User:Eddiem0710/Creating a Wikibook Quick Start

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Hello and welcome to Wikibooks. Writing a book is a lot of work. There are easier environments to write in but if you want to write a book to document what you know, make it freely available, and have a lot of people help you then this is the place to be.

If you are new to Wiki then you may find this environment somewhat intimidating. Writing a book is a lot of work under any circumstance but dumping learning a new editing environment with its own peculiar syntax and policies and legal restrictions makes the task seem insurmountable. This document will ease you into this world and you will find it’s not really so hard.

There is a very good article on all the things you need to think about to create a Wikibook at

This book, however, is about the nuts and bolts. It will assume you know what your book is about, you have created an outline or have a plan but don't know anything about the Wikibooks environment and formatting syntax. It will guide you through making your first couple of pages with all the necessary syntax, enough to make you feel confident that you can write a book here. Wikibooks is a large project with much going on under the covers so there are numerous ways to do any given task. I’ll show you (usually) one way, not the only way and maybe not the best.

If you are completely new to the wiki environment then the first section is for you. If you have some background you may want to just scan it and use the rest of the doc as a pointer to there to find info you need.

Build the skeleton of the book[edit]

So lets start ...

On the far left of the Wikibooks window is a side bar with links to useful information, Most you don't need now. The ones to note now are the Main Page, Help, Using Wikibooks and Reading room.

Move to your User page[edit]

On the very top of the Wikibooks page click your user button. This should take you to your home User Page and the text window should be blank except a title with User:YourUserName. This page is yours to edit. You can put anything you want here but there are obviously some policies that should be followed. Assume you are ok if you are not doing anything obscene or violating a copyright.

The main window has a tabbed window. The first tab is Book which contains the text for this page. The second tab, Discussion, it is for discussing the content of this page with others.

Offset to the right a little are several tabs that control what you are seeing on the Book or Discussion tab. When you follow a link to a page and the page exists you will go to the Read tab for the Book page. If the page does not exist then you land with the Edit tab selected giving you an opportunity to create and edit that page. The View history tab will show all the changes made to the page by you or others.

Everything in Wikibooks is about editing a page of text and incorporating the wiki syntax to control formatting of that text. To complicate things there are several families of syntax to control the formatting, The default wiki-Markup, HTML, CSS and probably a lot more but, no worries, we are only going to cover one way for completing a task and it will be easy. You can worry about the others when your experience says you are ready.

I will make the assumption that you have not changed any Preferences. You can do that by clicking the Preferences button in the top header line of the page. Don't change anything about editing yet. We will look at those soon.

Start Edit mode[edit]

Now from your User page be sure the Book tab is selected and select the Edit tab. You will find yourself in the basic wiki editor. The editor that you get by default in Wikibooks is adequate to get the job done. Just start typing. The default control keys for highlighting, cutting options apply.

If you are a new user then this edit window should be blank except your user name. If you are not on your user page then don't edit anything because you can mess up stuff for everyone else. You do have the ability to edit nearly any page except those that have been protected by an admin. The admins can always fix it but they already have enough to do.

Add the Link To Your Book[edit]

Decide on a name of your book. That takes some thought and the articles mentioned above can help. Right now you need something unique. The easiest way to do it is to type the name in the search box at the to of the page. If you don't see your selected name in the dropdown you are good to go.

Now type the following but replace "The Name of Your Book" with the actual unique name of your book.

[[The Name of Your Book]]

Note the name of your book is wrapped by forward and backward double square brackets, i.e., "[[ ]]". This is how you make an internal link, i.e a link to within Wikibooks. This is part of what is known as Wiki-Markup.

Add the edit summary[edit]

Now scroll all the way to the bottom of the page and you will see a space to type the the reason for the edit A checkbox to indicate if this is a minor edit and a checkbox to be notified if some else changes this page. Fill this in if you want. It doesn't matter right now but if you are editing someone elses book you owe them the courtesy of explaining yourself.

Publish changes[edit]

Below this you will see several buttons for publishing/saving, previewing or cancelling your change. Select Publish changes. The page should leave the Edit tab and return to the Read tab.

Note that your page should have the text you typed but without the square brackets. The text should be red if the page name you type does not exist. If it is not red then you are linking to someone else's page. If so you should go back into edit mode and change your book name and republish.

Follow the link[edit]

If it is red we are ready to create the landing page for your book. Click on the red text.

You should find youself in edit mode of the first page of your book. The title of the page should be the unique name you selected above with a blank edit window under it.

This page is important. It will be the first page that someone coming to your book will see. Right now we will just add something that looks like a table of contents.

