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New Feature: Tip of the Day Box for TWiki Home Page


Many applications show a tip of the day when you launch the app. This allows the user to get more familiar with the application over time.


A survey conducted at my workplace showed that users could be more productive if they learn more how to use and navigate around in TWiki. The result is this tip of the day application, which the company I work for donates to the community.

ALERT! NOTE: Please help in adding more Official TWiki Tips, visit TWikiTipsOfTheDayAddNew.

Impact and Available Solutions



  • Each tip is a topic. There are:
    • Official TWiki Tips maintained on the TWiki.org web site
    • Plugin Tips maintained by Plugin authors
    • Custom Tips maintained on a local TWiki installation
  • A FormattedSearch and some SpreadSheetPlugin formulae ($RANDOM() etc) are used to select a random topic
  • (more doc to come)

-- PeterThoeny - 05 Feb 2005


this was originally in the UsabilityIdeas topic

The main entrance page of the twiki (or web) could have a banner, say just underneath the Hot Topics box, which has a usability/twiki-howto tip of the day.

This would be less intimidating and easier to absorb for new users than the initially daunting TextFormattingRules and GoodStyle all-at-once reference pages.

-- MattWilkie - 04 Sep 2002

No one seems to have nibbled at this. Perhaps it needs to be a feature request?

Related: JumpToRandomPage, RandomTopicPlugin (working implementation)

-- MattWilkie - 08 Oct 2003

I recently created a plugin that helped out with just this issue. My plugin is called RandomCommentPlugin (which is perhaps not the best name), but it works much like a standard %INCLUDE% except that it expects that the pattern given will isolate a portion of the page consisting only of comments in the form:

   * Here is my comment -- MyName...
   * Here is another comment -- HisName...
   * Here is a third comment -- HerName...
and it chooses one of the comments at random for inclusion in the page.

For my purposes, I have a TWikiTips page that has a bunch of tips on a page (in the prescribed format), along with a %COMMENT% tag allowing other users to add their own comments, thus expanding the tips that can be given.

Upon further consideration, it seems clear that this can be improved by allowing the user to specify a pattern for identifying the lines that should be considered for inclusion, but I think you get the idea. It works quite well for my needs, and I'll probably contribute the plugin, if it seems like something people would be interested in.

Of course, this could be used for other things, such as random quotes, etc.

If people are interested, I'd certainly be willing to contribute.

-- ChristopherRued - 24 Jul 2004

Also, I just noticed that a plugin already exists called RandomQuotePlugin, which seems to behave in a similar way to the plugin I am suggesting. Perhaps this could be used for this purpose (I'd be willing to make any necessary modifications, if there are any).

-- ChristopherRued - 23 Jul 2004 - 20:53

Why not randomly taking quotes from http://wikiquote.org/wiki/ (WikiQuote) or from any of the thousands of available quotation sites? Just an idea. smile

-- FranzJosefSilli - 24 Jul 2004

Absolutely! But the point was not to find a source of quotes, just a way to randomly insert a tip in a page. The RandomQuote plugin just seemed like a good fit.

But, you're idea is a good one. I think that we can (not-so?) simply refactor the INCLUDE functionality into IncludePlugin, and expand the functionality so that it accepts:

  1. page (either a URL, or a TWiki page),
  2. pattern (just as it does now), as well as
  3. randomSelectPattern NEW (which matches all things that we would like to be randomly included)
The only new thing here is the random select pattern.

-- ChristopherRued - 24 Jul 2004 - 12:07

very nice to see this implemented. Thank you!

An idea for future development: have which set of tips are displayed web-dependent. This way administrators and power users could get one set of tips and regular users another. Or to use twiki.org as an example the support web could display FAQ tips most relevant to support issues while codev would show tips about how to use the API (or whatever). Or perhaps this is already done and that's part of the docs to come... P)

-- MattWilkie - 05 Feb 2005

Peter: could we see this as an Add-on so that it can be retrofitted?

-- AntonAylward - 01 Mar 2005

Yes, anyone can package this as an Add-on, or better yet, pretty soon as a TWikiAppPackage.

-- PeterThoeny - 11 Apr 2005

Anyone CAN but it seems no-one HAS

-- AntonAylward - 21 Jun 2005

I started using it in the TWiki web; see TWikiTips; though I had to simplify the interface a bit; it was rather scary at first, with all the web-dependant bits.

-- CrawfordCurrie - 22 Jun 2005

Crawford, I reverted the change you did to simplify adding new tips. The simplification removed the feature where admins can add their own tips specific to their installation.

-- PeterThoeny - 22 Jul 2005

I've downloaded all of this and will shortly be packaging it. Before I do, I'm trying out some extensions.

I'm trying to parameterize the %INCLUDE ..

  • so you can specify the web(s) to look in
  • so you can specify the pattern

That way you can EITHER

  • have tips in the current web
  • have categories of tips

I see that the redaction PeterThoeny made mentioned above is headed that way ... but my idea is NOT to have the wildcard.

Hence, for example, the Security web can find security tips in many places without having to write a custom search.

I'd appreciate thoughts and suggestions on this.

-- AntonAylward - 22 Jul 2005

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Topic revision: r15 - 2005-07-22 - AntonAylward
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