A FedWiki page presents one or more wiki pages side by side. This arrangement is called the lineup. During interactive use of FedWiki the lineup grows rightward as you navigate the federation. But you can also compose a lineup by forming an URL that describes a purposeful arrangement of wiki pages. In Federated Wiki for teaching and learning basic composition I composed two lineups. The first compares two versions of a page on Kate Bowles’ FedWiki site. The second compares two versions of that page from two different sites: mine and Kate’s. With these two lineups I’m exploring the notion that FedWiki could be a writers’ studio in which students watch their own paragraphs evolve, and also overlay suggestions from teachers (or other students).
In that example the order of wiki pages in the lineup isn’t important. You can compare versions left-to-right or right-to-left. But here’s another example where left-to-right sequence matters:
The tables shown in these wiki pages are made by a data plugin that accumulates facts and performs calculations. FedWiki has explored a number of these data plugins. This one implements the little language that you can see in these views of the text that lives in those embedded plugins:
On the Italian Broccoli page:
5 (calories) per (garlic clove) 200 (calories) per (bunch of broccoli) SUM Italian Broccoli (calories)
On the Broccoli Fried With Sesame and Raspberry page:
100 (calories) per (tbsp sesame seed oil) 34 (calories) per (100 grams broccoli)
3 (tbsp sesame seed oil) SUM (calories) 1 (100 grams broccoli) SUM Broccoli Fried With Sesame Oil (calories)
On the Favorite Broccoli Recipes page:
Italian Broccoli (calories)
Broccoli Fried With Sesame Oil (calories)
Other plugins implement variations on this little language, and it’s surprisingly easy to create new ones. What I’m especially drawing attention to here, though, is that the lineup of wiki pages forms a left-to-right pipeline. Facts and calculations flow not only downward within a wiki page, but also rightward through a pipeline of wiki pages.
And that pipeline, as we’ve seen, can be composed of pages from one site, or of pages drawn from several sites. I could provide one set of facts, you could provide an alternative set of facts, anyone could build a pipeline that evaluates both. It’s a beautiful way to enable the collaborative production and analysis of data.