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The NotePlugin should serve as an annotation system. It should combine the comment plugin and the threaded discussion plugin.


I developed a threaded discussion plugin (formerly called reply plugin) for an ancient version of twiki. It originated by the need of commenting a page without editing it, both because it is not convenient to load a whole page (maybe with a lot of disorienting dynamic variables) just to add a comment, and because one could not have the right of editing but could be granted the right of commenting.

But commenting the page as a whole may not be very clear, so I would prefer a way of adding a comment to a specific paragraph or word.

The way I was thinking to is that of putting a %NOTE% key where a note an be inserted (it could be automatically insered at every paragraph). The %NOTE% expression is visualized as some king of graphics, maybe a small post-it image. Using javascript it is possible to make the existing notes (or a summary of them) appear when the mouse passes over the graphics, while one jumps to the insertion point when clicking.

The insertion point is just a variation of the comment plugin (one for each note). The notes can stay on the same page or in another page, in the same or in another web. This should be settable at site, web or page level.

So one could have a web whose pages can be annotated at each paragraph by people not allowed to edit the pages, simply using another web with the right permissions and redirecting notes to it.

Implementation details

let us suppose for the moment that the %NOTE% variable has been inserted by hand at each paragraph. When saving the page, each %NOTE% is replaced by %NOTE{unique_id}%, where unique _id is some random string. In this way one can identify each note. I cannot use simple numbering notes since their order could be destroied by editing. Clerly, when editing the unique_id string should not be deleted.

When visualizing a page, %NOTE{unique_id}% links to a

, in the appropriate page. Inserting the note is performed by clicking and filling the form. One could also think to a fixed input field in the template for notes, and passing the content of the note by url to an appropriate script.

-- FrancoBagnoli - 28 Mar 2002


I have a similar problem as I tried to describe in TWikiAndProcesses. I still wonder if it would be adequate to use some existing piece of formatting (e.g. headings) to provide the anchor for inserting notes as opposed to manually inserting %NOTE% tags.

-- DaveAlsup - 28 Mar 2002

Well, I think that one could insert the %NOTE% automatically at relevant places (section heading, paragraph, items, etc.).

-- FrancoBagnoli - 29 Mar 2002

Out of curiosity, wouldn't it make sense to investigate combining the Note, Comment, and Threaded Discussion plugins into a single plugin?

-- DavidWeller - 29 Mar 2002

I like DaveAlsup suggestion in TWikiAndProcesses, to add parallel web, where one can add comment to section of main document, even if doesn't have right to edit main document. Dave proposed to add [Comment] link to header. IMO it is better to comment headings only, not all paragraphs. And we can generate [Comments] links to "parallel comments web" when dealing with ---++ in header.

So we may have 3 parallel meta-webs, data where pages are, pub with attachments, and notes with comments by header. We will need some header auto-numbering or something so if somebody will edit heading, we can detect it... We need think it out.

Very clever idea. Will make refactoring easier.

-- PeterMasiar - 30 Mar 2002

It is possible to use a web in the data directory to held the notes, just like another web. This make easier to set up the permissions (no need to add something new).

See also the TopicsAsWebs page.

-- FrancoBagnoli - 30 Mar 2002

I like the idea of just another data directory for notes, keeps it simpler. I'd also like to see some correlation between the name of the original topic and any topic[s] holding notes for it. This would make it easier to clean up the notes directory after updates are made to the master copy.

-- DaveAlsup - 30 Mar 2002

I was not clear. I meant that, for notes to topic NotePlugin in the Plugin web one could use the topic NotePlugin in the Plugin-notes (or something similar) web. Both webs are in the data directory.

-- FrancoBagnoli - 02 Apr 2002

I am developing a SelectTagPlugin to extract the tag content from a topic ... perhaps it's useful?

-- AndreaSterbini - 04 Apr 2002

What is the status of this plugin?

-- JohnRouillard - 02 Aug 2002

You're talking about a threaded discussion plugin - I'd be very interested in this kind of functionality. Is this code still available, and could it be polished up for current TWiki versions?

-- ClausBrod - 03 Mar 2003

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Topic revision: r11 - 2003-03-03 - ClausBrod
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