Software Garden wikiCalc® Program:
Starting to use wikiCalc
This page goes over the basics of getting wikiCalc configured and basic editing.

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Manual Setup | Creating New Pages | Editing and Publishing | More Information

The first time you run a newly installed wikiCalc system you need to set it up to publish to a web site. A complete setup can be a little tedious, much like setting up Blogger, Movable Type, or similar systems. Once set up, though, it is very easy to use.

If you just want to experiment a bit with editing in wikiCalc, you may want to have it automatically set up a simple demonstration environment so you can avoid all the tedium of entering the setup information. If wikiCalc determines that it is running for the first time, with no Hosts already defined, it will offer to do a Demonstration Setup. Choose that option and then follow the instructions there. For more information about what to do after it is set up, see "Editing and Publishing" below.

If you want to do a full, manual setup, here are the instructions. Also, you might find these instructions helpful later to make changes to the demo setup so that you can use it to publish the pages you create to a web site.

wikiCalc has the concept of "Hosts" (a particular web server, or a particular place on your local machine) that will store the final web pages and their source files. On each host you have one or more "Sites" (groups of pages to edit and a single directory where the published HTML is stored for serving, and also the granularity for some access control settings).

You start by "Adding" the definition of a new site, either when prompted from a new install or by clicking the "Manage Sites" button on the Pages tab and then the "Add" button there. You will then first need to add the definition of a new host. Read the help text on the forms you fill out carefully. To edit these settings after you save them, use the Manage Sites and Manage Hosts commands on the Page tab.

As explained on the "wikiCalc Architecture" page, you can run wikiCalc either locally on your personal computer or on a remote server. When run on your personal computer, communications with the remote server where your published files will reside is accomplished through FTP. When you run wikiCalc using CGI on the computer where your published files are to be stored there is no need for FTP. The FTP URL required for setting up a host is just the domain name used to login to the FTP server where you will publish. It is something like, or, etc., and does not have "/" or "ftp:" in it.

If you don't provide an FTP URL, then wikiCalc can be used to just create HTML files on the machine where it is being run when you "publish" (this is how the demo setup is structured). This is fine for learning about the product with a local demo installation and it is also the normal way to run a hosted version of wikiCalc on a remote server. If you are running a local desktop installation and if you don't know where you can publish by FTP, you might want to check with your Internet Service Provider (ISP). On the ListGarden "Storing RSS on inexpensive web server space" page you will find information that might be helpful.

After defining a host, you can define a site on that host. Again, read the help text carefully. Make sure that the directory you set in the "Path for HTML" setting exists. This may be tricky when doing local publishing on a remote server, as it may be a relative path from the program directory to the HTML directory (e.g., from cgi-bin/wikicalc to html/site1 using "../../html/site1). wikiCalc creates most other directories that it needs.

If you run into problems, you can always delete the "wkcdata" directory in the working directory where you run wikiCalc to start anew (this permanently deletes all host and site definitions and all local copies of files being edited).

Once you have a site defined you can select it to see the files available for edit. If nobody else has created anything on the site with wikiCalc (the normal case on a new site) the list will be empty. Press the "Create New Page" button. Assign a name to the page. This will be used as the part of the filename of the published page before the ".html" extension (do not include the ".html"). You should also enter a more descriptive name which will be used in filename lists, publishing templates, etc. (You will be able to change the Page Name and the Long Name later if you wish on the Tools Properties page.)

Note: If you use the page name "index" you can create the default page for that directory.

To speed up the creation of a new page you can start with a "template" page that provides initial content and settings. The Page Template "Use a shared template" radio button will display a list. A few simple template pages are installed along with the wikiCalc software to get you started. The maintainer of a wikiCalc system can install additional templates as explained in the wikiCalc Architecture page. You can also start a new page with a copy of an existing regular page, including pages whose source has been published publicly elsewhere on the Internet. Use the other Page Template radio buttons to access this feature.

Templates and page copies use all of the settings from the copied page, including HTML template choices and publish options. (Shared HTML template specifications look for templates with the same name on the new site while page-specific template text is copied as is.)

When you are finished assigning names and choosing templates, press "Create". You will be returned to the Page tab with the list of pages. The newly created page will be selected.

To edit the new page, click on the "Edit" button next to its name in the list on the Page tab. This will bring up an editable spreadsheet-like view on the Edit tab. Follow instructions there (you can use the Help button to display additional information). You can change column widths, fonts, etc., with the Format tab and access additional features on the Tools tab.

You publish the page to the server by using a Publish button on either the Publish tab or the Page tab. After publishing, the page may be automatically "checked back in" to end the editing session or left "checked out" for continued edit. If "checked in", the editing copy of the page is deleted and only a final "published" data file is left on the server. Publishing from the Page tab always results in the page being checked back in. Publishing from the Publish tab gives you the option of either checking the page back in or continuing edit.

When you open a page for "Edit" that has been previously published, wikiCalc will start from a copy of the most recently published version of the page. If running locally on the desktop, it will download the most recently published copy from the server.

If someone else has started editing the page and still has it open for edit, their name will be listed on the Page tab as part of the page status list. You can still edit the page, too, but there is usually a warning given before you can start since this is normally not desired and the edits are maintained separately and not merged. If two people separately open a page for edit and then publish, whoever publishes last wins. If you have more than one person maintaining and editing a site, be careful and watch the indications of who is editing (and update it with the Restore button on the Page tab if you are not doing server-based editing)! In simple terms, editing a page "checks it out" and publishing "checks it in". If you are doing "local" publishing (such as when wikiCalc runs on a remote server) there is no need to Restore -- the edit status of each page is updated each time the Page tab is displayed.

For more information about how wikiCalc uses files and directories, see the "wikiCalc Architecture" page.

The wikiCalc program has help information as part of many page displays or accessible by clicking a "Help" button. Most of the specific functionality is documented. A overview list of many features is available on the "wikiCalc Features" page. The contents of the Help files is available on this website on the "Help Pages" page. There are links to many pages documenting the product on the home page.

Make sure to look at the list of some of the known bugs on the "wikiCalc Bug List" page. Check back periodically to see new ones that are added.

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