The website concept for the PanAfrican Localisation project has undergone an evolution. While the basic concept of providing a resource for localisers remains the foundation, it has been decided to make more use of the wiki technology as a way to continue to gather information in a flexible and open format and also to facilitate interaction within and among localisation communities.
The original concept called for creation of a database with information relevant to localisation - language data, character sets, current activities, experts, etc. This was fairly ambitious in design but gradually it became apparent that the quality of data available was uneven and developing a database structure might not be necessary to convey what data there is. Moreover, a formal database would necessitate either regular updates from a central person or office, or a complex set of permissions for a range of experts and activists to amend the database (and the whole issue of recruiting such people for all corners of the database).
The wiki was begun in part as a way of assembling data. In the process of setting it up and adding to it, a structure has been developed. In addition, the software provides a search function. The structure and the search function together facilitate the finding of information. In effect, it is a structured and searchable "datamass" with the added virtue of being open.
While no one should mistake the latter for a database (which has enormous advantages in certain contexts), in this case it became apparent that it serves the fundamental purposes intended for the database. Yet another advantage of the wiki format in this case is that it is easily extensible, both in terms of content and structure.
A series of diagrams illustrating the evolution of thinking about the parts of the website and their interaction is in a separate page.
Wikigroups for country localisation communities were set up in 2006. The hope for these is/was that they could be spaces for localisers in various African countries to list their information.
Although this feature has not been very successful, it has been useful to attempt to implement the concept.
The original site conception called for a splash page and other introductory pages coded in HTML (i.e., not as part of the wiki content). Ultimately this idea was not felt to be important to the presentation of information and use of the site during this project. (This will no doubt change in future revisions of the site.)