• This web contains the official documentation of the TWiki Release 01-Dec-2001, code named AthensRelease. It is a read-only web for reference.
• This release is deprecated, see TWiki-6.0 for the latest release.
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TWiki Forms

Form-based input in topics, with name/value pairs stored as Meta Data variables; multiple forms per web & topic


By adding form-based input to free-form content, you can structure topics with unlimited, easily searchable categories. When forms are enabled for a web and selected in a topic, the form appears in edit mode, and the contents are rendered as a table when viewing the actual page. When editing, can switch forms, if more than one is defined, or remove forms entirely. Form input values are stored as TWikiMetaData; all data is saved.

Form Templates replace TWikiCategory Tables from the 01-Dec-2000 version of TWiki.

Main Changes from Category Tables

Form Templates more powerful, flexible replacement for the original TWikiCategoryTable. Data from existing category tables can be imported directly.

Form Templates Category Tables
defined in topics defined in templates
many forms per web one table per web
saved as Meta Data saved as HTML
Change & Add Form buttons UseCategory radio button

Importing Category Table Data

On upgrading from the previous TWiki, a Form Template topic has to be built for each web that used a Category Table, recreating the fields and values from the old twikicatitems.tmpl. The replacement Form Template must be set as the first item in the WebPreferences variable WEBFORMS. If missing, pages will display, but attempting to edit results in an error message.

The new Form Template system should work with old Category Table data with no special conversion. Data is assigned to Meta variables the first time an imported topic is edited and saved in the new system.

NOTE: If things aren't working correctly, there may be useful entries in data/warning.txt.

Defining a Form Template

A Form Template is simply a page containing your form, defined in a table where each row is one form field.

Form Template Elements

  • form template - a set of fields defining a form (replaces category table definition)
    • A web can use one or more form templates.
  • form - A topic containing additional meta-data (besides the free form TEXTAREA) which categorizes the content. (replaces category table)
    • A topic has zero or one of the defined forms. So there are topics with a form or without.
  • form field - a named item in a form (replaces category item name)
  • field type - selects the INPUT type:
    • select - drop-down menu or scrollable box
    • checkbox - one or more checkboxes
    • checkbox+buttons - one or more checkboxes, plus Set and Clear buttons
    • radio - one or more radio buttons
    • text - a one-line text field
    • textarea - a text box; size is 40x10 (columns x rows)
  • field value - one or more values from a fixed set (select, checkbox, radio type) or free-form (text). (replaces category item value)

Defining a Form in One Topic

  1. Create a new topic with your Form name: MyForm, ExpenseReport, InfoCategory, RecordReview, whatever you need.
  2. Create a TWiki table, with each column representing one element of an entry field: Name, Type, Size, Values, and Tooltip msessage (see sample below).
  3. For each field, fill in a new line; for the type of field, select from the list.
  4. Save the topic.

Example: WebForm from the TWiki.Know web
| *Name* | *Type* | *Size* | *Values* | *Tooltip message* |
| Know.TopicClassification | select | 1 | Know.NoDisclosure, 
  Know.PublicSupported, Know.PublicFAQ | blah blah... |
| Know.OperatingSystem | checkbox | 3 | Know.OsHPUX, Know.OsLinux,
  Know.OsSolaris, Know.OsWin | blah blah... |
| Know.OsVersion | text | 16 | | blah blah... |

Name Type Size Values Tooltip message
TopicClassification select 1 NoDisclosure, PublicSupported, PublicFAQ blah blah...
OperatingSystem checkbox 3 OsHPUX, OsLinux, OsSolaris, OsWin blah blah...
OsVersion text 16   blah blah...

Defining a Form with Multiple Topics

The Form Template can also be defined in an alternative way by using more then one topic:

  • A Form Template topic defines the Form.
  • Fields that have more then one value - radio, select, checkbox - can be defined in individual field value topics.

Example: WebFormTemplate

  • Implementation Notes: This format allows you to define field items with or without WikiNames, depending on your needs.
    • The topic can be protected in the usual manner so that not everybody can change the form template - see TWikiAccessControl
    • [[...]] links can be used for force a link, at present [[...][...]] format is not supported.
    • The "Tooltip message" column is used as a tool tip for the field name (only if field name is a WikiName) - you only see the tooltip on edit.
    • The first item in the list is the default item. Alternative initial values can be given in a topic template such as WebTopicEditTemplate or using field=value or for checkboxes field=1.
    • The topic definition is not read when a topic is viewed.

Enabling Forms by Web

Forms are enabled on a per web basis. The WEBFORMS variable in WebPreferences is optional and defines a list of possible Form Templates. Example:

  • Set WEBFORMS = BugForm, FeatureForm, BookLoanForm

  • With WEBFORMS enabled, an extra button is added to the edit view. If the topic doesn't have a Form, an Add Form button appears at the end of the topic. If a Form is present, a Change button appears in the top row of the Form. The buttons open a screen that enables selection of a form specified in WEBFORMS, or the No form option.

  • A default Form Template (new topics get this default form) can be provided by creating the WebTopicEditTemplate topic in a web and adding a form to it. Initial Form values can be set there.

  • Additionally a new topic can be given a Form using the formtemplate parameter in the URL. Initial values can then be provided in the URLs or as form values:
    • other than checkboxes: name, ex: ?BugPriority=1
    • checkbox: namevalue=1, ex: ?ColourRed=1.
      Boxes with a tick must be specified.

Including Forms in New Topics

When you create a new topic in a web that has the WEBFORMS Preferences variable set, an Add Form button appears at the bottom of the page. You can start all new topics with forms enabled, and pre-select a form if there's more than one available:

  1. Edit the WebTopicEditTemplate topic, adding the name of an available Form.
  2. Create a new topic to check - the Form should appear with values set.
    • Click Change to switch or remove Forms.

A form embedded in a topic also appears in a new topic. This is done by specifying the formtemplate parameter in the URL.

Setting Up Multiple Form Options

  • The optional WEBFORMS variable defines alternative Form Templates that can be selected by pressing Change in edit mode.

  • A Template topic can use any Form Template.

  • New topics with a Form are created by simple HTML forms asking for a topic name. For example, you can have a SubmitExpenseReport topic where you can create new expense reports - a SubmitVacationRequest topic and so on. These can specify the required template topic with its associated Form.

Form Template Data Storage

The Form Template topic name, fields and values are stored as TWikiMetaData. The order of field/value pairs in the Meta Data is the same as in the Template.

-- JohnTalintyre - 16 Aug 2001
-- MikeMannix - 03 Dec 2001

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Topic revision: r13 - 2001-12-03 - MikeMannix
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