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Feature Proposal: Using TWiki to create a single log-in personal portal page with widgets and email


To increase user contribution, it would be useful (and fun) to include your in/outcoming email, google widgets etc. to a TWiki UserHomePage. People would then log in to TWiki anyway to check out their emails and see their preferred webcam (widget) or go for some sudoku (another widget) etc. I personally find google home page so nice that something similar would probably make many more users interested in TWiki. I really don't know if this is possible or not though.

Description and Documentation

TWiki page that acts as personal portal, with email client functionality and widget support.


The page could include customizable sections, like

  • a list of workspaces the user is involved in
  • a personal notepad
  • a watchlist
  • an announcement section
  • email


Impact and Available Solutions


-- Contributors: MikkoLaakso


Changed the topic to use "widget" instead of "gadget"

-- MikkoLaakso - 08 Dec 2006

"Gadget" is a Microsoft name. A lot of people are more familiar with Widgets.

Fetching and drawing of widget data can be done with TWikiAjaxContrib.

See also: PurposeOfUserHomePage

-- ArthurClemens - 08 Dec 2006

Are they more familiar with Widgets? I think they may be more familiar with the name widgets, but used in the context that Will Norris mentions below (a graphic element in X, analogous to, iirc, what Microsoft calls controls. I personally don't like to see names overloaded like this--on any page including what might be referred to as widgets in the context of this page (webcam or sodoku) there will be widgets making up the viewed (or editable) page (text boxes, labels, drop down boxes, ...).

I've refrained from editing the page to change widget to something else wink

-- RandyKramer - 13 Dec 2006

actually, gadgets were an Amiga GUI element (not unlike widgets in X). it is unfortunate that microsoft has recently co-opted the term.

-- WillNorris - 12 Dec 2006

Hm, why not call it Wikdgets (spoken Wiketsch) wink

-- FranzJosefSilli - 08 Dec 2006

I installed TWikiAjaxContrib along with its dependencies, but it doesn't seem to work - the examples show up as empty boxes. Any idea of what could be wrong? I am running the latest version of TWiki on Xubuntu, no problems before the installation of this plugin.

Edit: I clicked the "retrieve the loading indicator" which then proceeds to do exactly that, the small indicator appears immediately. Except from that, none of the other examples work, those buttons do nothing.

Edit: I confirmed that user/read rights are ok (www-data:www-data), and I have YahooUserInterfaceContrib installed. The system is Apache/PHP/MySql on latest Xubuntu. The included script paths are rendered ok (when I created link, it displayed the script contents).

Edit: pub/TWiki/TWikiJavascripts/twikiForm.js seems to be missing: "The requested URL /twiki/pub/TWiki/TWikiJavascripts/twikiForm.js was not found on this server." This script is not in the folder physically, nor can it be located anywhere on the TWiki site.

-- MikkoLaakso - 09 Dec 2006

Franz: That's pretty good... but how about Widkits? smile

-- MikkoLaakso - 09 Dec 2006

TWikiAjaxContrib is running ahead a bit. The latest javascript files in pub/TWiki/TWikiJavascripts are in SVN.

I have attached the latest javascript files to TWikiAjaxContrib.

-- ArthurClemens - 09 Dec 2006

Thanks Arthur! I'll give it a shot.

Edit: It all works now! This is utter Coolness.

-- MikkoLaakso - 11 Dec 2006

Help! I'd like to add this example xml feed to my page, from Google "add gadget" page. I'm new to AJAX, but I understand I need to make a request to the server to set the parameters ("up_camsize=140x105" etc), and then receive the feed as presented in the "Countries" example. How do I handle the request to remote server? I do realize I could just insert the google-generated link to my page, but of course that is not the general solution.

The XML stream address is http://www.camcentral.com/randomcam/randomcam.xml.

Edit: I guess I'll have to buy a book on AJAX...

-- MikkoLaakso - 11 Dec 2006

Why a book? It will show you lots of low-level interaction with server requests. TWikiAjaxContrib removes these troubles. Perhaps you need to read up on javascript.

Also Google makes things easy by providing copy-paste snippets. It really depends on what you want from these gadgets/widgets if you need anything else than Google's code.

-- ArthurClemens - 12 Dec 2006

Good ideas here. It looks like PurposeOfUserHomePage was on the right track, even though it got hosed with unsupportive comments.

FWIW, Socialtext 2.0 has a dashboard where users get a list of workspaces they are involved in, a personal notepad, a watchlist, and an announcment section. This makes a lot of sense; it takes away the "stare into the blank sheet" problem.

-- PeterThoeny - 12 Dec 2006

Thanks for suggestions, I will take note. Also added Peter's ideas to the document.

-- MikkoLaakso - 13 Dec 2006

I guess YahooUserInterfaceContrib is the key for making such a page. I browsed the YUI site, they have really good examples which include drag and drop functionality and nice transition effects etc. I guess it would be best to let user pick his favourite service and simply drag it to the page. I can't think of a way to accomplish this right now though, but I'm a beginner with javascript... Although I patched up a little popup menu using overlays. The difficult part is actually embedding the javascript to TWiki, still don't know what would be the best way.

Basically, we don't even need javascript necessarily, for most of these functionalities could be done with current TWiki;

  • Notepad could be made with comment templates and a notepad page template. It would be good to be able to easily clear it also, though I don't think it's possible at the moment. Maybe it would be an idea to include a TWiki variable that allows user to remove text from the page he created. This page could be only writable to that user, to prevent any misuse.
  • Announcements could probably be done with simple INCLUDE, combined with a comment template.
  • A workspace lister is already there, in the %TWIKIUSER%WebLeftBar-template.
  • Watchlist: To give the user all the topics that he is interested in, there could be a toolbarbutton and a comment template that writes topic names to a certain page (Set FAVPAGE in %TWIKIUSER%-page and have it write it to that page, for example). This page could then be searched for topics. Alas, the same problem remains as in the notepad-page, how to erase links from favourites-page. I guess it could be done manually though, but with more inconveniency.

-- MikkoLaakso - 18 Dec 2006

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Topic revision: r15 - 2006-12-18 - MikkoLaakso
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