Wikipedia page history movie?
May 9, 2005 10:20 AM   Subscribe

A few months ago I came across an animated movie documenting the development of a wiki page. Essentially it was made up of screen grabs generated by going through the edit history of a document. Much googling and MeFi/Boingboing searching hasn't amounted to much. Anyone know where this is? Am I imagining this? Also: Does anyone know of an easy way to create a similar animation with a PMWiki page?
posted by aladfar to Computers & Internet (8 answers total)
It sounds like you're looking for Jon Udell's Heavy Metal Umlaut: The Movie, which tracks changes to Wikipedia's heavy metal umlaut entry.
posted by esd at 10:33 AM on May 9, 2005 [1 favorite]

I don't know about the first bit (and esd may have nailed it) - but I did see an application yesterday which will record screen activity and save as a could do what you said - check wink out.
posted by mattr at 10:44 AM on May 9, 2005

Response by poster: Heavy Metal Umlaut - that's the one! Thanks much esd.

As for the software side of things, I should mention that I'm on a Mac running 10.4. And while I like Udell's work, I'm thinking of something more along the lines of a strict animation - from the beginning of a document to it's final state. My current plan is to use Paparazzi to take a screengrab of each shot and then dump that into Flash.

But if anyone can think of a less labor intensive way to manage this, I'd be VERY interested.
posted by aladfar at 10:49 AM on May 9, 2005

Could you have a page with a frame and javascript onTimeouts set up to load the next page in the frame. I'm not sure if it's win+ie only but it may be possible to get the browser to do transitions. Easiest way for one page would be to note down the URL's and do the code manually.
posted by Flat Feet Pete at 11:04 AM on May 9, 2005

Contact the author of webkit2png and get a copy of the command line tool. Then you can script it somehow.

perl -e'for $i (1..99) { system "webkit2png \"url?revision=$i\""; sleep 10; }'
(note that $i is the number you're on. you can put it in multiple times)

I have no clue on how to get proper revision numbers out of PMWiki. Also I don't have much of a clue about webkit2png's command line arguments, which I'm sure you'd want to set up.

I assume you can easily make a bunch of images into a flash file?

Feel free to contact me.
posted by easyasy3k at 12:05 PM on May 9, 2005

Perhaps vnc2swf would be useful for this kind of thing. It's a screen recorder which records to Flash (for UN*X and Mac OS X).
posted by Handcoding at 12:29 PM on May 9, 2005

Also useful for this sort of thing is Wink, found via lifehacker.
posted by routergirl at 12:45 PM on May 9, 2005

Related: Some researchers at IBM and MIT came up with a really cool way to visualize wiki contributions over time. It's called History Flow. I don't know if they will distribute the software, but it made quite a buzz at a conference last year.
posted by i love cheese at 6:49 PM on May 9, 2005

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