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It would be nice if we had a category management system that would reduce the manual labor associated with the creation of a classification system for topics.

Heres a start on the Requirments:

  • Create a Topic page for each {name}.
    • Topic page should contain descriptions of each {val}
  • Create a Topic for each {val}
    • Topic page should dynamicaly search items of the same type.
    • Topic page should allow creation of new Topic of said type if appropriate.
  • Rename of {name} or {val} and fix any refs.
  • Delete of {name} or {val} and fix any refs.

-- HaroldGottschalk - 31 Jul 2000

Seems to be done, using the new TWikiForms...

From CategoryBasedNewTopics: What you propose can already be done with the current TWiki engine. Here at the Codev web we ask for a topic name for a brainstorming idea (see FeatureBrainstorming). This can be extended to ask for the category as in this example: (edit the page to see how it works)

New topic:   (Use a name in WikiNotation)

Then you can show the list of topics using embedded %SEARCH{...}%.

-- PeterThoeny - 16 Jul 2001

-- HansDonner - 28 Sep 2001

I'm interested in using the topic creation & classification form PeterThoeny provided above and am wondering whether there would be a way to assign a topic template based on which TopicClassification was selected using the drop down menu. Anyone have any ideas?

-- LynnwoodBrown - 21 Jun 2003

This should do what you want:

New topic:   (Use a name in WikiNotation)

The text of this is (or would be, I've done slight differences above to make this work nicely on TWiki.org) :

<form action="%SCRIPTURLPATH%/edit%SCRIPTSUFFIX%/%WEB%/">
New topic: &nbsp; (Use a name in TWiki.WikiNotation) <br> 
<input type="text" name="topic" size="32"> 
<input type="hidden" name="onlywikiname" value="on"> 
<input type="submit" value="Create Topic"> <br> 
<select name="templatetopic" size="1">
<option value="WebTopicEditTemplate" >Select a category...</option>
<option value="ExampleDevTypeTemplate">UnofficialForm</option>
<option value="TWikiDeploymentEditTemplate">TWikiDeployment</option>
<option value="FeatureEnhancementRequestEditTemplate">FeatureEnhancementRequest</option>
<option value="FeatureBrainstormingEditTemplate">FeatureBrainstorming</option>
<option value="FeatureAddOnEditTemplate">FeatureAddOn</option>
<option value="BugReportEditTemplate">BugReport</option>

NOTE You'd need to create the *Template topics. These can then contain various values - not just one default value - in the TWiki Form, which can differ depending on the topic. Even different forms based on the topic type. I actually used this for building a gift list for our wedding about a year and a half back and it worked quite well. The pages with this on would still be publicly accessible if we hadn't been suffering e-harassment, but the idea is sound. If you want a hand with this post more Q's here!

Additionally the UnofficialForm / ExampleDevTypeTemplate shows how users without access to WebPreferences can add to this list of categories and forms to point at new random WebForms of their own devising, or new defaults/classifications. You will note that the web form used by the UnofficialForm entry isn't listed in WebPreferences for this Web, but functions just as well.

-- MichaelSparks - 21 Jun 2003

Michael - Thanks for the help! I'll work some with what you've presented here and then may come back with some more questions.

-- LynnwoodBrown - 23 Jun 2003

Nice example in the sandbox on this idea as well which helps create a "to do" list.

-- MichaelSparks - 25 Jun 2003

After seeing how the category system works at C2.com (PPR) and discussing this with JohnTalintyre, I've set up an alternative scheme for some of my clients, and its acceptance level is impressive.

Rather than a pull-down list, it makes use of check boxes. The classification form looks like this:

| *Name* | *Type* | *Size* | *Values* | *Tooltip Message* |
| Topic Classification | checkbox+buttons | 5 | Other, Objectives, Technical, Speculative, Informative, Review, QandA, UserInterface, Performance, General, Crossreference, Administrative | Select the category for this topic |

There are of course the topics that allow a search for topics in each category smile

What makes this different from the example above is that, like in the original Wiki, a topic can have more than one category.

The next step is to replace that list with a SEARCH. The same topic/pages that search for and describe the categories should have a marker in so that the list can be extended merely by creating a new topic.

Neither of these solutions is "right". Each may match a given situation. Some situations may require something else.

In all probability, the category should be an intrinsic part of the topic's metadata and free up the form mechanism for "applications".

-- AntonAylward - 25 Jun 2003

As far as I can see, the example in the sandbox I reference above is essentially the same technique - except rather than just a selection of checkboxes, the that example "to do" list also includes text boxes, and so on.

Or have you written a plugin that allows the user to say the template topic is comprised of a number of topics based on the classifications you list above? (ie the user specifies the topic as Objectives, Speculative, QandA, Performance, Crossreference and it automatically pulls in all those base topics as the template text.) If you haven't done that how does your example significantly differ? (If you're not doing that you can only use one template, and hence a dropdown to select template is the most sensible option) Also the default TWiki form has 6 project group classifications which whilst not currently used could be used in the same way.

How does your solution differ ? (Or are you simply just presenting an alternative webform - as it appears?) I think I might be blind again -- I can't really see how what you're presenting is different from the other examples previously put forward .

