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federated site link syntax ? #59

andyl opened this Issue Nov 23, 2011 · 9 comments


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andyl commented Nov 23, 2011

How do you build a link to a federated site?

Is there a special link syntax I should use??

tx, Andy


WardCunningham commented Nov 23, 2011

One way is to drag the location field for one site to a new item factory (use [+] to get one) of the other. Current drop handler only works with Webkit browsers: chrome or safari.

Another way is to fork pages that already have links. This will work better when there are already many to choose from.

I've been known to edit them into database files with a text editor.


WardCunningham commented Nov 23, 2011

Soon internal links (made with [[link]] syntax) will automatically search your neighborhood of the federation. You define that neighborhood with the mechanisms mentioned in my previous comment.

ngzax commented Dec 30, 2011


Thanks for starting this... its really interesting. Just to clarify: there is currently no syntax to define an external link to a federated page so that you can see them in the "Miller columns" view, right?

I was able to drag a page from one federated wiki to another using Chrome, but all I got in the target page was the text of the initial page. It had no link knowledge of where it came from. Is that the proper behavior?



WardCunningham commented Jan 3, 2012

I expect most linking will come from following forks in the journal. However, there must be some way to introduce a new site to the federation so that this forking can get started. The current approach is as follows (coded only for chrome):

  • create a new Factory paragraph by clicking the [+] at the bottom of a page.
  • drag-and-drop the location bar contents of another federated wiki page to this Factory.

This creates a paragraph of type of FederatedWiki. I've encountered a number of issues that make it hard to understand what is going on when dealing with content from multiple sites. Some of these are known bugs. Others are as yet unresolved usability traps. I'm working through these slowly so as to arrive at the best possible solutions.

ngzax commented Jan 13, 2012

Ok, thanks, Ward. I was able to create the paragraph of type "federatedWiki" but it only displays a portion of the included page and when its clicked I a new "page" appears to the right, but it is blank.

I am really excited and looking forward to see where this project goes, thanks again!


WardCunningham commented Jan 13, 2012

Daryl -- Some of this sounds right. A type federatedWiki story item is meant to refer to a page on another site. I copy the first paragraph of that page to make a "fat" link. You can edit that text if the first paragraph doesn't make a suitable citation.

The blank page sounds wrong. When you follow the fat link the client-side javascript appeals to the origin server for help retrieving the remote wiki page. This has the origin server working as a proxy to the other server. (One advantage of this scheme is that the origin server cache that page too so you will always have it.)

Are you using the Ruby/Sinatra server? I'm not sure this proxy behavior has been implemented in the Node/Express server yet.

I'm also considering having the client-side javascript fetch the page directly from the remote server. It does this to retrieve the first paragraph when it makes the fat link citation. Such direct access is referred to as Cross-Origin Resource Sharing (CORS for short). I didn't understand CORS when I wrote the server-side proxy code to access remote pages.

You now find yourself in an area of active development where the "right way" to do something isn't always obvious. I've written up some help pages that include a sample of a working citation. See if this works for you:


ngzax commented Jan 17, 2012


Yes, I am using Sinatra. Using your example link, I now have the remote wiki linking working and it doesn't come up with a blank page.

Thanks again for the help!



WardCunningham commented Jan 19, 2012

Thanks for your patience. There is lots here that can be made much smoother.

ngzax commented Jan 22, 2012

No apologies necessary. This is an exciting project that I will be watching closely. I intend to set up a "federation" with my programming Team once it matures and stabilizes a bit more and will continue to give you feedback on my progress.

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