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In 1995 [Ward Cunningham] invited members of the [PatternsList] to [join him] in using a new tool, called "Wiki" in order to:

"have interested web parties write web pages about the People, Projects and Patterns that have changed the way they program"

He then offered his first pattern, [PromptingStatement] to members of the list.

His tool Wiki, since that time has inspired over a hundred variants, and has become the favorite tool among many on the internet. It is used by huge projects such as WikiPedia, by large corporations and small, and is offered commercial service providers such as SocialText, as well as free OpenSource on the internet.

Problem Summary

Ward wanted to share his ideas with others, and have them share back with each and learn from each other. To do this he needed a tool that allows for people that only know each other online to write web pages together. This tool needed to be cheap, easy to use, easy to connect to, and have a low barrier of entry for people to participate.


Before 1995 there had been a number of "groupware" packages that allowed people to collaborate, however, most were expensive, required proprietry network software to use, were typically used by corporations and thus not connected together, and in order to justify the expense, network, and connectivity had many features.

However, the internet had arrived, the browser-company Netscape was shaking up computer industry, Microsoft was responding with Internet Explorer, and millions of people were connecting together on the internet. With new OpenSource web servers and software, it was possible to write only the functionality you wanted to add, and not write the whole package. This set the stage for Wiki

Solution Summary

Therefore, Ward wrote Wiki himself. It was cheap and ran on a inexpensive web service. It only required that you have a web browser, no other software to download and install. It had an IP address and DNS entry, and a cool name. And most important of all, it was easy to use.

Successor Patterns

This solution involved some choices, some patterns, that have continued in a variety of forms today. These include:



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