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Cocoapedia

Do you know any facts? Like what you did before getting into iOS development? Or are you possibly looking for facts? Those facts that make blog articles much more interesting?

In this case, let me introduce you to the Cocoapedia. The name should right away invoke two associations: Cocoa, as in Apple’s API we use for developing for Mac and iOS devices. -pedia as in Encyclopedia or Wikipedia. As it should be with any self-respecting Wiki I have written up the history of Cocoapedia on its article on itself.

It’s actually the second time already that we’re launching this, the first time was a complete and utter failure. I had thought that it would smart to make it invitation-only to be able to regulate quality. But this actually prevented any kind of spontaneous growth that makes sites like Wikipedia great. So I’ve abolished these restrictions, everybody can now edit Cocoapedia and they should!

Now, don’t get me wrong, Cocoapedia is not supposed to replace any blog, forum or Q&A site like StackOverflow. Also it should not become a dumb link collection.

Have you ever wondered why some topics are on Wikipedia and why some are not? In May 2008 I wanted to know and added an entry for myself, which promptly got removed again stating that it would not be relevant for addition. From which I learned that relevance is something quite subjective and not even Wikipedia’s set of rules can objectify this dilemma.

We Cocoa developers live in our own universe which has different kinds of rules than mighty Wikipedia. To give a prominent example: Aaron Hillegass is on Wikipedia, while Erica Sadun is not, even though the latter was written dozens of books. Now, unless you are a big fan of Aarons, you probably would agree that this omission is odd. Erica has done much more for us developers but apparently has not hired an experienced Wiki-Writer to add an article for her that would pass under the stern eye of the Wikipedian.

Cocoapedia offers a remedy.

Here the idea is that all facts, events, conferences, apps, components and people connected in the least with Cocoa development have a place to go down in history. Though bear in mind that it is facts that makes a Wiki great. I don’t want to read self-glorfying hymns. I DO want to read a bit of biography and – if any – factual accomplishments, preferably with a footnote that proves them.

Over time Cocoapedia has the chance to grow into a compendium that bloggers would consult to fact-check articles on specific people. There are often disparate bits of “About” spread over developers online sites, blogs, twitter streams and Facebook pages. If you want people to know who YOU are, then you need to provide them with a concise entry.

Making an entry is very easy, I made a tutorial video showing how you can quickly start a new article which you would then fill with some facts about the topic of the article. I randomly chose Gleb Dolgich from my twitter followers who did not mind me creating an entry for him.

Don’t forget that everybody is an editor, so you never truly “own” a page on Cocoapedia. We’ve already had a bit of vandalism, but that’s easy to remove by the undo function. For extreme cases it’s possible to lock pages for a while but experience on Wikipedia has shown that in digital media, where Vandalism can be easily removed, it is generally very short lived. It’s simply less work to revert an article to a good state than it is to vandalize it.

You can look at any page’s source by going to the Edit mode. You most quickly learn Wiki-Editing by copying pieces of such code to your own articles. Consider the article about yourself your first exercise. Then once you have mastered that create references and articles for items related to you. For example if you have a partner for some of your apps, then just enclose his name with double square brackets. This will make it an intra-Wiki link which allows to create a new article if you follow it.

Finally, I request of you that you pass on this information of what need Cocoapedia is trying to fill with the help of an army of contributors. See you inside!


Categories: Education

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