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please see the newer TouchGraphPlugin which is a new and improved version of this add-on

This add on supports browsing your TWiki webs using AlexShapiro's TouchGraph wiki browser.


What is a TouchGraph?

Screenshot on touchgraph.com While most categorization schemes make you go up and down hierarchical trees to get to the items at their leaves, TouchGraph takes you to the information canopy, where you can wander uninterrupted across adjacent clusters. The field of Graph Based Interfaces is still in it's infancy, partially because the main commercial applications such as InXight, TheBrain, and ThinkMap, are proprietary and thus do not allow for outside experimentation and modification of their code.

TGWB, the Meatball:TouchGraphWikiBrowser, is a quick demonstration of how TouchGraph can be used to visualize a Wiki. The best part of the interface is that it really gives one a sence of how any given page fits in context with the rest of the pages. Another bonus is that backlinks are clearly visible.

The user is presented with a split view, with a conventional html browser on the left side of the screen, and a graph of a local region of the Wiki on the right. When the mouse is moved over a hyperlink in the browser pane for which the corresponding node is visible in the graph, the node is colored light blue.

TWiki goes TouchGraph

What we really want, is a link named like | Graph | on each page, which starts the TGWB centered around that page.

As of now, the TGWB reads a static link database text file at startup and centers the graph at the location passed as argument. Plain (wiki-) words in the DB are interpreted as internal links relative to the wiki's base URL. Full URLs are interpreted as external links.

So the Addon has to provide this:

  • The TGWB client software
  • A link database file ready for download from %PUBURL%/%WEB%/touchgraph.txt -- this must be generated frequently by tgdb
  • A link on each page, which sends the call arguments for the TGWB client software

Addon Installation Instructions

TWiki server

  1. Download the attached tgaddon.tar.gz
  2. Unpack it into your TWiki top dir
  3. Edit your crontab to schedule ...twiki/bin/tgdb like mailnotify
  4. Edit your view.tglaunch.tmpl if you want non-default call options
  5. Edit your view.tmpl to include this link:
    &lt;a href="%<nop>SCRIPTURLPATH%/view%<nop>SCRIPTSUFFIX%/%<nop>WEB%/%<nop>TOPIC%?skin=tglaunch&contenttype=application/x-touchgraph-launch">Graph&lt;/a>
    Check the view.patch for the precise spelling and location of this change.

Each client

  1. Download the attached tgwb.zip
    (It is a subset of http://touchgraph.sourceforge.net/index.html plus a remote launch.bat hack)
  2. Unzip it to C:\touchgraph
  3. Edit launch.bat, if you don't want TGWB in C:\touchgraph
  4. At the first invocation of a |Graph| link, your browser will not know what to do:
    1. A message like 'Unknown File Type' pops up
    2. Select 'Pick application'
    3. Choose C:\touchgraph\launch.bat
    4. Select 'Never ask for this type of application'


An extra skin for TGWB's integrated web browser is a good idea, but not strictly necessary. Could be view.plain.tmpl or the supplied view.tg.tmpl. Why?
  1. You don't need all the navigational stuff any more
  2. The java renderer doesn't handle fancy html too well

Normally, the skin parameter is passed as argument to the URL. This breaks TGWB's simplistic method of appending the WikiWord to the base URL. You need to patch ...twiki/bin/view as described in SetSkinViaUrlPath
Then change view.tglaunch.tmpl to use

as base URL.
And you can shorten view.tmpl a bit:
&lt;a href="%<nop>SCRIPTURLPATH%/tglaunch%<nop>SCRIPTSUFFIX%/%<nop>WEB%/%<nop>TOPIC%?contenttype=application/x-touchgraph-launch">Graph&lt;/a>

User Support

If you have many users on your intranet site (you do ;-), offer a simpler, standardised procedure to install the TGWB:
  1. Customize the tgwb.zip to your preferred location
  2. Offer a help page close to the |Graph| link explaining the client install procedure
  3. Add a refresh link to .../twiki/tgdb/%WEB%, e.g. in WebMaintenance

Addon Info

  • Set SHORTDESCRIPTION = Browse TWiki webs using TouchGraph wiki browser

Addon Author: PeterKlausner
Addon Version: 09 Oct 2002
Change History: 09 Oct 2002: Alpha version
CPAN Dependencies: none
Other Dependencies: JRE v1.3
  TGWB v1.02 from http://www.touchgraph.com
Perl Version: 5.00x
Addon Home: http://www.twiki.org/cgi-bin/view/Plugins/TouchGraphAddOn ( TWiki:Plugins/TouchGraphAddOn )
Feedback: http://www.twiki.org/cgi-bin/view/Plugins/TouchGraphAddOnDev ( TWiki:Plugins/TouchGraphAddOnDev )

Please update these instructions and give any other feedback to TouchGraphAddOnDev.

-- PeterKlausner - 09 + 14 Oct 2002

Topic attachments
I Attachment History Action Size Date Who Comment
Unknown file formatgz tgaddon.tar.gz r1 manage 2.8 K 2002-10-09 - 22:49 PeterKlausner TGWB server files
Compressed Zip archivezip tgwb.zip r1 manage 128.9 K 2002-10-09 - 22:53 PeterKlausner TGWB Java client package
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Topic revision: r7 - 2006-11-04 - PeterThoeny
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