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The request: Reverse the order of the items in the title element in the html head section of each page.


Why this is a good idea: I have fallen in love with the tabbed documents in mozilla, especially when used with the WebSidebar. However now I have a row of tabs across the top of my browser window which reads "Twiki ...,Twiki ...,Twiki ...,Twiki ...,Twiki ...". If the page titles were reversed it would read "Usabi ..., Coffe ..., Scrip ...". Much more useful!

I don't think reversing page titles would not be a draw back to other browsers. Contrary opinions anyone? -- MattWilkie - 13 Apr 2002

LATER: discussion and voting ensued. Nobody dislikes the idea. There are differing opinions on what makes the best alternative. Two, very similar, options have been chosen as the new default. They won by a wide margin and there were no dissenting votes (see full table at end of the topic).

Winning title methods yes votes no votes patch file
(mode) ReversePageTitle < Codev 6 0 reverse-title_lt.zip
(mode) ReversePageTitle « Codev 5 0 reverse-title.zip

CoreTeam, we respectfully request that one of these two options be inducted into the default twiki templates. Thank you.

-- MattWilkie - 23 Jun 2003

The discussion

This would also be useful in other browsers, e.g. InternetExplorer where the taskbar button includes the start of the web page's title. Should probably be configurable, but you might be able to do it just with WebPreferences and/or your home page - check the templates. yes, it's actually quite easy to make this change in the templates. After one first understands the templates. : ) -- MattWilkie

-- RichardDonkin - 13 Apr 2002

I like reversing webname and pagename in title: "Pagename in Web" is more informative, if you can see only little part of title. I have always at least a dozen windows open, too. On our site, I did removed TWIKITOOLNAME from header and titlebar - company's icon is for that, IMHO.

-- PeterMasiar - 15 Apr 2002

Okay, I'm dipping my toes into the weird wide world of pushing changes toward the core... smile attached are some patches in unified diff format against twiki-01-Feb-2003, as per the PatchGuidelines, that implement this feature.

Please let me know if I got this right.

-- MattWilkie - 10 Jun 2003

I strongly second that request. And PeterMasiar's as well:

  • Leave out %TWIKITOOLNAME. The tool's name just doesn't belong there. Or would you expect http://www.ibm.com to sport this title: "WebSphere . IBM United States"? Who knows & likes page titles like "Weblogic: Big Foo Corp Site" or "Vignette Storyboard / Foo Bar News Magazine"?
And add a proposal of my own:
  • Insert (edit) (preview) etc at the beginning, instead of appending it at the end.
    Why? Probably more than 90% of TWiki pages are in view mode. With a prefix, the few pages, which are in different mode, stick out from the tab/icon list. E.g. you don't have more than 1 or 2 edits at the same time, but you want to pick these easily. Or you easily spot that one page hanging in (preview) mode...

PeterKlausner - 11 Jun 2003

Often the page title has a branding component: the title immediately shows to where the page belongs. It makes sense that all pages on ibm.com start with "IBM" or "IBM Global Industries". So it is not so strange that pages on twiki.org also start with "TWiki".

  • No, it's not strange, just aggravating. The first thing I do after a nuke & pave of Windows machines is to go through the Start Menu and remove all the branding. I don't need 10 menu items starting with "Microsoft" thankyouverymuch. It's the program that's important to me. -- MattWilkie
    • That was not my point. TWiki is just a TOOLNAME like WebSphere, Weblogic, Vignette whatever. Of course you may mention the name on the tool's website. But, please, please, not on the sites using that tool. -- PeterKlausner - 11 Jun 2003

It is a different case when a twiki site is used for some other content, or on an intranet, where the page content is more important. It also is different when you start working with twiki and it becomes a tool like a word processor. Ease of use becomes the ruling factor.

So for most sites (the default setup) I agree that we should leave out the tool name. Of course this is something simple that can be set in a skin. I intend to incorporate best practices in my PatternSkin.

About the order of the title elements: evolt.org has an article about page title labeling, and they have come up with this pattern: article, site name, category. This is based upon the way bookmarks are displayed in browsers. Read the article and the comments for details.

Once you decide to put the topic name first, it is most logical to put the mode before that, like Edit: ReversePageTitle.

Whether you use a colon, a pipe or "in" is of minor importance, in fact that is part of the communication style of the site. So there are some parts that could be configurable, but I guess putting them in preferences will slow the twiki site down even more.

-- ArthurClemens - 11 Jun 2003

I just found out that TemplateToolkit can compile templates. And it's nice decent advanced template system with macros and what you wish for. And yes, Arthur, I put TWIKITOOLNAME back, is on 3rd position afer page and web name in SimpleSkin.

