Wiki began its life as a card-based hypertext program. Short history follows.
In the mid-80s under Bill Atkinson Apple began developing a personal hypertext system called HyperCard. It was based on the “card model” of hypertext, connecting screen size cards which could contain many types of hypermedia elements but which were limited to what could be displayed on a single screen.
Ward Cunningham, inventor of wiki, saw the prototype when it was still known as WildCard. He decided to explore it as a means to track ideas at his company, Tektronix. He created card structure with three fields, a name, description, and a field for links, the latter “with a twist”:
Stacks were already easy to edit. The fields were automatically WYSIWYG editors. But linking was a pain that involved moving between both cards involved. My links field abandoned regular stack links and used search on demand instead. Operationally, one would just type links they might follow in the Links field. Each line had a button nearby that would take you to the card if it existed or beep otherwise. If you held the button down, it would relent and go make the card for you. (Ward Cunningham)
In other presentations he has talked about moving to see omissions as opportunities rather than errors. Instead of saying “The program is broken, there is nothing here”, people could treat omissions as undiscovered country — an opportunity to extend work. This forms one of the fundamental wiki inversions. See Wiki Inversions
Original text pulled from Wiki Wiki HyperCard on federated wiki. For history see (Link)
The card model in hypertext is actually quite old. See Card Model
More on HyperCard.