Add chapter links[edit]

Your book can have links to the subpages which maybe chapters. For instance, if you want chapters like:

Introduction

Cool Stuff

More Cool Stuff

Big Ending

You can't name your pages like that. Everybody has an "Introduction". If you named it like that anyone who came across the page would not know which book it belongs to. So your pages must be named "The Name of Your Book/Introduction". Making your page names like this is required by Wikibooks policy and it just makes sense. When the pages are processed for display Wikibooks adds back links to the page it is a subpage of. So if you did get linked to a random page you could follow the links back to the owning books landing page.


This is what you should type into your book page.

<center>[[The Name of Your Book/Introduction|Introduction]]

[[The Name of Your Book/Cool Stuff|Cool Stuff]]

[[The Name of Your Book/More Cool Stuff|More Cool Stuff]]

[[The Name of Your Book/Big Ending|Big Ending]]</center>

Several things to note here. First there is a blank line between each line of text. The process that displays your book ignores single carriage returns and starts a new paragraph if it finds two carriage returns in a row. If you don't put in the extra blank line the whole thing will be run together.

Second note that within the brackets the page name with the slash, "/", in it is separated from the simple name by a vertical bar,"|". The text following the vertical bar is what the reading mode will display.

Third, note that the entire block is bounded by <center></center>. More markup magic to format the text.

Finally, you may be getting suspicious about why the <center></center> and [[ ]] Are not being processed and doing the centering format and creating links. Click the Edit tab at the top of this quick start document and scroll down to to this point. Note that those lines are bounded by <nowiki> </nowiki>. More markup magic. If you want something to look exactly like you type it and not be processed by the wiki text processor then use the “nowiki” markup word.

This brings up a good point. If you can find an example of the formatting you want on another wiki page just use the Edit tab to see how it is done.

Select Publish changes.

Adding pages[edit]

Your chapter links should be there and red, indicating the page does not exist. Clicking to follow one will create the page and put you in an editor to start typing the chapter.

Type a little here and publish the page.

You should now be in the Read mode for that page. Note the title at the top of the page it should be something like "The Name of Your Book/Introduction". Right under this there should be "< The Name of Your Book". This is a back link to the parent page of this one.

And you are on your way[edit]

That is all there is to it. However, if you want to do fancy stuff like making headings, table of contents, lists, tables, styled text, etc. There is much, much more. But do not be discourage. If you know where to find information it’s not too hard.

The Wiki Language: Wiki-Markup[edit]

There are two types of text editors. The visual editors where your text appears stylized as you type it and you could select the text and tell the computer to change the selected texts style. MS Word and most word processing editors are visual editors.

The raw text editor just shows characters with no style or formatting. The style/format information is defined in a special string that bounds the real text. For instance, if you see text that looks like real text what is really there in the raw file is '''<big>real text</big>'''. Notice that the string “real text” is bounded by a special formatting string. When this page is displayed in a browser the formatting is applied. (If you don’t believe me select the Edit tab above and scroll down to here and see what is really there.)

This type of editing is called markup. The raw file for the pages displayed in your internet browser is HTML, I.e., Hyper Text Markup Language. Wikibooks uses Wiki-Markup which is a simplified HTML. Wiki-Markup files are translated into HTML to be displayed in your browser

All text documents are like that. There are no red or green or italic or bold characters. Only raw characters with accompanying formatting information. This is true even for MS Word though the formatting information there is very complex. The difference between the two types of editors is how complex the program is for interacting with the text. The visual editor just hides all the underlying details that her raw editor lets you see. (Wait a minute! Did he just say that visual editors are hiding the truth from us? Yes, I think he did. But what I see are the characters the way I expect to see them. Yes, but they are really ugly characters with extra information. So the pretty characters are just ugly characters with extra information. Yes. So when I take the ugly character and process it I get the pretty character. So really the visual editor is just doing what computers are supposed to do. Process information for us. Yes, it is really a matter of how you are comfortable working.

Wikibooks has a choice of two raw editors where you see all your formatting and a new, still in beta test, visual editor. In all cases, editing is similar. Type your text, then select the text you want to format then select the appropriate format button.

The basic editor is what you get by default. To use the second level raw editor select Preferences in the header then select Gadgets on the Preferences page. Scroll down about halfway and check the checkbox beside WikiEd then scroll al the way to the bottom and click Save to save your preferences. nothing else is required. One of the buttons in the WikiEd lets you switch back and forth between the default editor and WikiEd. User documentation for WikiEd is at w:User:Cacycle/wikEd help.

For detail of Wiki-Markup go to Using Wikibooks/Wiki-Markup

and Editing Wikitext. 

WikiEditor-advanced menu-en

w:Help:Edit toolbar

mediawiki:Help:SourceEditor/User guide

w:Help:Introduction to tables with Wiki Markup/1

The header of the editor box contains a set of icons and drop down options for adding formatting to the text. If you know the syntax then you can simply type all that these tabs will do. The B is Bolding. for all the

this text is all that would be transcluded

wikibooks:Templates Ñamespaces,categories