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HobbesSkinDev Discussion: Page for developer collaboration, enhancement requests, patches and improved versions on HobbesSkin contributed by the TWikiCommunity.
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Feedback on HobbesSkin

UPDATED OBSOLETED by the excellent default skin in TWikiRelease04x00x01.

20040616 A new beta version is available! Download ZIP file from HobbesSkin page.

Known problems

These are some problems that have been identified so far and remain unsolved. They will be addressed in time. Many issues have already been solved.

  1. I have heard from one Macintosh user that the edit view is broken; he can't save the page. Don't know what browser was used (but expect MSIE5.x). Since I don't have access to a Mac, I can't ensure that my development will be Mac-friendly. Any Mac-unfriendliness is unintentional! 20030701
    • TIP Workaround: In the edit view, add ?skin=twiki to the end of the URL to get the default skin and the controls that are missing in this skin. If you already typed some changes, then be sure to copy them to your clipboard first so you don't lose them!
  2. The WebMenu doesn't expand/collapse in this skin, but it does work in the original TigerSkin. I will of course make this work again. 20030529
  3. In Internet Explorer, there is a horizontal scrollbar that makes it look like there is more if you scroll to the right. This is an error with bad CSS values. It will be fixed in a future release. 20030629
  4. HobbesSkin works fine in IE6, but only moderately in Mozilla. 20030629 Specifically:
    • The indentation in the WebMenu is weird,
    • The edit toolbar does not appear,
    • The web form is not right-aligned,
    • In early versions of Mozilla, the text and form fields was not selectable. From MozillaFirefox version 0.9, the pages render better and text and forms are selectable.


Keep the feedback coming, not least the criticism! I'd love to hear from anybody who has an opinion about any of this. You have my sincere thanks for taking the time to let me know.

Once an issue is solved, I'll remove it from this page.

Very nice. I am impressed!

Minor points:

  • You may want to distinguish between opened and closed "folders". At least color. Open = reddish?
  • Icons cound be bigger and without text - just in tooltips when hovering above. Skin will not work without javascript anyway, right? So you can save space and put pagename at the same line as page operations. Without space between webname as pagename - ready to copy/paste. And parents breadcrumb could go above this.
    • Main.TorbenGB replies: Everything except revinfo is deliberately put on a separate line in anticipation of narrow browser windows and long page names.
      It is a specific design point to have the page title above all else; the breadcrumb path is secondary to the title.
  • I missed web operations in header: Index, Changes etc.
  • I like your My Home link - I had it for some time, too. Was too embarrassed by my poor graphic/CSS skills to brag about it im my skin. frown
  • Think about renaming Main web to User zone, and you are my man for TWiki:Codev/BetterDefaults skin!
    • Main.TorbenGB replies: This is not about the HobbesSkin, but about TWiki in general. I prefer to follow the official version and let that decide the future name of the Main web.

Very good job!

PeterMasiar - 15 May 2003

Thank you for the feedback Peter!! Most of your points will go directly into my to-do list about completing this skin, because you are absolutely right. In fact the only item that I will think twice about is the TWiki:Codev/RenameWebToZone because this seems to be 1) a complicated change and 2) a controversial/unresolved issue. But you know, I've been using page instead of topic subconsciously for years already... and the arguments against calling TWiki webs webs are good.

-- TorbenGB - 16 May 2003

I noticed that the skin lacked functioning expanding menus and that the pop menu didn't cancel.

-- JohnTalintyre - 16 May 2003 [ Moved from TWiki:Codev.TigerSkin by TorbenGB]

Yes, this goes for all platforms. I'll fix this!

-- TorbenGB 09 Jun 2003

Hi Torben, just trying your skin today. Here's my progress to date:

%TIGERREVS% and %LEFTMENU% are not defined - how do I define them?

  • Hey Torben, it turns out that the left hand menu is broken only if you don't first install SessionPlugin. [ MartinCleaver - 31 May 2003 ]
Otherwise its looking good.

-- MartinCleaver - 28 May 2003

In releases newer than 20030529, that plugin will be bundled along with the skin.

-- TorbenGB - 29 May 2003

I was able to install Hobbes using the version of 29-Jun-03 with few hiccups (the above listed issue with the Session plugin being the biggest one).

