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Sidebars for TWiki's WebChanges and searching are now working well in various browsers:

A related browser extension is the SherlockAndMozillaSearching feature, which enables sidebar-based searching of TWiki (alongside other search engines) on both MacOS (any browser) and Mozilla.

Sidebars should help adoption of TWiki within an intranet, by acting as a constant reminder of what's new on the TWiki site - see HowToGetInternalBuyInForTWiki. They can be developed further by specific sites to provide personalised filtering (e.g. ConversationTracking), message-of-the-day, etc, all within the browser sidebar.

I'd like to get these extensions finished and packaged so that they are easily installed. There are two choices, really:

  • Add suitable topics into the TWiki web (e.g. the core WebSidebar topic) and other webs, including the _default web.
    • This would make it easy to use sidebars across all webs in a new installation (sidebars are very easy to install in Opera and Mozilla, with a single click for the end user). There is a precedent for this, in that the JavascriptBasedEditor is IE-only, and of course people not using sidebars can ignore these extra 'Web*' topics (one per browser per web).
  • Package the sidebars as addons - they could be put into the Plugins web as addons, perhaps as one addon per browser (including suitable web pages, and .reg files for InternetExplorer) or as a single addon.
    • This would make it less likely that sidebars get used, since a new TWiki administrator has so many other things to sort out.

Let me know what you think.

-- RichardDonkin - 26 Mar 2002

So far I do not use the sidebars, but I tend to agree that they are less likely to be used if they are packaged as a separate plugin.

Will the first option require any additional work in the initial twiki install? If not, it seems that it doesn't hurt anything to include the web pages to support this feature, whether they are actually used or not. (And then, IIUC, individual users can choose to use or not use the feature by setting up their browser appropriately??)

(Sorry if I seem confused -- I've not really tried to follow the evolution of the sidebar feature.)

-- RandyKramer - 27 Mar 2002

There would be no extra work on the initial install from going for the first option, i.e. including them in the core package. If you don't use sidebars, you don't need to worry about them, and in most cases you can let users click on links to add sidebars, with no work from the administrator.

It's always up to users whether to use sidebars - for Opera and Mozilla, they just click on a link to add a sidebar (links can be generated using FormattedSearch), and for InternetExplorer they download a standard .reg file.

-- RichardDonkin - 27 Mar 2002


Thanks for the clarification / confirmation!

Based on that, I like the first option.

-- RandyKramer - 27 Mar 2002

I like the first option, but it wouldn't want to see too much content in each Webs sidebar topic as that could make maintenance in a site with mainy Webs a real pain.

-- JohnTalintyre - 27 Mar 2002

Just lost my comments here due to BackFromPreviewLosesText... (TWiki.org failed to produce the Preview page due to a network problem, so going Forward again didn't work).

Anyway, each sidebar topic is very small, either a FormattedSearch or a %INCLUDE, and the data retrieved is fairly small too (links to 20 topics), so the impact should be minimal. The Mozilla and IE sidebars are fairly mature and don't auto-refresh, so I'll put these into the TWiki and other webs in 'production' form.

-- RichardDonkin - 28 Mar 2002

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Topic revision: r7 - 2008-08-28 - TWikiJanitor
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