Knowledge baseEdit

History

The Knowledge Base is a collection of useful information that I compile about topics of interest to a technical audience, particularly Mac OS X users and developers. It was originally published as a series of entries in a Movable Type-backed weblog at http://wincent.com/a/knowledge-base/ (but note that that URL may well be defunct by the time you read this; I will provide a static mirror at some point so that the content doesn’t go away forever).

I used the weblog format from November 2004 through to August 2006, but it was a poor fit for this type of information which would better be organized in a wiki. So from August 2006 through to early 2008 I maintained a new version of the Knowledge Base using a MediaWiki installation at kbase.wincent.com. During this time the Knowledge Base accumulated hundreds of pages of information.

When the wincent.com site redesign went live in April 2008 the old Knowledge Base was replaced with the custom wiki that you’re reading right now. A static mirror of the old MediaWiki content will continue to be available at http://kbase.wincent.com/old/ while requests for http://kbase.wincent.com/ will be redirected to this wiki.

In addition, the old content was exported from the MediaWiki installation via an XML dump and imported into the new wiki. The export/import was fairly straightforward and most of the content has made it through with only minor glitches or omissions, largely due to the fact that the wikitext markup used in the new wiki was designed from the beginning with a large degree of MediaWiki compatibility in mind.

As time permits I intend to clean up the old content in a couple of key areas:

  • Markup: MediaWiki sometimes needed additional markup like <br /> tags to produce the desired layout, but the <br /> tag is neither needed nor supported by the new wikitext module; this kind of markup needs to be removed (and I will probably be able to automate this to a certain degree).
  • Tags: MediaWiki used a hierarchical system of categories to organize content, but the new wiki uses "Web 2.0"-style tags. During the data import categories were automatically converted into tags but many of these will need to be "massaged" by hand because categories and tags, although similar, have slightly different semantics and don’t really map perfectly onto one another.

Naming

In the "Web 2.0" spirit the new site strives for simplification in everything. One consequence of this is that the navigation has been trimmed down (the number of links in the navigation bar reduced) and the term "Knowledge Base" has been dumped in favor of the shorter and less-pretentious "wiki".

Purpose

Here’s the original statement of purpose from the old MediaWiki installation:

Many of the articles will be of particular interest to developers although the scope of the Knowledge Base extends beyond development and even beyond Mac OS X in many cases. Basically, I try to make a point of recording here useful stuff that I may want to remember in the future. I am making it publicly available because it may be of use to others as well.

Note that the information published here is provided as a free public service without any guarantees or warranties of any kind. I hope that it may prove useful to you but you use this information at your own risk. It is not legal, medical, technical or any other kind of professional advice. See the disclaimer for more details.

This is the new wincent.com Knowledge base intended to replace the old Knowledge base at http://wincent.com/a/knowledge-base/. The old Knowledge base was powered by Movable Type which despite my efforts at organizing things using hierarchical categories was not very well suited to the task (it is, after all, weblog software). The new Knowledge base is in wiki format, a much better fit for the task at hand, and uses the same MediaWiki software that powers Wikipedia.

The plan is that eventually all content will be migrated from the old Knowledge base to the new one. For the time being the content will remain in place at the old URL and the links on the rest of the site have not yet been updated to point to this wiki.