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ALERT! NOTE: This is a DistributionDocument. Please help maintain high quality documentation: This is a wiki, please fix the documentation if you find errors or incomplete content. Put questions and suggestions concerning the documentation of this topic in the comments section below. Use the Support web for problems you are having using TWiki.

Web Changes Notification Service

Each TWiki web has an automatic e-mail notification service that sends you an e-mail with links to all of the topics modified since the last alert.

Users subscribe to email notifications using their WikiName or an alternative email address, and can specify the webs/topics they wish to track, Whole groups of users can also be subscribed for notification.

The general format of a subscription is:

three spaces * subscriber [ : topics ]

Where subscriber can be a WikiName, an E-mail address, or a group name. If subscriber contains any characters that are not legal in an email address, then it must be enclosed in 'single' or "double" quotes.

topics is an optional space-separated list of topics:

  • ... without a Web. prefix
  • ...that exist in this web.
Users may further customize the specific content they will receive using the following controls:
  • Using wild-card character in topic names - You can use * in a topic name, where it is treated as a wildcard character. A * will match zero or more other characters - so, for example, Fred* will match all topic names starting with Fred, *Fred will match all topic names ending with Fred, and * will match all topic names.
  • Unsubscribing to specific topics - Each topic may optionally be preceded by a '+' or '-' sign. The '+' sign means "subscribe to this topic". The '-' sign means "unsubscribe" or "don't send notifications regarding this particular topic". This allows users to elect to filter out certain topics. Topic filters ('-') take precedence over topic includes ('+') i.e. if you unsubscribe from a topic it will cancel out any subscriptions to that topic.
  • Including child-topics in subscription - Each topic may optionally be followed by an integer in parentheses, indicating the depth of the tree of children below that topic. Changes in all these children will be detected and reported along with changes to the topic itself. Note This uses the TWiki "Topic parent" feature.
  • Subscribing to entire topic ("news mode") - Each topic may optionally be immediately followed by an exclamation mark ! and/or a question mark ? with no intervening spaces, indicating that the topic (and children if there is a tree depth specifier as well) should be mailed out as complete topics instead of change summaries. ! causes the full topic to be mailed every time even if there have been no changes, and ? will mail the full topic only if there have been changes. One can limit the content of the subscribed topic to send out by inserting %STARTPUBLISH% and %STOPPUBLISH% markers within the topic. Note that "news mode" subscriptions require a corresponding cron job that includes the "-news" option (see details).

Examples: Subscribe Daisy to all changes to topics in this web.

   * daisy.cutter@flowers.com
Subscribe Daisy to all changes to topics that start with Web.
   * daisy.cutter@flowers.com : Web*
Subscribe Daisy to changes to topics starting with Petal, and their immediate children, WeedKillers and children to a depth of 3, and all topics that match start with Pretty and end with Flowers e.g. PrettyPinkFlowers
   * DaisyCutter: Petal* (1) WeedKillers (3) Pretty*Flowers
Subscribe StarTrekFan to changes to all topics that start with Star except those that end in Wars, sInTheirEyes or shipTroopers.
   * StarTrekFan: Star* - *Wars - *sInTheirEyes - *shipTroopers
Subscribe Daisy to the full content of NewsLetter whenever it has changed
   * daisy@flowers.com: NewsLetter?
Subscribe buttercup to NewsLetter and its immediate children, even if it hasn't changed.
   * buttercup@flowers.com: NewsLetter! (1)
Subscribe GardenGroup (which includes Petunia) to all changed topics under AllnewsLetters to a depth of 3. Then unsubscribe Petunia from the ManureNewsLetter, which she would normally get as a member of GardenGroup:
   * GardenGroup: AllNewsLetters? (3)
   * petunia@flowers.com: - ManureNewsLetter
Subscribe IT:admins (a non-TWiki group defined by an alternate user mapping) to all changes to Web* topics.
   * 'IT:admins' : Web*

A user may be listed many times in the WebNotify topic. Where a user has several lines in WebNotify that all match the same topic, they will only be notified about changes that topic once (though they will still receive individual mails for news topics).

If a group is listed for notification, the group will be recursively expanded to the e-mail addresses of all members.

ALERT! Warning: Because an email address is not linked to a user name, there is no way for TWiki to check access controls for subscribers identified by email addresses. A subscriber identified by an email address alone will only be sent change notifications if the topic they are subscribed to is readable by guest users. You can limit what email addresses can be used in %NOTIFYTOPIC%, or even block use of emails altogther, using the {MailerContrib}{EmailFilterIn} setting in =configure.

TIP Tip: List names in alphabetical order to make it easier to find the names.

Note for System Administrators: Notification is supported by an add-on to the TWiki kernel called the MailerContrib. See the MailerContrib topic for details of how to set up this service.

Note: If you prefer a news feed, point your reader to WebRss (for RSS 1.0 feeds) or WebAtom (for ATOM 1.0 feeds). Learn more at WebRssBase and WebAtomBase, respectively.

Comments & Questions about this Distribution Document Topic

It would be useful to include a sample of an email alert here.

-- ColinIngarfield - 17 May 2006

This page looks nothing like WebChangesAlert, which makes it strange to comment here on what's missing there. Nevertheless, I'll post my comment assuming that the content to which it applies remains valid.

When viewing WebNotify, the %{INCLUDE}% of WebChangesAlert displays information on getting alerts for some and not for other topics with + and -. The syntax is, apparently, [+-] [A-Z][a-z]+[A-Z][A-Za-z]* (or thereabouts). That is, the space is required to get notifications, yet the bullet that describes using + and - doesn't mention the needed space. The examples that show various usage scenarios show the spaces, but since they aren't described as required, one can incorrectly conclude that they are optional.

  • The spaces after the + are indeed optional.
Another problem is that, despite examples that might suggest otherwise, there is no description indicating that a leading asterisk is needed to get all topics except some subset. That is, - XYZ* apparently will not match any topics, but * - XYZ* will.
  • I don't understand the example. Your will not and will examples are identical.
Finally, to avoid the confusion about whether the leading asterisk is part of the bullet prefix or is a necessary part of the notification syntax, I suggest showing the full syntax in the examples, with a dummy WikiName. Thus, instead of this
   * daisy.cutter@flowers.com

show this

   * Main.SomeOne * daisy.cutter@flowers.com

  • Well, that's not valid syntax. But there is an example already in the doc showing valid syntax.

-- RobStewart - 17 Aug 2007

I should mention that if you would like me to submit new content for your consideration, let me know.

-- RobStewart - 17 Aug 2007

Thanks Rob for the feedback. I fixed the content to reflect the latest release. I filed Bugs:Item4488 to track your suggestions.

-- PeterThoeny - 23 Aug 2007

I added comments above.

-- CrawfordCurrie - 06 Sep 2007

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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Topic revision: r18 - 2011-12-10 - PeterThoeny
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