Wikibooks:Reading room/Assistance

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Welcome to the Assistance reading room where Wikibookians help each other solve problems encountered while contributing to books or otherwise taking part in the Wikibooks community.

Name of the wiki language.[edit]

Hello again,

Is there a name for the language of the pages we edit to create the pages normally seen? It is similar to HTML. <pre> invokes unprocessed format as in HTML. But the syntax for tables is different from HTML. If no name exists, I'd think wikish or wikiish. Thanks, PeterEasthope (discusscontribs) 05:32, 21 April 2017 (UTC)

Within Wikibooks (as well as in other Wikimedia projects) it is often called "Wikitext" (cf. the Editing Wikitext book). Outside of Wikimedia projects it is usually called "MediaWiki markup", in reference to the MediaWiki software which powers these wikis. (Calling it just "Wikitext" in an outside context would be confusing, given all the other wiki systems with their own languages that exist.) --Duplode (discusscontribs) 06:38, 21 April 2017 (UTC)
Please see also the page wikicode. JackPotte (discusscontribs) 07:55, 21 April 2017 (UTC)
Thanks Duplode and Jack for the thorough explanations, ... PeterEasthope (discusscontribs) 12:51, 21 April 2017 (UTC)


Hello again, I don't understand indentation and this example illustrates.

Appears that each tab character is converted to blanks but what is the recipe? Why do more tabs produce less indentation on some lines? Thanks, ... PeterEasthope (discusscontribs) 01:32, 24 April 2017 (UTC)

@PeterEasthope: I would recommend avoiding tabs in wiki markup. The mechanism provided for indentation in wiki markup uses printable ascii characters at the beginning of the markup line; colon for a unit of indentation, * for an indented item with a bullet, # for an indented item with a number. I recommend against ever starting a line with a blank, as it causes the line to be typeset weirdly (using fixed-width, aka "typewriter", font).

Btw, for a link to a page, use wiki markup: double square brackets with the name of the page inside, in this case

which produces
--Pi zero (discusscontribs) 03:10, 24 April 2017 (UTC)
Thanks. Will aim to use colons.
"... recommend against ever starting a line with a blank, as it causes the line to be typeset weirdly (using fixed-width, aka "typewriter", font)."
In the first table, has "Start each line with a space. Text is preformatted and markups can be done." That's what I need. <span> ... </span> allows styling with color, bold, italic and etc. As you suggest, the typwriter style is unwanted. If <pre> ... </pre> is used, rather than beginning each line with " ", markup in the span is ignored. Then how can styles be varied without reformatting?
Is an EBNF specification of MediaWiki markup available?
Thanks again, ... PeterEasthope (discusscontribs) 16:11, 24 April 2017 (UTC)

Italics and boldface are wicked easy in wiki markup (heh; can you tell I grew up near Boston?). Two single quotes start or stop italics, three start or stop boldface, five toggle both. For color, use {{color}}. We don't use explicit html if we can possibly avoid it.

The closest thing I see, off hand, to a guide to wiki markup is w:Help:Wiki markup, but I'm rather disappointed by it; it seems to make wiki markup sound enormously more difficult than it is. Wiki markup is, when you get down to it, the reason the wikis succeeded and continue to succeed, an extraordinarily easy-for-humans markup language (I could say more, but, trying not to turn this into an essay...) — and the Foundation has managed to hypnotize itself collectively into making massive investments in undermining and avoiding wiki markup. More than ten years ago, my sources tell me, the WMF was told (I'm simplifying) that for the long-term expansion of the wikimedian movement they needed to formally define precisely how wiki markup works, so that computers could freely use the output of the human-driven wikis. That could have worked magnificently but, alas, whatever people/forces/whatever drove the technical decisions of the Foundation failed to grok the key role of wiki markup, with the result that the Foundation's efforts over its existence have damaged both the sisterhood and Foundation-community relations.

So here we are. --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 23:16, 24 April 2017 (UTC)

The best way I know to specify a formal language is by a table comprising two columns. The left column contains syntax in EBNF. The right contains semantic notes.
Now I have markup for indentation, color, bold and italics. What about preserving extant format? An alternative to <pre> ... </pre>? Thanks, ... PeterEasthope (discusscontribs) 21:46, 25 April 2017 (UTC)
Hm. Actually, now that you mention it, I don't recall any other way to do that. --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 03:58, 26 April 2017 (UTC)
I found a way of handling format, not requiring <pre> or anything similar. Another small problem solved, thanks. I also want to understand better how indentation works on the HTML side. The page is peppered with <dl> tags which must represent the indentation. How? Is there a related style definition? If so, where? Thanks again, PeterEasthope (discusscontribs) 19:28, 2 May 2017 (UTC)
@PeterEasthope: If you're looking for CSS, there's some at MediaWiki:Common.css. --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 20:12, 2 May 2017 (UTC)

Introduction to Computer Information Systems[edit]

I just wanted to let the community know that I have a class coming to Wikibooks to work on Introduction to Computer Information Systems for the next five weeks. If you find any issues with their efforts, please let me know and I can work with them during class to address any concerns. Thanks! -- Dave Braunschweig (discusscontribs) 02:41, 26 May 2017 (UTC)

Good news. JackPotte (discusscontribs) 07:47, 26 May 2017 (UTC)