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I created this topic to brainstorm about text and Forms.

I'd like to bring up an idea that basically came to me as I was sleeping last night. (I read about Twiki and Categories yesterday)

I agree that category stuff is the same as html forms, but I'd like to suggest a model that was in my dream, involving chicken and egg, cooked and uncooked.

Lets say we present a page to a user :

Sample Page #1
label: stuff

(where {edit} is the button at the bottom of the page...)

This page can be seen as a 'cooked' form of:

| <form><b>Sample</b> Page #1 |
|   label: stuff  |
| <INPUT type="submit" value="edit"></form>         |

Think of the cooked form as what the user sees, and the raw form as the stuff that was used to describe it.

Okay, so where does the chicken and egg come into this?

If we think of any egg out there, we have a chicken that laid it. and that chicken came from an egg, and there was a parent chicken that laid it (up to grand-parent chickens, great-great-etc-parents) chickens only lay raw eggs.

So if we look at the raw output above, we could imagine an edit button at the bottom of that raw output that let us edit it. I could imagine that raw page (egg) generated from a form (chicken) that looked something like:

Tag :
Button1 :

[[ means
[[[ means
''' means

ie: in verbatim mode:

Count [  1  ] <- this is an <INPUT TYPE="text" NAME="Page" SIZE=9>

Tag [ Stuff ] <- this is a <select name="Tag" size="1"> box

Button1 [ edit ] <- this is the name used for the button generated

[[ means [ "variable placement" ]  <- describing [[ special syntax

[[[ means [ "make a button"     ]  <- describing [[[ special syntax

''' means [ "bold text"         ]  <- describing ''' special syntax

Button1 [ edit ]

| '''Page''' # [[Count]] |
| label: [[Tag]]   |
| [[[ Button1  ]]  |

This is a form (chicken) , describing the raw (egg) form of the page but you could have an edit button on the bottom of it too...

To elaborate a bit more on the idea of the 'means' lines above, the ultimate cooked page will be just an html text page or an html form page. But the raw page will have an edit box much like the wiki pages' edit page currently has. Inside the raw page, you could always put html markup, that will be used in generating the processed page following it (chicken). You can also used markup, like bracketing text with [ [ [ and ] ] ] , or quoting text with ' ' '. There will be a list of possible 'meanings' available for the text, with standard ways of generating html from them. (much the way the wiki automatically generates anchor tags when text should be a link.) (I'm of the free-link opinion, not the camelCase opinion, by the way)

anyway, this allows away of doing a structured fill-in-the-blank style of wiki page, rather than just a text block with anchors, as the current style is. But it maintains the idea that the page can be changed to include radio buttons, edit boxes, buttons, etc.

It also allows for a wiki page, that is an edit screen, and then after the person pushes the 'preview/submit' button, the next page generated will be a cooked page with a 'save' button, and the save button when activated will save the new results as a wiki-page or a database entry...

Anyway, does anyone else see what I mean and how powerful this approach is?

Since Twiki supports passworded pages, I'd expect some level of the chicken pages needing passwords, as the more general they get, the more impact they have...

-- DavidWhitten - 29 Aug 2001

I can't follow some of the above. Can you say what features this offers that are different to FormTemplateSystem.

-- JohnTalintyre - 30 Aug 2001

and maybe give a fairly specific example of an application -- what content you'd expect to have on these several TWiki pages, and how the pages would relate to each other?

-- RandyKramer - 30 Aug 2001

I hadn't really looked at the FormTemplateSystem till you pointed it out (there is a lot of stuff in this wiki).

I guess the best way to contrast my idea with the FormTemplateSystem is that my idea is primarily a user-interface design to that design. Rather than expecting users to know a set of magical variables, it just uses forms.

-- DavidWhitten - 04 Sep 2001

The user interface for the FormTemplateSystem is just a form when entering values. However, setting up a form involves defining it using a TWiki table.

-- JohnTalintyre - 07 Sep 2001

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Topic revision: r6 - 2001-09-07 - RichardDonkin
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