Monday, May 5, 2008

Optimize Your PBWiki Sidebar

PBWiki is a great wiki service which offers FREE wikis for educators that do not contain advertising of any kind (more about PBwiki). One of the most powerful features of PBWiki is the Sidebar which you can edit, displaying content on every page of the wiki. This is a great way to share important links and other site-wide information with your users.

The Sidebar actually has three different panels by default: QuickStart, RecentActivity, and Sidebar.

This can be a bit confusing for your users - PBwiki does "remember" what panel the user was on, but by default it starts out on the QuickStart panel. Unless you really need to use the multiple panels in the Sidebar, I always recommend just DELETING the QuickStart panel and the RecentActivity panel, so that the only panel remaining is the Sidebar panel, and the users don't have to choose which panel they see.

You can delete the QuickStart and RecentActivity panels by deleting the pages named QuickStart and RecentActivity from your wiki - just go to AllPages (link is at the bottom of every page), and then choose the Delete button next to QuickStart and next to RecentActivity.

After you delete those panels, the Sidebar will contain only the Sidebar panel, as in this screenshot:

You can always choose to create new pages named QuickStart and RecentActivity later on if you change your mind. PBwiki treats a page named QuickStart or a page named RecentActivity as special, and displays them automatically in the Sidebar.

If you want to delete the Sidebar completely, so that it does not appear on ANY of your pages, just delete all three of the special files: QuickStart, RecentActivity, and Sidebar. If all three of those pages are missing from the wiki, then PBwiki will not display any kind of sidebar on your pages.

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