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When Topic Not Found, Check For Link on Other TWiki Server

When TWiki does not find a link, it should optionally search a remote TWiki for a link to the concept on that site. If it find a link it should still render a local edit question mark, but make the word link to the remote TWiki site as well. This brings the c2.com wiki's concept of sister sites to TWiki.

Optionally, when creating links for topics that do exist locally, TWiki should also provide links to a sister site where the definition also exists.

An example usage would allow a FriendlyFork to be able to reference TWiki's original content, meaning that TWiki.org remains the primary site for discussion (for various reasons), but would allow the FriendlyFork site to discuss the issue in a different way. Obviously this has uses for lots of sites and projects. (For example, optionally TWiki could be distributed with almost zero docs with just an index page pointing at the names of pages which should be linked - with a remote FindTopicOnOtherTWikiServer link in the WebPreferences - meaning that as long as the system is networked to the Internet the local documentation always tracks the most up-to-date version.)

This requires pre-caching (for obvious performance reasons) of the WebTopicList of the remote server, so the remote Wiki:SisterSites would need to be

A possible implementation could screen-scrape the remote site's webtopic list as follows:

  • lynx -dump $RemoteWiki/$WEB/WebTopicList|egrep '^ +\* \[[0-9]+\][A-Z]'|sed -e "s/.*]//g"

Think of it as like the InterwikiPlugin for TWiki's without any preceding gunk required by the user.

There's probably lots and lots of fun potential consequences of this approach.

-- MichaelSparks - 16 Aug 2003

This is interesting and promissing - like new sharp knife smile Maybe this should be a web preference - too dangerous to have it everywhere, and also more flexible to redirect "missing sister" pages from different web to different sites.

When implemented, will be a cool idea IMHO.

-- PeterMasiar - 19 Aug 2003

This would be very useful - it's a bit like the Wiki:SisterSites concept, implemented by various Wikis other than TWiki, tied into the 'search in another web' feature in a plugin whose name I forget (btw a related useful feature would be for the InternetExplorerSidebar and friends to make it easy to search for topics in another web, or even another TWiki in the 'find topic on other server' set).

I have frequently wanted to do this from my TWiki site at http://donkin.org/ (which can be considered a very small FriendlyFork like most TWiki installations, see my comments recently in AppealToCodevCommunityByCoreTeam) when referring to TWiki.org pages.

The InterWiki syntax is easy to use but interrupts the flow of reading (see TWiki.WindowsInstallCookbook for many examples introduced when this page was moved from Codev to the TWiki web). The implementation could do with being brought into the core so that syntax such as [[SomeWiki:OpenSource open source development]] lets you change the appearance of InterWiki links. This is complementary to FindTopicOnOtherTWikiServer.

-- RichardDonkin - 30 Aug 2003

i'm working on an extended version of SaneAsylum:Plugins.FindElsewherePlugin ( you can see the work in progress at SaneAsylum:Sandbox/TestTopicFindElsewherePlugin ) which uses a cached copy of another twiki's WebTopicList, and will link to a SisterSite if a WikiWord doesn't have a topic in the current web (or the webs listed in this plugin's settings).

-- WillNorris - 28 Nov 2003

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Topic revision: r4 - 2003-11-28 - WillNorris
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