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Comments on TWikiPreferences Topic

It occurs to me that "Preferences" is one of the things that can be migrated out of the Topic pages and into a database. A simple ndexed file is all that's required, not need for the large footprint of a relational database.

In the limiting case there could be a single DB, providing lcoking issues could be addressed. Failng that, a DB for the TWiki, for users, for plugins, for groups, for webs, and one in each web for the topics.

Yes, I know this ought to go into Codev.

-- AntonAylward - 2 April 2003

The current method of dealing with preferences involves slurping up the various preferences files and stepping through them line by line. No, not reading them in line by line.

Compared to this, keeping prefences in a DBM hash file would be an enourmous boost to an execution path that is critical to all operations within Twiki.

-- AntonAylward - 01 May 2003

I would like to set my own system wide variables. I do it in the CampWiki:Main.WebHome with the help of the TopicVarsPlugin and a general topic like CampWiki:Main.CampVar. Is this possible in here? Its so difficult to write my name here wink

-- ((((( radar ))))) - 05 Jun 2003

INCLUDE does not work (is ignored) when preferences are processed. Thos makes upgrade more painful, because it prevents from separating customized settings from standard preferences. See Codev.SeparateCustomPreferences for more.

-- PeterMasiar - 05 Jun 2003

Yes, that would be great to INCLUDE custom preferences. This would make it possible to let users have their own variables topic to be included in TWikiPreferences or WebPreferences, a desireable thing i think.

-- ((((( radar ))))) - 05 Jun 2003

I changed the HTTP-EQUIV section due to problems caused by using its caching example - see BugInHttpEquiv - this is a documentation bug, HTTP-EQUIV is a valid feature if not used for cache control.

-- RichardDonkin - 01 Jul 2003

wording change for hidden webs

The instructions for hiding webs is a little ambigious, rather than saying "Exclude web from a web="all" search: (Set to on for hidden webs)" it should say something like:

  • Exclude web from a web="all" search: (Set to on to hide a web from searches and the automatically generated WIKIWEBLIST)

-- MattWilkie - 07 Jul 2003

I have added the BASICSTYLETOPIC variable that points to TWikiStyle. See UsingTopicToDefineCSS and HardwiredRDiffColours.

And added this to FINALPREFERENCES, meaning this variable is not to be overridden.

-- ArthurClemens - 20 Mar 2004

Changed HTTP_EQUIV_ON_VIEW: & to & in order to let TWiki pages validate.

-- ArthurClemens - 07 Apr 2004


-- ArthurClemens - 07 Apr 2004

Added BROWN color.

Split up TWIKISTYLETOPIC to TWIKILAYOUTTOPIC for layout (block positioning) and TWIKISTYLETOPIC for style (colors, margins, etc). Added LAYOUTTOPIC and STYLETOPIC for local overrides. Can someone have a look at the accompanying text, please?

-- ArthurClemens - 20 Apr 2004

Skins > Pattern skin part: I've changed the order of topic styles and attachment styles to make overriding easier.

-- ArthurClemens - 01 Aug 2004

(request for change to WIKIWEBLIST deleted... Sven pointed out that Know web is not to be in Cairo release, so we can't have WIKIWEBLIST the way I was hoping (including Know).

I have implemented Plan B.

UpgradeTwiki will now correctly give the user their old WIKIWEBLIST as long as the WIKIWEBLIST in the final Cairo release is the same as the one in the current (0729) beta.

Would be great if it could be so, thanks.

-- MartinGregory - 07 Aug 2004

I've removed BASICSTYLETOPIC from the FINALPREFERENCES - this was replaced earlier by TWIKILAYOUTURL, TWIKISTYLEURL, USERLAYOUTURL and USERSTYLEURL, and these should not be final by default.

-- ArthurClemens - 17 Aug 2004

Hi, I think line do a better %MAILTHISTOPIC% variable:

      * Set MAILTHISTOPIC = [[mailto:?subject=%ENCODE{"%WIKITOOLNAME% : %BASETOPIC%"}%&body=Hi!%0D%0ASee%20this:%20%TOPICURL%%0D%0A%WIKINAME% %MAILTHISTOPICTEXT%]]
(the & is an & and not an html entity & and we have a better subject and body) Send a link to this page

-- AurelioAHeckert - 05 Jan 2005

Good idea about the ENCODE, needed for I18N. Not sure if it makes sense to add the WIKITOOLNAME, most people just work with one TWiki installation. However, the web-name is useful to have.

Not commonly known, but the & needs to be escaped in HTML parameters (like in href), e.g. URL parameters need to be separated by &body.

I tried the more descriptive body text, but for some reasons the %TOPICURL% did not expand:

[[mailto:?subject=%ENCODE{"%BASEWEB%.%BASETOPIC%"}%&amp;body=Hi!%0D%0ASee%20this:<%TOPICURL%%>0D%0A%WIKINAME% %MAILTHISTOPICTEXT%]]

For now I set it to:


-- PeterThoeny - 05 Jan 2005

Ho! Thanks by the &amp; Peter!

