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Blame the airport bus

The WikiWikiWeb, also known as HowiesWiki, was founded in Feb. 1995 by Howard "Howie" Cunningham and has operated since then in between years of down time. Howie's wiki was the first site to use wiki as the name for a collection of pages people were able to edit. It looks exactly like a big collection of BBS pages or a set of tl;dr wiki discussion pages, but is really a wiki because people can write over each other's words, even though they don't, and because it has categories and CGI scripts to handle things like "recent changes".

Developers are supposed to acknowledge it, so lulzers on ED occasionally find it when they try using [[wiki:...]] to make an interwiki link to TOW. Leads to great puzzlement.

Howie adopted CamelLips (named for Perl but originating in SmallTalk) as the way to make page names. This means you make links by ramming words with initial capitals together like this: YouFuckingBastard, instead of like this: [[You Fucking Bastard]]. Howie only grants eight other wikis (three defunct) the title of real goddamn man's wiki. All feature CamelLips page names.

How the WikiWikiWeb Started

Airport bus stop where Howie got the name

Originally the "Pattern Repository" ( here is the category), the WikiWikiWeb is the simple child of a hypercard system. Howard Cunningham (his friends call him Howie) set up hypercards to run as a kind of BBS, added categories, and added CGI scripts to search the cards.

What the WikiWikiWeb Has


The core and point of the original WikiWikiWeb was the collection of "patterns", supposed to be a kind of programming theory that also applies to just about everything else. When they don't model everything in the universe, the patterns are ways to handle data flows and function calls in object-based systems. The whole idea is now totally out of fashion. Those who argue that the patterns have wider application might be right if you count slavery at work. If you are an EDiot in CS301 or EE3xx or EE4xx, you might find good ideas for handling flow and data or signals here (WARNING: besides having no code, the descriptions are badly written, meandering, and vague).

Why the pattern collection sucks

The only real code examples that are easy to find are in an article about handling null or logical "No" in different languages (and the article fails CS101 by not correctly differentiating between the two). Just about no examples of pseudo-code are given, let alone code, so most of the contributors must have been clueless managers moving up from being administrators of word processors and spreadsheet programs then trying to say "I FUCKING know something too, gonna teach those programmers".

For the curious

Seeing the differences between WikiWikiWeb and its bastard Mediawiki offspring, on which this very site runs, would probably interest the smarter EDiot in general. The WikiWikiWeb has a totally flat file structure and everything but the flat file system runs on a CGI script (the only exception is "categories", one step above the pages). This reminds the viewer about things like how sub-pages in wikis aren't hierarchically sub-pages at all.

Mediawiki is still pretty much WikiWikiWeb plus a shitload of space-name conventions as metadata, cacheing of things from the named spaces, and desperately avoiding display of the underscore they use to stay away from using the dreaded CamelLips.

History of wikis

The history article only covers Howie's wiki. He also recognizes eight (none connected with Wikimedia) that follow his original principles. Two or three were his, and only five of the eight are still up.


The site has over 30,000 articles and most are the same kind of drivel as most of the articles on MeatballWiki, albeit with a little less of the po-faced pseud crap .


Howie refers to spam problems in earlier days and vandalism from 2005. Otherwise, the main drama seems to be some in the WMF hating him for being able to program, having a good idea, and so being the main originator of their technological base.

Wikipedoes Hate the WikiWikiWeb

Wikipedoes confuse TOW and the WikiWikiWeb

Never folk to give credit where credit's due, the few showpony Wikipedoes of today who have heard of the WikiWikiWeb hate the thing and try to diminish the contribution of Howie Chamberlain.

This is a corollary to the Sanger syndrome, where TOW jerks regularly dis the true creator of their site as a way of crawling up Jimbo's arsehole and to the way the admins dis their own slave developers while going along with small fortunes (enough to buy a house in a new nice place every year) for their stupid "executives", who aren't literate in their own language, let alone programming.

Fact is, even Sanger got "his idea" by looking at the WikiWikiWeb.

Howie is a major league self-promoter, so hate from TOW doesn't worry him and he's happy to make the occasional appearance at Wikimania and collect the speaker's fees for that.

Howard, Ward, or Howie?

Howard liked to call himself Ward (though his intimates knew him as Howie), but this led to minor drama on TOW when someone found out that his name really is Howard, even though wikipedoes claiming to be his intimates said that they had never heard of him being called Howard. Everybody just calls him Howie now.

Spam and vandalism

There is no huge history to trawl through because real wikis dump that junk in a week or two, so examples of the spam and vandalism Howie mentions are not available (unless there are some on the Internet Archive). You could try to make one to help this article, but Howie claims to run (or ran) a delay of a day or so for moderation. Even vandalism of the TOW page is boring, for example [1], [2], [3], and [4].


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