Last modified on 29 April 2017, at 14:18


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The WikiWikiWeb is the world's first and longest-running wiki, focusing on People, Projects and Patterns in software development. It was originally located at -- a location that is still available, but ReadOnly due to persistent vandalism in December 2014 and January 2015. As of February 2015, it is being migrated to a Federated wiki at

The first wiki engine was developed in the Perl programming language in 1994 by Ward Cunningham, and was based on a HyperCard stack that Cunningham designed for collaboration with his former colleagues at Tektronix in Portland, Oregon. It was FoundedIn1995 under the Internet domain of Cunningham's software consultancy Cunningham & Cunningham, Incorporated (also in Portland) on March 25, 1995, as an automated add-on to its Portland Pattern Repository, a directory for publication of programming patterns which programmers sent by E-mail.

Confusingly, the original Perl-based software and the content it maintained were frequently both described as the WikiWikiWeb, especially prior to the existence of other wikis. This page refers to the Wiki and its content, rather than the software itself.

Abbreviated variants of the name WikiWikiWeb are WikiWiki and Wiki. It has also been informally called Ward's Wiki, as an homage to its creator. Cunningham named WikiWikiWeb after 'Wiki Wiki', a line of Chance RT-52 shuttle buses running between terminals at Honolulu International Airport. The name of the shuttle line is derived from the Hawaiian-language "wiki", which means "fast". The repetition wiki wiki is used to emphasize wiki, so wiki wiki could be interpreted as "faster than fast".

The original Wiki software was rarely altered, so new facilities were typically implemented by de-facto policy and manual effort, or via external Web sites. This had the benefit of allowing facilities to be flexibly added without programming. However, it required manual effort to maintain. For example, ChangesInMonth were always generated manually and maintained by a succession of individuals, most recently John Fletcher. The new Federated wiki software permits extensions via plugins, which may facilitate automating processes that were formerly manual.

The original purpose of WikiWikiWeb was to document programming patterns, especially for members of Ralph Johnson's patterns mailing list, and for people who attended the Patterns Languages of Programs Conference (PLoP) and the Conference on Object-Oriented Programming, Systems, Languages, and Applications (OOPSLA). From 1996 to 1998, discussion of extreme programming (XP) became more popular, and the first members of WikiWikiWeb, who preferred to discuss patterns, started emigrating. Some of them later complained about missing Wiki before XP.

Some former regular users of WikiWikiWeb complained that the discussion on WikiWikiWeb deteriorated since about 1999 or 2000, describing that deterioration as the heat death of Wiki. Later activity focused more on "thread mode" debates and social banter around programming topics, plus curation of the early content, than the "document mode" creation of summary pages that characterised its early Patterns and XP years.

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