-- MichaelSparks - 25 Jun 2003

As I said:

    What makes this different from the example above is that, like in the original Wiki, a topic can have more than one category.
-- AntonAylward - 26 Jun 2003

What you mean like every Codev page can at present, and many do? I thought you meant you would choose a different template based on the selection of objects selected. As far as I can tell all you're saying is just have a twiki form like this instead:

New DevTypeForm Topic

Topic Name:
Note: Use a WikiWord starting with "Item"
Description: (entered after creating the page)
Applications    Configuration   Installation   Packaging   
Performance   Platforms   Plugins   Product   
Security   Standards   Techniques   Updates   
Usability   Windows   
Other Classification:

    This is NOT the form I described and completely distorts the intent.
    Also the Codev pages allow only ONE Topic Classification. Look at the actual page: one classification, mutiple project groups.

    -- AntonAylward - 26 Jun 2003

Except this doesn't do what LynnwoodBrown was talking about. (Hence my confusion) This table above is the same as the sandbox example I referenced beforehand. Given I can't see any difference between what you're saying and the sandbox example I'll assume you are saying it's different when it's actually the same. (and again, hence confusion)

What I thought you might've meant was depending on the checkboxes you currently select either a best match template, or pull in sections, or leave out sections of a single template - which if you did I'd be interested in the code changes since that sounds useful.

    None of the user's at my client's sites see that as useful. They see it as too complicated and not realted to the work-flow. The do however see the value of a topic being in more than one category and specifically asked for that.
    -- AntonAylward - 26 Jun 2003

All of this deviates dramatically away from the point of this page (which needs refactoring)

-- MichaelSparks - 26 Jun 2003

Thank-you Michael and Anton for this discussion as it's helped me get closer to what I'm after! I've also been thinking and working on it on my personal TWiki installation (see notes here) but haven't had the time to plug back into this discussion.

So here's an update of where I'm headed. I had a breakthrough the other night based on your dicussion here when I realized I was using TopicClassification in two distinct ways. I am now making a distinction between topic types (e.g. discussion forums, news topics, FeatureEnhancementRequest, AddOnPackage, etc.) and topical areas (e.g. usability, ProjectGroups, etc.). Topic types basically relate to the format of the topic and thus are naturally related to topic templates and, again for my purposes, mostly need to refer only to a single template. On the other hand, one topic may relate to multiple "topical areas."

Following this, I'm working on implementing a 2-step topic creation/classification process that goes like this:

  • There's a pop-up menu that say's simply "Create new..." with a list of topic types. For example:
Create new topic.

Hmmm... I guess I don't know how to make the form jump to the topic upon selection..
  • Based on which type is selected, the user is sent to a create-topic page for that topic type. These topics would be essentially like many ones on TWiki.org such as ItemToDo where there is an html form to create the new topic plus a search that list all the topics of that type - but with one key change:
  • The html form includes checkboxes to select what topical areas the new topic relates to.

Where I was stopped was I wasn't sure how to create an html form to select multiple topical areas. But this is exactly what Michael presented above - so thanks Michael! You've given me the last piece of what I need to create a simple topic creation/classification application. This may not seem like a very big accomplishment for you more serious developers but I think it will be a nice addition to help structure the content on my TWiki webs. Once I have it complete, I intend to post it here as an AddOnPackage.

Thanks again for the help and feel free to check out and comment on my work in progress.

-- LynnwoodBrown - 26 Jun 2003

Thinking about this a bit more, I realize that one could accomplish this in a one-step process by combining your examples above (using my preferred method of cut, paste & tweak coding) smile :

Create New: topic
Topic Name:
Note: Use a WikiWord
Select ProjectGroup:
NoneOther    CollaborationProject   
ChangesProject    FeaturesProject   
CodeBaseProject   InterfaceProject   

While I like having the option of this one-step approach, I think I might prefer the 2-step approach because I could define more complex html forms for each particular topic type and associated template.

-- LynnwoodBrown - 26 Jun 2003

.... which is what I've done for one client:

Pull down to select the template ... each template has a form that matches the business purpose it addresses.

This can be done without needing any additional plug-ins. I use a SEARCH to find the templates rather than hard code them, so the end users can add as the need arises.

The issue remains, however, of getting the users to fill in the bits "correctly". This is not a technology problem and cannot be solved by use of code.

-- AntonAylward - 26 Jun 2003

Can you provide an example of the search - based on the example above? This topic will need refactoring shortly, and having details is more important than just words.

-- MichaelSparks - 26 Jun 2003

Its been discussed at length in other topics.
For example: DynamicEditTopicTemplate
All I did was create a few more templates. It may seem like nothing from a 'programming' POV, but it produced a great deal of customer satisfaction.

-- AntonAylward - 27 Jun 2003

Oh, I thought you meant you had done this:

  • Created a WebForm that had a bunch of checkboxes that classified the topic.
  • Created a random selection of topics with a random selection of checkboxes selected. (nb: not with any special naming system.)
  • Created a "new topic page" with the check boxes on, which the user would then hit a random selection of.
  • Based on the random selection of checkboxes, a best match against the existing topics would be made as a template. ie the user doesn't explicitly choose a template, a best match finds the template for them.

I agree that having a bunch of template pages though is a good thing, and like the best things in TWiki can be done by users without programming - ie inside TWiki Webs/Topics themselves. I couldn't see off the top of my head how you achieve the functionality I've just described which I thought you were doing without using any extra code.

-- MichaelSparks - 28 Jun 2003

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Topic revision: r20 - 2003-07-22 - LynnwoodBrown
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