Wiki To The Rescue

by November 20, 2008 09:09 PM

It's review time at work and I was caught slacking. I realized far too late that I had forgotten one of my goals and that I've not been keeping up with those little nuggets that exemplify how I have been a good little programmer. I was forced to say sorry about the goal and I'm having to drum through extremely horrible memory of a year gone by. My main goal for the next review period is to not suck so back come the next review!

A few years ago I had this strategy of keeping an Outlook post in a special folder where I kept this kind of information. I would just open this post and edit it all year long so I would be uber prepared when the reviews rolled around. Worked quite well I suppose (it's much better than nothing!), but it had one problem - it wasn't in my face constantly reminding me to think about it. As the wife would attest, I have a hard time thinking about anything other than whatever I'm currently obsessing over. Thus it wouldn't ever be as complete as it could be.

So the wheels start turning and I realize the one place that will always be in my face - my browser home page! Like all good employees, I'm pretty sure my browser gets more action than any other program on my computer. So now the only question is what my home page should point to...

My first thought is some kind of CMS. So I open up the browser (or open a new tab - it's already open of course) and start googling for inspiration. Somehow or another I find my way to Stackoverflow and specifically this question. Yes! A wiki is exactly what I need! Well, need might be a bit strong, but I think it'd work excellent and be cool at the same time.

Well, to cut a long story short, I did look into many of the choices, but ultimately settled on screwturn wiki. There were three things that bumped it to the top. First, I did like the interface and ease of use which is ultimately the most important thing. Second was that it was super easy to setup and deploy. This was probably due to the fact that it is written in .net which was the third thing I liked about it. The only thing I wish it has is a markdown editor instead of the standard wiki markup.

So then, how will this help me not feel like a slacker come next review? I uploaded the wiki engine to another subdomain on my website so I can get to it from both work and home. I then set it as my homepage in both places. On the home page of the wiki is a short list of links I hit a lot followed by a section for keeping track of my yearly review info. So now I get reminded to think about it every time I open my browser. And even better, I can edit it constantly in place.

Of course, time will tell whether or not this turns out to be a good long term solution. Hopefully my next post about the subject will be one of joy and happiness due to its success.

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