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SID-02253: Newbie User guidance - where to look

Status: Answered Answered TWiki version: Perl version:
Category: Server OS: Last update: 2 months ago

Hi, I am a new user with Twiki installed and now looking to get some basic guidance to set the system up for use. I would appreciate some pointers / links on where to look.

The purpose of the Wiki is to support a small collaborative development - much of it text based, but including some slide decks and graphics.

I would like information regarding templates that may already exist for setting up something of this kind. What can be done to configure the system in such a way as to make it simple for other users so that they only see what they need to see to work on the project itself?

We do not have a budget for consultancy and I am willing to make an effort. I am generally technically competent, but not in linux / perl, and hoping that I do not need to be. Right now I am feeling somewhat overwhelmed by the system, and by a lot of information that seems more oriented towards TWiki technical operation. So I am hoping to be directed to user-level instructions or bolt-ons that will take me where I need to go. I would appreciate your help in finding direct routes.

Thank you for whatever you are able to do.

Jon

-- Jon Freeman - 2016-10-03

Discussion and Answer

Well.... there's quite some information on twiki.org itself, e.g. WhatIsTWiki, TWikiPresentation2015x11x21, TWikiTutorial, and in particular WelcomeGuest. If you've got the installation mastered and have no particular requirements with regards to user authentication and/or access control, then the default configuration is good enough to start with. Almost everything else can be added or changed later. Beyond that, every TWiki is different (and yes, that's the reason why it is overwhelming with features), so this is just my own opinion/experience. I've never had a budget for consultancy either - YMMV smile

In the TWikiInstallationGuide, one (in my opinion) important step is easily overlooked: In your configure script, define your settings in the section "Mail and Proxies". Self-service user registration and notification need this, and it makes sure that a sensible email address is visible in TWiki's error messages. If you've got that covered, then a sensible next step could be BulkRegistration: You know your designated team members, and just offering to add them all to the system is faster than to wait until they figure it out.

The next thing that's missing is content. This is more about culture (encouraging contributors) and organization (make stuff easy to find) than about technology. I assume that you've already figured out that your content types (text, slide decks, graphics) map easily on TWiki topics (text) and attachments (slide decks and graphics).

I've got a suggestion for your requirement to make it simple for other users so that they only see what they need to see to work on the project itself: A TWiki site is (as you've found out for sure) divided in "webs", and in my experience a TWiki web can well be mapped on a designated audience. Many TWiki operations (list of changes / RSS feeds / notification, search) operate on the "current web", therefore a separate web per project will make it rather easy to reach that goal. Start at TWiki.ManagingWebs (on your site, of course), section "Adding a New Web".

Next have a look at TWikiForms (for howto) and TWikiApplication (for examples): TWiki applications are the main difference between TWiki and most other wiki engines, they add the capability of form-based editing. People who don't feel comfortable with writing texts might prefer the guidance of forms where they just need to fill in. It needs a bit of experimenting (the Sandbox web comes in handy), but it pays off.

And then... start with a few pages as an initial feed. In my experience, people lose interest if there's nothing to see beyond "hey, that's a wiki, do it sourself". In the initial phase, you are, if not the only author, then at least the editor-in-chief.

Of the hundreds of TWiki extensions, the HolidaylistPlugin brings a lot of value: For a project spanning three companies, we use it not only for holidays, but as a general calendar, adding deadlines, trade fairs, regular meetings, whatever.

And then keep asking questions as they come up.

-- Harald Jörg - 2016-10-04

Thanks Harald. I appreciate your time and this detailed response. I will particularly follow up on the "managing webs" suggestion as that looks like it might be closest to addressing my core perceived requirement of a simple view for users. I have in the meantime been exploring how to work with alternative skins, and was wondering if that might help me achieve my objective. I am about to play with that now. Jon

-- Jon Freeman - 2016-10-07

Good progress with adding new web, though finding my script knowledge inadequate to editing the Welcome page easily. Will keep trying. I am probably being very dense, but are there instructions on how to use a plugin? As in, how do I invoke / start using the SlideShowPlugin for a new topic?

-- Jon Freeman - 2016-10-08

Good progress with adding new web, though finding my script knowledge inadequate to editing the Welcome page easily. Will keep trying. I am probably being very dense, but are there instructions on how to use a plugin? As in, how do I invoke / start using the SlideShowPlugin for a new topic?

-- Jon Freeman - 2016-10-08

Oops Sorry about double posting.. Similar question with finding out how to activate forum. Thanks in anticipation.

-- Jon Freeman - 2016-10-08

The SlideShowPlugin is pre-installed. Simply add the tags and headings to a new topic as documented in the plugin page.

In regards to editing permissions, people who are in the TWikiAdminGroup can edit all pages.

-- Peter Thoeny - 2016-10-08

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Title Newbie User guidance - where to look
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