Bugs found:

  • The documentation did not make it clear the skin name is still called "tiger"
  • The 'more' menu does not get positioned properly in IE 5.5 due to a bug in IE. The workaround is add "id=menubar" to the <div> containing the 'more' link.

Great features / things I liked

  • incorporation of iejs stuff is very nice
  • per-user custom menus is nice

Suggestions for improvement:

  • I have found it useful to have a "go to topic" field on the page. This allows easier creation of a new topic. I put it above the 'search' item since my logo is a bit taller than the twiki logo.
  • I added a 'reparent' command to the 'more' menu, for easier adjustment of topic hierarchy. This is very important for use, I plan to use a topic hierarchy (see http://www.brayden.org/twiki/bin/view/Software/TopicClassification for an example)

Of course the real test does not start until next week when I start trying to get new users to adopt Twiki.

-- StanleyKnutson - 22 Jul 2003

Another bug: (about templates - fixed. Main.TorbenGB )

-- StanleyKnutson - 23 Jul 2003

I looked at the HTML code that TWiki produces with this skin. Some of the html tags are not closed (especially the <link> and the <input> tags). Could this be the reason why the skin does not work right with Mozilla? (I use Mozilla, latest release, and I cannot use the input fields in forms, and am also not able to select text anywhere on the page)

-- KlausNowikow - 28 Jul 2003

Klaus, the biggest problem with Mozilla support is in the menuscript.js file that provides the open/close buttons on the left. See my attached tgz file that has the updated version of menuscript.js

-- StanleyKnutson - 30 Jul 2003

Below is a screen shot of the current look on the internal site I'm setting up.

Things to note:

  • go/create option on all pages. Create uses the current topic as parent
  • explicit reparent button on the pulldown so as to encourage creation of the topic map
  • Left-hand menus for navigation to other locations in our intranet

Other bits implemented:

  • checkpoint/save (see CheckpointSave) by modifications to the "save" script and templates. Note: I don't really like the implementation since it requires the exact wording of the buttons to be given the script as well. Its fixable with javascript
  • integration of PowerEditPlugin into the template.
  • Fix of menuscript.js for reasonable behavior on linux Mozilla 1.3 (a recent version)

  • An implementation of hobbes with extensions:

-- StanleyKnutson - 29 Jul 2003

Have you seen TWiki:Support.SessionPluginFailure? Weird semicolon is still in place...

And one more note: installation (tar xf ..) silently replaced my WebPreferences. I think it is not correct.

-- DmitryDiskin - 05 Aug 2003

StanleyKnutson, thanks for the screenshot - and for the updated menuscript.js! Could you also post the code for the reparent menu option? That's a useful addition.

DmitryDiskin, you are right that the skin should not replace your WebPreferences. The ZIP file does not contain a WebPreferences file. StanleyKnutson's attachment contains a TWikiPreferences. He probably included it because it contains additions that are needed.

I hope to be able to publish another beta version soon. I am also aiming at merging this skin with the development efforts in KoalaSkin to create an even better presentation. But that will come in time ...

-- TorbenGB - 13 Aug 2003

At Torben's request, I appended the "oopsparent.tmpl" that I used to implement the "reparent" option in my version of Hobbes.

-- StanleyKnutson - 20 Aug 2003

menuscript.js has a small bug. Line 3 needs to be like this:

var isIE5 = ((navigator.userAgent.indexOf("MSIE 5.5") > 0) || (navigator.userAgent.indexO\
f("MSIE 6") > 0)) ? 1 : 0;

Otherwise the left menu expand/collapse does not work with IE 6.0

-- StanleyKnutson - 21 Aug 2003

I noticed that TigerSkinPlugin (along with GnuSkinPlugin) has a section in its code which conditionally displays a login when it detects the presence of SessionPlugin. It appears like HobbesSkin is in a similar position.

SmartSessionPlugin (which can be called SessionPlugin 2.0, and also is known as "SessionPlugin" within a TWiki web) now provides conditionals which could potentially move most of this logic down to the template level, allowing for more flexibility.

The directives:


are what allow this sort of conditional logic to move from the plugins to the templates.

This isn't necessarily very helpful to you since you aren't dependent upon SessionPlugin, and now finding "SessionPlugin" isn't enough to know if it's SessionPlugin 1.0 or 2.0. So this mechanism may only be useful to end TWiki users who know that SmartSessionPlugin is installed and less to template developers who do not, but I just wanted to let you know that this behavior existed just incase it might be helpful.