More one: The %WEB% on the value of %TOPICURL% must be %BASEWEB%, or not? I think it is wrong on the TWikiPreferences.

-- AurelioAHeckert - 10 Jan 2005

Make sure you don't do something stupid like I did by setting AdminGroup only to edit preferences page, and putting myself in that group... BEFORE setting up user authentication. That locks you out from editing that page. Ooops.

-- JeffColter - 28 Feb 2005

Reminder: There ought to be documentation with each release on what changes now have to be merged in to the old TWikiPreferences and WebPreferences to bring them up to date with the features in the new release.

-- AntonAylward - 01 Mar 2005

there are so many things mentioned on this TwikiPreferences page, but where do I make these changes? in which file?

-- SujayPatankar - 05 May 2005

This may seem obvious to the folks who have been using TWiki for quite some time, but it actually took me over an hour to figure out that the way to actually change the TWikiPreferences was to edit the webpage itself. I kept looking for something to tell me which configuration file on the server I would need to modify. It took forever for me to consider that editing the webpage would somehow automagically set preferences that the whole website would recognize. I'm used to the old fashioned way of configuring software where you have to hunt down a .pm, .cfg, or .bin type file to edit. I actually feel silly now, but I have to wonder how many other people had the same problem when they first started? It might help to actually state at the top of the TWikiPreferences that you do in fact need to edit that webpage to configure your preferences rather than a file on the backend. Actually, now that I've finished writing this, I see that I wasn't the only to have this problem, the comment directly above mine asked the same question.

-- AmandaSmith - 16 Jan 2006

smile You're not alone Amanda. The Wiki concept needs some time to grow in ones mind.

-- FranzJosefSilli - 17 Jan 2006

Luckily once you get it, it doesn't feel that awkward at all, right? :-). Dakar is trying to address this first-time-use issue and it is made a bit more obvious how to edit the settings by shipping the PreferencesPlugin enabled (and ready for use in TWikiPreferences - demo at http://develop.twiki.org/~develop/cgi-bin/view/Sandbox/TWikiPreferencesEditDemo).

-- SteffenPoulsen - 17 Jan 2006

It is worth while reviewing the comments at the beginning of Dakar's TWikiPreferences to see if it can be improved based on Amanda's feedback.

-- PeterThoeny - 17 Jan 2006

Steffen, the Dakar version is a little better, but I still don't think it is really obvious enough. Some of us need blatantly obvious to get it. big grin How about the following re-write to the Dakar documentation:

This topic defines site-level settings that apply to all users and webs on this TWikiSite. To customize these settings, simply edit this page. After your initial customization, it is recommended that you configure the topic permissions to give only administrators edit permissions. This topic should then be regarded as read-only, so that upgrades can safely overwrite it without risk to your customizations.

Preference settings local to your site should be set in TWikiPreferences (this topic is pointed to by {LocalSitePreferences}, which is set by the admin in the configure interface). Settings in TWikiPreferences will override settings in this topic, and should be used for defining custom settings and variables.

I used the American spelling of customize rather than the British since I'm used to it--but it really doesn't matter. However, there is also a spelling mistake in the original, an extra "a" before the "i" in "customisations". I don't think I have edit permissions to that page or I would have just fixed it.

I'm actually not really clear on the last sentence of that first paragraph. If you upgrade and overwrite the TWikiPreferences file, isn't it going to in effect overwrite your customizations? Or does an upgrade not actually overwrite that file? It seems to me you can't have it both ways (i.e. overwriting the file but not losing customizations). Or can you?

I guess a point needs to be made about the larger picture here, the fact is that wikis really are a different way of thinking. So much emphasis has been placed on the just go for it editing aspect of wiki culture that the other differences in the way of thinking get overlooked. While TWiki is "software", in many ways it doesn't work like traditional software. Like this example, you edit the publicly viewable TWikiPreferences file instead of a backend configuration file. So yes new users need time for the concept to grow in our minds because it is awkward at first. It would be helpful if the documentation that covers initial install/configuring accounted for this fact. In other words, any documents new users are spending a lot of time with at the very beginning of their TWiki use/deployment should not rely on a nuanced understanding of wiki culture and the differences between TWiki and traditional software concepts. I read up on wiki culture first thing when I got started, but these kinds of issues were never covered.

Hope this all helps someone else. smile -- AmandaSmith - 26 Jan 2006


-- GuozhongWu - 17 May 2006

Since the release of 4.02 has there been a change concerning the entry for

Format of images when the link...

In this site the variable is surrounded by verbatim but from teh zip file it is not and causes an error in the http logs

File does not exist: /www_doc/twiki/pub/TWiki/TWikiPreferences, referer: twiki/bin/view/TWiki/TWikiPreferences

-- PeterJones - 17 May 2006

TWikiPreferences#Search_Settings has a setting "Set SEARCHDEFAULTTTYPE = keyword". I would expect the variable to be SEARCHDEFAULTTYPE. Is the triple T a spelling error ?

-- ChengappaCB - 24 Jan 2008

Please use the Support forum if you have questions about TWiki features. This comment section is about the documentation of this topic.
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