Main / Wiki
Notes about the AdvancedGraphics09 Wiki
This website for CS638/838 Advanced Graphics is built using pmwiki software.
The use of Wiki software is for a few reasons:
To be honest, the wiki software is not perfect as a "class support" platform. Things like blogs and discussions and whatnot are pretty crude. But they should be good enough - and if it doesn't work out, we'll try something else.
As a student in the class, you will be required to use the Wiki both to read stuff (like the announcements, or these instructions), as well as to contribute to the class.
I've been using pmwiki for over 3 years, and its been behind the course web for all the courses I've taught since then. I've had good success - even with using it for student participation. The big difference this semester is that I've tried to make it even easier, and we'll try to use it more extensively.
Some notes on pmwiki in general
You can learn a lot about pmwiki from its website, or the documentation that is built in (once you log in you'll see some links on the left).
PmWiki has a "flat file system" - notice that all pages are of the form "GroupName/PageName" (if you look in the address bar, you'll see the "group" for this page is "Main" and the page name is "Wiki".
PmWiki has a simple user authentication system (called "AuthUser"). The setup for this class has been built so that there is a login/logout button on the left side.
The text in pmwiki is all written using a markup language. The basics are described at PmWiki.BasicEditing. Learning to do a little formatting will make the things you write easier for others to read. You don't need to worry about fancy or beautiful designs unless you really want to.
Any page or group can have its permissions set. For example, the "Main" group is set up so that only the instructor can edit it, but anyone can read it. If all is working correctly, you should see an "Edit" and "Attr" button in the upper right when you are allowed to do these things.
"Attr" is pmwiki's way of setting password permissions. To set permissions, use something of the form "id:user". So, for example, on this page, the "edit" attribute is set to "id:gleicher". For this page, the "read" attribute is empty (so anyone can read it). For other pages you might want to set the read attribute to be "id:*" saying that anyone with an id can read it (basically only people in the class).
Note that pmwiki security is weak. Do not use passwords that you care about. And do not rely on the privacy of password protections.
Some notes on how pmwiki is set up for this class
Each student will get an account set up. You will need to contact the instructor to have your account created, and to have your personal page "Group" created.
The "Main" group is the course web.
The "Contrib" group are pages that everyone can edit. This will include things like discussions, or pages that you will be asked to add things to.
Each student will get their own page group to put their own work. They will be the only ones who can write to this page group (other than the instructor).
Thanks to a pretty grungy hack, any page whose name ends in "Blog" will automatically get a simple blogging system. If the page is writable, you will get a dialog box that lets you type in a title and message that will be prepended to the other messages already on the page.
Note: the blogs are just regular pages. You can edit them and change things. Any changes you make are reflected in the history, so don't try to use this as a way to cheat on due dates.
This also means that you can type arbitrary pmwiki markup into the blog box. (almost, sometimes some things throw off the formatting).
If you're going to write something long, I recommend writing it in a text editor (that has saving) and copying it to the blog dialog box when you're done. That way if things go wrong, you don't lose your work.
Also, I recommend adding entries using the blog dialog. In addition to the formatting, it also adds stuff for RSS feeds, linking, and searching.
We'll use these simple blogs for lots of things in the class: for keeping your reading log, for doing online discussions, for making communal lists, etc. It could be that we'll find the simple blog stuff doesn't work out, in which case we'll have to find heavier duty software.
Uploading to the wiki
If you want to upload an image to the wiki (or other small document), you are allowed to make uploads in your page group.
For reasons I can't quite figure out, the "attach" (or upload) button doesn't appear for some people (it should be in the upper right next to print - on pages you are allowed to upload to).
So, to upload, you need to do it manually. Go to a page in your wiki group, and add
Once its uploaded, it will be in a directory that is accessible on the wiki as:
So, as an example - TestStudent uploaded a picture by going to their page:
From this page, they were prompted for a file, and a file name. They uploaded mike-icon.png. This file is now available on the wiki as
Note: you can only upload to your own page group (although, you can refer to the things you uploaded from anywhere).