Also let me know (via SmartSessinPluginDev) if there are any features that would be nice to have if you do decide to make use of them. I'd like to figure out a better way of letting plugins know if the SessionPlugin is installed and which version is installed, but for now, I guess looking for the "SessionPlugin" topic and making a wild assumption about its version is all that one can do.

-- TedPavlic - 24 Aug 2003

I couldn't get this to display right, and I'm sure it's because I'm out of date and should upgrade to the newest version of TWiki. Did I miss somewhere on these pages where it says it requires TWiki V2? (The webmaster who manages my host can't/won't upgrade the system to the newest release of Perl, so I can't upgrade TWiki. [sigh]) I thought most of the plugins had a form at the bottom that listed which version of TWiki they required. TIA.

-- StewStryker - 22 Sep 2003

As far as I know, you don't need any special version, it should run equally well on all. Be sure to get the latest ZIP file though, as it contains the required plugins (TigerSkinPlugin and SessionPlugin) ready to use.

-- TorbenGB - 28 Sep 2003

In the beta release, some buttons break the code (they have funky %<nop>MAIN% code in them) in twiki.tiger.tmpl. Also in twiki.tiger.tmpl, some <!-- gibberish --> are missing the appropriate spaces which has cause me some problems. Love the skin, otherwise.

-- BenjaminFleischer - 17 Nov 2003

In your current package, you are using an unsafe version of the SessionPlugin. Note that there is a big security problem with it - when I tried running mailnotify, it assumed user "nobody" and couldnt find entries for sessionid and sessiondir. So, it made the root directory world-writable, thus crashing sendmail. You might want to use the latest SessionPlugin version.

-- SomikRaha - 20 Nov 2003

Thanks Somik, I didn't know that. I will make sure that the next beta release has the latest version of all required plugins.

-- TorbenGB - 20 Nov 2003

Has anyone tried to make HobbesSkin W3C compliant?

Being W3C compliant might be a good thing:

  • HobbesSkin page might appear correct in Firefox, Mozilla, etc if HobbesSkin produced valid HTML code.
  • Trying to control HobbesSkin pages with CSS fails

There is a validator at http://validator.w3.org/

  • The W3C Markup Validation Service is a free service that checks documents like HTML and XHTML for conformance to W3C Recommendations and other standards.

The default skin is is OK (but not great)

Tiger skin fails badly

-- JeffTaylor - 05 Oct 2004

Hi Jeff,
Yes, I'm aiming at compliance with this skin. Since there's a lot of CSS alignment and nasty nested tables, it will probably never be very good at it, but it's definitely a target. I use Mozilla Firefox myself, so I am aware of the non-IE display details.

For a first cut, which the current HobbesSkin beta is, the aim is to get the design and functionality in place. This is more or less ready.

A second cut is already underway, and that will use no <table> tags at all but do everything with validated HTML+CSS. This will hopefully bring the visual bugs close to the finish line, but there will probably always be some errors around. Cross-browser compatible web development is almost impossible, but as long as it's standards-compliant then at least we can blame the browsers and not the developers smile Still, the goal is to make it useful for the actual users, not to argue about compliance.

Remember, this skin is still labeled as beta software, but at the same time there's a wish to release it as soon as it can be done. This deadline should be counted in months (at least), rather than weeks from now.

-- TorbenGB - 06 Oct 2004

JeffTaylor and TorbenGB are working on a standards-compliant release of the HobbesSkin. Work-in-progress documentation will be posted at CssCompliantHobbesSkinDev. Others are welcome to contribute.

-- TorbenGB - 07 Oct 2004

Topic attachments
I Attachment History Action Size Date Who Comment
Compressed Zip archivetgz hobbes-changes-sgk.tgz r2 r1 manage 24.5 K 2003-07-30 - 05:22 StanleyKnutson extensions to hobbes of 29-jun-03
Unknown file formatGIF hobbes1.GIF r1 manage 50.6 K 2003-07-29 - 16:01 StanleyKnutson An implementation of hobbes with extensions
Unknown file formattmpl oopsparent.tmpl r1 manage 0.8 K 2003-08-20 - 19:10 StanleyKnutson oopsparent.tmpl file, needed for 'reparent' option
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Topic revision: r51 - 2006-02-09 - TorbenGB
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