or a how to
is an informal, often short, description of how to accomplish some specific task. A how-to is generally meant to help non-experts, may leave out details that are only important to experts, and may also be greatly simplified from an overall discussion of the topic. See procedural knowledge
for a discussion of what sort of knowledge
is imparted, and how far it can be imparted, in how-tos.
The correct way to write it in English is "how-to", but it is common practice to write it as "howto" in the Linux
community. A possible reason is that this makes it easier to find a how-to in search engines like Google
as searching with the words "to" and "how" does not necessarily deliver in relevant search results.
How-tos on the internet
How-tos have a long history as a way of sharing knowledge on the internet
, but are less successful as FAQs
, manuals, recipes
. How-tos are very successful within Linux communities.
In the beginning, most how-tos on the internet were the result of a linear process in which an author wrote a how-to that readers would read. After 2001, user added content played a more and more important role on the internet in a trend that is widely referred to as Web 2.0. This had a profound impact on the way in which how-tos are spread on the internet. A number of websites choose the wiki model as a way of sharing knowledge on how-tos.