a file is stored to WebDAV, I can arrange to convert it (if I understand its format) into a format that can be directly viewed by most, if not all, web browsers. E.g. GIF, although I am more hopeful about a vector forma like SVG. Plus, I can provide a link to the original format, .PPT or .VIS or whatever.

Not just for drawings.

Wiki text might be edited by a wiki editor, or potentially accessed by WebDAV and edited in your favorite text editor. My favorite would be EMACS. In org mode?

Heck, Word and PowerPoint and PDF and PS coud be uploaded. Although I prefer not. Viewed in the browser, if known how.


I was planning on a WebDAV server with git or hg or bzr as the versioning backend.

All I really want from WebDAV is the ability to click on an edit link and, on your favorite OS, open whatever program is associated with that file's type.

E.g. for a .PPT open PowerPoint or OpenOffice; for a .VIS (or whatever Visio uses) open Visio (if there's any Open Source tool that understands Visio files, I want to hear about it). Ditto Inkscape. .TXT or .WIKI in Emacs or your favorite text editor.

And, similar, on saving the file, have my own hooks to translate into some other format.

I'll probably want to provide some canned, in a web page, wiki text editor. In fact, I probably want to discourage tesxt being written except in a standard wiki markup. (Although having more than one wiki markup has some attractions. E.g. because I crosspost between wki and this blog. At least I want restructured text, since I am in the habit of cross posting wiki pages and comp.arch on USEnet. RST is much more readable that standard mediawiki or twiki markup.)

And maybe even a canned, in a web page, drawing editor.

But, my motivation for WebDAV is that I haven't found a drawing editor that makes me happy. Why reinvent the wheel?

The main problem with existing drawing editors is that their drawings cannot be displayed inline in web pages. But when I realized I can set my own put-time hooks in my own WebDAV server that seems more doable.

No comments: