2011/Smallest Federated Wiki

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The Smallest Federated Wiki is an open source project led by Ward Cunningham to produce a wiki that federates using fork history, and was created & launched at the first IndieWebCamp in 2011 in Portland. The project is also sometimes called Federated Wiki or FedWiki.

Project Description

Who's leading up the project?

What is the Smallest Federated Wiki?

  • Goals: produce a wiki that federates using fork history to find each other
  • 1st Year: SFW becomes a client-side application focused on open data
  • 2nd Year: Many plugins created that explore client-side sharing
  • 3rd Year: No longer small, focus shifts to being easily installed and useful

What's its status?


Check out the sandbox, where you can try out making changes. Ward has a series of short videos demonstrating core concepts and usage.

How does it work?

Federated wiki embodies the CC-BY-SA license. It combines that with a simple JSON schema and the CORS headers that enable wiki-like sharing in the browser.

What features does it have?

What are the next things the creator(s) want to add to it?

What other related itches are there that are inspiring scratches?

At the 2014 Portland Camp I've added drag-and-drop journal merging. This has been promised since the beginning but didn't happen until camp asked for something new to be demoed in one day.


How do I install it?

 npm install -g wiki 

Session Notes

These are notes from the 2011 session about the Smallest Federated Wiki.

Notes from Amber Case

Small session held in the main room led by Ward Cunningham about a naturally emergent text posting system similar to Git, but for text. He wants to work on this tomorrow. https://github.com/WardCunningham/Smallest-Federated-Wiki

Notes from Ward

User:znmeb and I spent Sunday working on this. We spent the morning thinking in terms of Node.js but ended up coding in Sinatra after lunch.

Work continues on GitHub. The current vision is to create a network of owner operated sites by having individuals or small groups do the following:

  1. Create an instance. We recommend an EC2 Micro instance. You can expect to pay 50 cents a day. Or try DIY. This is where you will own your content.
  2. Install Federated Wiki. Create accounts for your colleagues. Start writing together as you would in any private wiki.
  3. Publish content. Register a domain name. You can expect to pay 75 cents a month. This is where you own your identity. Open your site for read. Pull content from other wikis and return your improvements through automatic pull-requests.

Your content is stored in plain text files that can be zipped up and moved wherever you like. Just enough JSON encoded metadata is kept to attribute sources and report recent changes. Exotic formats might emerge but you won't be polluted by them (or spam) unless you pull it your way.

More Notes

  • 2011 Project members: Ward Cunningham, M. Edward (Ed) Borasky
  • 2011 Goals: produce the smallest possible federated wiki


2011-06-23 at OSBridge2011 having lunch with Ward, Tantek exclaimed:

The Read Write Web is no longer sufficient. I want the Read Fork Write Merge Web. #osb11 lunch table. #diso #indieweb

See Also