-- PeterMasiar - 11 Jun 2003

Thanks for the evolt article Arthur; good stuff. I agree that the mode should come first, followed by the page title. I'm not sure about what comes after. I don't think I care what separator is used.

-- MattWilkie - 11 Jun 2003

Voted -- RandyKramer - 12 Jun 2003

Numbers 1 and 2 are actually the same, and so are numbers 6 and 7. Their only difference is the separator character. -- ArthurClemens - 12 Jun 2003

So looks like most (voting) readers are for the reverse in order: page web. I actually like separator « more than < - looks unusual, non-text, like separator should. Sorry we do not have option TOPIC « WEB - I would vote for it, too. -- PeterMasiar - 13 Jun 2003

Sorry, I just assumed people would add their preference if it wasn't there already. I guesss I should have said so. I added TOPIC « WEB. Anybody who wants to change their votes can go right ahead. -- MattWilkie - 13 Jun 2003

Voted - I've incremented two counts because I like both equally. I assume this vote is to do with the default skin, rather than enforcing this on all skins (given it is just a skin issue). BTW, I agree that the TOOLNAME has no place in the page title on any site other than TWiki.org -- MichaelSparks - 14 Jun 2003

Sample screenshot of the problem:

Is there any progress on this? The default skin isn't useful for tabbed browsing. And if I think about it, it's even worse without tabs! The screen estate for icon titles is even smaller with most window managers.

-- PeterKlausner - 18 Sep 2003

I've used the reversed page title since june with great satisfaction (I also use tabbed browsing with Safari). It works also good with Google, see some search results, because the (long) page titles stay readable.

Peter, what do you think of adding this small change?

-- ArthurClemens - 18 Sep 2003

Any feedback from the CoreTeam on this 10 min change?

-- PeterKlausner - 18 Sep 2003


Note: in view mode, the "(mode)" will be empty, including no parenthesis.

title method yes no
leave it as it is ? ~11
(mode) ReversePageTitle « Codev « TWiki 4 1
(mode) ReversePageTitle < Codev < TWiki 2 1
(mode) ReversePageTitle : Codev : TWiki 0 1
(mode) ReversePageTitle :: TWiki :: Codev 0 5
(mode) ReversePageTitle : TWiki, Codev 0 4
(mode) ReversePageTitle « TWiki.Codev 0 4
(mode) ReversePageTitle < TWiki.Codev 0 4
(mode) ReversePageTitle < Codev 6 0
(mode) ReversePageTitle « Codev 6 0
(mode) ReversePageTitle 1 1

To cast a vote, increment the number. Voting for more than one configuration is okay. Stuffing the ballot box is easy, but so is the evidence. It's okay to change your mind.

(voting is closed)

Regarding the vote count of (mode) %TOPIC% « Codev (do not display TWiki ), I put in my weight as CoreTeam member to leave in the TWiki name. On twiki.org, this is not just a tool name, but also our brand. Of course we want to make TWiki known to the world, so leaving the name out is not an issue.

This was more like a 45 minutes change, but now committed to CVS.

-- ArthurClemens - 20 Apr 2004

yay! thanks Arthur!

-- MattWilkie - 20 Apr 2004

I have suggestion about this:

Why don't we change the twiki.pattern.tmpl like this:

 <title> %TITLE% </title> 

Then we define the following variable in WebPreferences:


This will have the added benefit that now the title can be changed web-wide (using the variable in WebPreferences) and page-wide using the following invisible code:

         * Set TITLE = My topic on my web.

Altogether a discussion like in this topic can be totally avoided, because everybody can define the title at will. Suggestions on this?

A patched wiki using this change to the pattern-skin can be found at http://page.mi.fu-berlin.de/~oezbek/cgi-bin/view/TestSE/WebHome.

-- ChristopherOezbek - 29 Sep 2004

Nice idea. Better to create a new page, this here is a FeatureDone topic.

-- PeterThoeny - 30 Sep 2004

Topic attachments
I Attachment History Action Size Date Who Comment
Compressed Zip archivezip reverse-title.zip r2 r1 manage 4.5 K 2003-06-23 - 04:49 MattWilkie updated to (mode) ReversePageTitle « Codev
Compressed Zip archivezip reverse-title_lt.zip r1 manage 4.5 K 2003-06-23 - 04:50 MattWilkie updated to "(mode) ReversePageTitle < Codev"
PNGpng tab-titles.png r1 manage 32.9 K 2003-09-18 - 16:55 PeterKlausner Screenshot of browser tabs with useless titles
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Topic revision: r32 - 2004-09-30 - PeterThoeny
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