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Topic: Arduino Playground will be a regular website and not a wiki (Read 18649 times) previous topic - next topic


MastroLinux suggested that Arduino might set up a system similar to how the Language Reference pages now work with the content in a GitHub repository, where it can be edited by the community, then published to the Arduino website. If that is actually going to happen, then I don't think we need a 3rd party version of the Playground. However, I'm still very skeptical that will ever happen. It would be really helpful if we could get a firm official answer on whether that is something Arduino is going to commit to doing, and if so, what a realistic timeline is. It's been 1.5 years since Massimo Banzi announced that the official library reference content was moving to GitHub, but I haven't seen any work done towards that. It's hard for me to believe that the Playground project would be given higher priority (if any at all).

Probably the quickest path for starting a 3rd party Playground would be to set up the PmWiki software currently used by the Playground on a separate website:
After that, there should be some way to easily import the contents of the Playground. It might be necessary to coordinate with someone from Arduino to get access to the raw content.

Based on my experience with the Playground, I'm actually not a big fan of PmWiki. The edit history is just terrible. I'm also not crazy about the markup. It would be much better if we could use Markdown, which anyone using GitHub, Stack Exchange, etc. will already be familiar with. I suppose it's possible that PmWiki has been much improved since whatever outdated version Arduino is using, or maybe there are modifications that can be made to improve it. However, converting the content from PmWiki to some other platform is likely to be a much bigger job (though perhaps not so bad if we found some magic converter program that does an acceptable job).

The big question is how this 3rd party Playground will be hosted. If some random community member grabs a domain and hosting plan and sets this up, what guarantee do we have that the bills will continue to be paid and necessary infrastructure maintenance work will be done? This is an issue because I don't want to do a lot of work contributing to a resource that's going to disappear after a couple years. That is why Arduino is the best organization to host this resource. I believe that Arduino does benefit from community-generated documentation.

I have actually given the idea of starting a 3rd party version of the Playground quite a bit of thought since this announcement was made. Hosting it on GitHub seems like a good option. Public GitHub repositories are free so there is no concern of paying for hosting. If the owners did end up abandoning the project without passing on the torch, it's simple enough for someone to fork the repo. It is unfortunate that a GitHub account is required to contribute, but a significant number of the potential contributors already have one and it's quite easy for people who don't to set one up. I've noticed an amazing lack of spam/abuse/vandalism on GitHub. I considered a GitHub Wiki, but that feature is surprisingly very poorly done. In the end, I think a standard GitHub repository would be better. The potential issue with that option is that it MUST be actively administrated. Valid PRs must be merged quickly, otherwise people will not be motivated to make the effort to contribute. It's a shame you can't create GitHub repos that give everyone push access (as is the case with public GitHub wikis). I think the key would be for the repository to have a lot of administrators with a liberal policy about accepting PRs. The big problem is the work of transferring the Playground content to the GitHub repository. I know there are some tools that will convert the HTML output of the Playground to Markdown (perhaps pandoc). I also see there is a PmWiki "cookbook" that allows PmWiki pages to be shown as Markup output:


Being an oldTimer, I'd be looking at the Frontier (UIserLand) software I built my old websites with - they had an Edit button so users could edit any page. I don't know about security so that would be my issue, but I'm willing to tackle that when it's an issue.

Like I said, Feb 09 is my target date.
What, I need to say something else too?


An essential feature is to be able to clearly see the edit history and revert to any point in that history. The Playground does have such an edit history, but it doesn't at all do a good job of showing a "diff", which makes it very difficult to review edits to make sure they were beneficial. Wikipedia and GitHub provide a very nice diff of edits.

I also think it's very useful to be able to get notifications of edits. For a short period, the Playground did allow you to get notifications of all edits via a RSS feed. Email would probably be better for most people since I don't think RSS is very commonly used anymore (I still really like it). Wikipedia allows you to watch specific pages. GitHub allows you to watch repositories, which allows you to get an email for every pull request, issue report, or comment in those threads. You can't get emails for edits to a GitHub wiki, but you will see them for any repo you're watching in your GitHub feed.


How would you address my concern regarding long term stability of the website?

I've seen this really derail some communities. It's just not viable to have one person with complete control over a resource like that (the "bus factor"). People disappear or die without any warning.

Then you have the issue of funding. If one person is paying out of pocket, how can we be sure they'll continue to do so. If it's funded by ads or donations, what happens if they fall short? If it's a community resource and there is income in excess of requirements, what happens to that money?


Here's my thoughts:

Funding could come as voluntary contributions from users of the site. As many of us will be on fixed incomes, we would need to put some effort into fundraising. I believe we could afford this valuable resource though.

Stability - I imagine a group of curators would manage the content, while folks with technical expertise would keep it all up and running. I have no doubt that the a.cc community has the necessary brain-power to do it.

Software - My web-mastering experience is a decade or so old, so I'll need reeducated. I have served large websites using Frontier software, which seems to fit this bill exactly, however I do not know the state of that software, nor the company that made it. I've also used Apache/database with live pages, and that would also work. And of course there is Wikimedia, which would simplify construction.
What, I need to say something else too?


Jan 16, 2019, 06:02 pm Last Edit: Jan 16, 2019, 06:06 pm by terryking228
Hi Everyone,

Just found this thread...

I'm for a separate, user-supported WIKI that follows the original Playground intent.

I looked at many possibilities when I had to move/recreate https://ArduinoInfo.Info and I finally figured WikiPedia was highly likely to continue and have it's base software maintained.

It's based on MediaWiki.

I would love to have all the Playground content on ArduinoInfo.Info. I may just grab it...  

I will be happy to either have this type content contributed to ArduinoInfo.Info or I will happily pay to have a parallel MediaWiki site created, if others would work on building and maintaining it.

Let's figure out something that will work. And DO it.  

UPDATE: I just tried editing the Playground and I WAS able to do it.  Whazzup??
Regards, Terry King terry@yourduino.com  - Check great prices, devices and Arduino-related boards at http://YourDuino.com
HOW-TO: http://ArduinoInfo.Info

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